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The Kenneth Black Bursary Scheme

The Hardy Plant Society offers a number of small bursaries, for students and for people who are employed in horticulture. Our aim is to stimulate interest in growing hardy herbaceous plants and to provide a deeper understanding of them. As part of our fulfilment of our Charitable Objectives we are able to offer the bursaries in response to a generous legacy from Mr Kenneth Black, who worked as a council gardener. They are not competitive and there are no application deadlines. We hope to make a decision within a month of receiving the application.

A successful applicant will receive free membership of the HPS for the year in which the work takes place (depending upon the calendar this may be longer than one year).

Descriptions of the bursaries

We have designed the bursaries specifically for students at colleges and universities studying subjects related to horticulture (but not necessarily restricted to hardy plants) and for horticulturists in employment.

In both cases our general intention is to provide for travel and subsistence, relevant to the applicant’s horticultural learning and development. Examples include visits to places such as botanical gardens, note-worthy gardens, libraries, National Collections or herbaria which are overseas or not within easy reach of the workplace or home university or college. We may also consider things like study-day fees or short course fees.

We have no intention of providing the whole of the fees for a college award, nor, as a registered charity bound by our constitution, can we award a bursary simply to improve an applicant’s general finances.

The value of bursaries for students will normally be between £200 and £500, exceptionally £700; for employed people they will normally be limited to £500, exceptionally £700, for any one applicant.

We have helped....

Eliot Barden, during his final year as a Kew Diploma student, to study British native orchids in their natural habitats in Dorset. July 2018.
Max Guzzetta, explore the Norwegian Landscape to understand its influence on Nordic garden design and landscape architecture. June 2018
Richard Holman, Gardener at NT Trelissick, Cornwall, to visit the high-altitude regions of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur in NE India to see many hardy herbaceous plants in their natural habitats and which are grown in British gardens. November 2017
Kate White, Head Gardener at Cowden Castle, Scotland, to visit Japanese Gardens in the London area (incl. Kew) as part of her research to restore the Japanese Garden at Cowden. Autumn 2017
Ben Meumann, an Apprentice in Horticulture at RBG Kew, at the end of his 1st Year of study for a Kew Diploma, to visit Berlin Botanic Gardens to see how it sets its priorities and manage its plant collections and how they compare to those at Kew. Summer 2017.
Matthew S Jackson in his 3rd Year of a BSc in Horticulture with Plantsmanship, in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh and Scottish Rural College, to take part in a multinational expedition to Nepal in August 2017
Eliot Barden, a 2nd Year Kew Diploma student, to visit Botanical Institutions, National Parks and Biological Reserves of central and southern Chile where he observed the growing conditions, seed collection and propagation of endemic tree and shrub species. July 2017.
Harry Baldwin during his 2nd year study for a Kew Diploma, to visit the coniferous, biodiverse hotspots along the west coast of America where he met up with, inter alia, curators at Hoyt Arboretum, Peavy Arboretum and San Francisco Botanic Garden in May 2017.
Sophie Walwin, a 2nd Year Kew Diploma student, to visit botanic and public gardens in mid-western and eastern USA to study the relationship between horticultural displays and interpretation, looking at best practices in the USA compared with UK gardens. May 2017
Kathryn Braithwaite 'New Orleans: After the Storm'  2014


Among others, we have awarded bursaries to a student gardener at Aberglasney Gardens to cover part of the cost of plants and hard landscaping for a project 'Gardens Through Time’; to a student for travel and subsistence in northwestern Bhutan to study the effects of altitude on plant species within the Jigmi Dorji national park; travel and subsistence expenses to eight students from the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew travelling to Devon and Cornwall to strengthen bonds between horticultural institutions; and to a student travelling to New Zealand to study ‘threatened native flora’ especially myosotis.

Bursaries for students

(Please see below for information about bursaries for people in employment.)

The bursaries are open to undergraduate students studying horticultural subjects in the UK or UK-registered post-graduate students during project work. They are essentially extra support for students during either project work or study modules on topics broadly related to our aims and objectives. In such studies we are happy to accept ‘hardy’ to mean either cold or drought hardiness. We also consider conservation and propagation of hardy plants an appropriate subject.

As stated in ‘Descriptions of the Bursaries’ one of our targets is the provision of funds to support travel and subsistence away from the home institution, and we would normally expect materials and equipment for project work to be available within the college. However, where there are good reasons for this not being the case a student may make an application for funding for materials and equipment. The value of grants for materials and equipment will normally be £500, exceptionally £700, but this can be supplemented by funds from other sources such as college or other charitable funds.

A supervising member of academic staff must support an application.

For project work, we expect the successful applicant to send a short report to the HPS. This may be a copy of the college report after grading, or a separate document. In appropriate cases the HPS may wish to publish the outcomes of the project work which it supports by, for example, including a suitable report in ‘The Hardy Plant’, the journal of the HPS. The application form allows institutions to accept or to decline this option: declining the option to publish will not affect consideration of the application. Alternatively students might like to write a blog for publication on the HPS website and we always welcome mentions on social media to promote the scheme.

Bursaries for people in employment

The bursaries are designed to help those employed in the horticultural sector develop their knowledge and understanding. ‘Development’ is key to our awarding a bursary. Although we expect that the bursary will be largely used in the support of travel and subsistence as outlined in ‘Description of the Bursaries’, we would consider similar development exercises.

We expect the applicant’s employer to support the application. We also expect the employer to ensure the award is used for its original purpose.

We do not demand a paper trail of receipts and other documents, but we will expect a short report or letter indicating the benefits gained from having been awarded the bursary.

Applying for a bursary

The Kenneth Black Bursary Scheme does not have application deadlines. We will consider applications at any time during the year and on merit. We normally make a decision within four weeks of receiving the application. Please use the application form below: if the form is not suitable, you can make an initial application on plain paper.

After completing the form, please email your application to or post it to The Administrator, Hardy Plant Society, 15 Basepoint Business Centre, Crab Apple Way, Evesham, WR11 1GP.

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