A gardener at a country estate has won a prestigious award for their work. 

Organised by the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, the free to enter competition run annually is open for anyone under 30.

Jonathan Zerr, who is one of the gardeners at Helmingham Hall Gardens, was awarded Young Horticulturist of the Year. 

He previously won the local heat and regional final before heading to the national finals at Hestercombe Gardens in Somerset. 

Mr Zerr first volunteered at Helmingham Hall Gardens in May 2021 and rejoined the team in October last year after completing his RHS Level 4 diploma. 

He works at the gardens three days a week and also works part-time at Benton End near Hadleigh, reviving the garden of artist plantsman Cedric Morris. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Mr Zerr works at Helmingham Hall GardensMr Zerr works at Helmingham Hall Gardens (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Zerr, who is originally from Hamburgh in Germany, has aspirations to forge a career in the management of historic plant collections and is interested in fostering cultural heritage and biodiversity withing the settings of historical gardens.

Speaking about the award win, Mr Zerr said: "Despite the competitive atmosphere, contestants were friendly and supportive of one another, engaging in great discussions relating to challenges across the industry.

"The dedication and passion displayed by everyone involved was truly inspiring."

East Anglian Daily Times: Mr Zerr works with team dedicated to maintaining the Grade I listed gardensMr Zerr works with team dedicated to maintaining the Grade I listed gardens (Image: Newsquest)

As the winner, Mr Zerr was awarded a £2500 bursary grant to explore gardens with botanical interest worldwide. 

Helmingham Hall Gardens is also celebrating the achievement. 

A spokesman for the Suffolk estate said: "We are so proud to have Jon working here in the gardens with us, he is an asset to the team and a great ambassador for the industry."

This year Helmingham Hall Gardens is hosting a collection of outdoor sculptures in bronze, wood, metal and stone by designer David Harber. 

The gardens are open five days a week with tickets available online or on entry.