Isle of Wight gardener Luke Gunner, a team leader at Ventnor Botanic Garden.
A GARDENER from the Isle of Wight has been chosen from hundreds of applicants to a prestigious Kew diploma course.
Ventnor Botanic Garden team leader Luke Gunner, 26, was chosen for one of just 15 places offered this year.
Luke has been at the garden since 2012, originally as an intern on the VBG scholarship, latterly as garden team leader, having trained previously at the Sir Harold Hillier Arboretum on a one year traineeship under the auspices of the Historic and Botanic Garden Bursary scheme.
The Kew diploma is a three year, full-time, course combining degree level academic study, coursework and practical placement within the many gardens of Kew.
The diploma is widely seen as the highest qualification for botanic horticulturists and was the starting point for many careers, including former Isle of Wight High Sheriff Alan Titchmarsh.
Both previous curators at VBG, Simon Goodenough now curator of the National Botanic Garden of Wales and Chris Kidd were ex-diploma graduates.
Luke said: "I am delighted to be accepted onto such a prestigious programme. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at VBG and have learned a lot from my colleagues and Chris the curator.
"I am excited to be moving onto a new challenge and getting the chance to improve my skills and expand my knowledge further.’