Merlin Trust Grants for Young Horticulturalists

The Merlin Trust

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Grant amount: Up to £1,500

Deadline: Rolling

Applicant type: Individuals

Funding uses: Research

Location of project: Anywhere in the world

Location of residency: Ireland, United Kingdom

Location of citizenship: Ireland, United Kingdom

Age restriction: Between 18 and 35 years of age

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The Merlin Trust was founded by Valerie Finnis in 1990 in memory of Merlin Scott to encourage young horticulturists and will consider any projects, long or short-term.

Merlin Scott

At the early age of six Merlin became interested in caterpillars and butterflies and in time he naturally gained an expertise in the plants on which these caterpillars fed.
By the time he was 20 he had seen nearly every species of British butterfly including one rare marsh fritillary in 1939 that had not been seen since 1864.

After this particular triumph, he left Oxford University while still an undergraduate to join up for military service on the outbreak of World War II. Tragically, he was killed in action on 9th May 1941 at the age of 22.

His father David Montagu Douglas Scott, who retired from the Foreign Office in 1947, spent the next forty years creating a remarkable garden in Northamptonshire. He planted rare trees and shrubs from around the world. After David died his widow, Valerie Finnis, set up the Merlin Trust in memory of her husband and his only son.

Valerie Finnis:
For almost 30 years, Valerie Finnis was a distinguished and charismatic teacher at the Waterperry Horticultural School for Women, near Oxford, founded in 1932 by the fearsomely smocked and gaitered Beatrix Havergal. Miss Havergal believed in the wholesome benefits of practical labour and Finnis, who arrived there as a student in 1942 - she was just 18 years old - had vivid recollections of the 25-acre field into which she was pitched with two land girls. Learning to drive the Ferguson tractor was her first great triumph. She said it was one of the first models that Ferguson ever made.

If anyone has a career in horticulture with a love of plants, gardens and gardening and need financial assistance to visit gardens in the UK or abroad and study plants in their natural habitats anywhere in the world, then the Merlin Trust may be able to help him/her.

Applications for grants from Britain and Ireland are invited throughout the year. Funding is also available if you are a foreign national studying in the United Kingdom.

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Only Horticulturists of British or Irish citizenship resident in Britain or Ireland can apply.
  • Foreign citizens may apply but must be studying in a British or Irish horticultural training establishment.
  • Applicants must be 18-35 years of age or if over 35 years then within first 5 years of a career in horticulture.