RBGE apprentice and student from Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has won a prestigious horticultural prize. Cameron Tasker, who studied at SRUC Oatridge and was also an apprentice at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, was given the 2014 Carter-Patterson Memorial Medal and Prize by the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.
The Awards were presented by Beechgrove Garden regulars, Jim McColl and George Anderson. Jim is currently the honorary President of the Society, but he will soon be succeeded by George. The Society gives out a range of honours every year and the Carter-Patterson is given to a promising young horticulturalist, usually a student or an apprentice.
Cameron has now completed the SVQ Level 2 course in Horticulture. His tutor, George Gilchrist, said: “Cameron stood out as a first year apprentice at SRUC Oatridge for his willingness to learn and keen interest in plants. Few students work for their employer for 5 days a week and then seek out additional weekend work from a different employer to expand their experience in horticulture. It’s great to see Cameron receive this prestigious award; the future of horticulture is in good hands! I look forward to seeing how Cameron’s career will develop in the years ahead.”
Cameron’s fascination with plants was sparked when, aged just eight, he began helping his grandfather, a keen gardener, on his allotment. Very soon he was using his pocket money to buy plants and seeds and eventually “a little pop-up greenhouse” of his own.
At high school Cameron was an excellent student, and he seemed destined for university, but a work experience week at the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh, which he negotiated for himself, proved life-changing.
Cameron now works for the Gardens full-time and in charge of the back up selection of temperate plants and helps look after the collection of ferns and orchids.
Cameron said: “I consider myself lucky; I have a job that is challenging and allows me to channel my passion for plants. It’s a huge honour to have won this award and I hope it will help to raise the profile of horticulture as a career.”