Category: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: Meet Christian Jenkins MAIH RH0157

Member Spotlight: Meet Christian Jenkins MAIH RH0157

Christian Jenkins MAIH RH0157 recently became our newest Regional Convenor for the Victoria region. Christian is a highly-regarded landscape design specialist based in gorgeous Grovedale, right near Geelong in Victoria. With its proximity to Port Phillip Bay and the Great Ocean Road, Christian services clients throughout Victoria.

With an impressive array of awards, Christian is well-known in the landscape sector. His designs have been recognised with two awards in 2019: the People’s Choice Award for the ‘Dreaming’ garden and the SILVER Gilt Award at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, as well as Gold at the New Zealand Flower and Garden Show 2018 winning Design Excellence, and Horticultural Excellence Awards and Gold in 2017.

 

Christian Jenkins MAIH RH0157 landscape design specialist. Image: Christian Jenkins Landscape Design.

 

Hello Christian! Tell us how you started out and built up a successful career in horticulture and landscape?

From a young age, my home duties were mowing the three-quarter acre lawn with the push mower, long summers at the beach, and being surrounded by nature created my love of the outdoors. I applied for an apprenticeship as a curator at a private school and missed out – he explained that a job as a gardener would shortly be available. For the next two years l was based at the Ivanhoe Grammar School gardens, and I attended Burnley College studying Horticulture with a love of garden design.

I spent many years with a wonderful landscaper who helped me find my craft in construction, design and horticulture. In 2003 I created my first Show Garden at MIFGS – something happened at that time, being in this creative forum surrounded by a wonderful selection of 100 year old trees, next to the city, in autumn the energy is addictive!

This led me to creating nine garden shows in a row, returning to do another seven from 2015 with two in New Zealand. This forum allows one to create garden designs that are more playful than I would generally create for clients. The awards and exposure that MIFGS has given me has helped my career.

 

‘Japanese Garden’ This Gold Medal Winning Garden was constructed for the New Zealand International Flower and Garden show in 2017. Surrounded by a lush green tapestry of tropical plant life, this boutique resort style garden includes an island style hut with contemporary furnishings. Image: Christian Jenkins Landscape Design.

 

What inspires and influences your award-winning design solutions?

Last year’s design at MIFGS “Dreaming” featured a sculptural metal pergola in the shape of a leaf. I also designed and built a 1.7m high sculptural egg that was painted by an Aboriginal artist from Uluru.

Getting back to the question, I am at the stage in my designing career where nature inspires me, without a doubt the greatest designer of all! As we are all horticultural enthusiasts I am inspired daily. The wonderful forms of dried seed pods amaze me with their artistry and I often think I would love a life-sized pod in the garden or how I could make one. Finding a point of difference as a designer is always the challenge, and most of all I like to challenge myself with the design concept. I love architecture and my designs generally include an outdoor room or sitting structure of some sort.

My love of water is always included in my designs with the reflective qualities the water brings, the calming influences and the wonderful soothing sound constantly brings me back to working with this medium. Functionality is also a major priority for my gardens, and I ensure that people can always enter my gardens and go on a journey to a calming sitting place.

To win awards at garden shows you must be fortunate to have wonderful plant sponsors, so displaying a wonderful selection of plants and trees of the highest quality brings the design together, and generally securing my plant sponsor for a show will quite often determine the style of my garden. Last year at MIFGS I worked with Carl from Botanix Nursery, Joel from Tall Trees and Michelle from Established Tree Planters and with their enthusiasm and love for MIFGS that helped me make “Dreaming” a celebration of Australian native plants.

 

Award winning garden for the 2019 Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. This Garden is called Dreaming and is a tribute to the native parts we are so lucky to have in Australia. This Garden won People’s Choice Award 2019 and the Gilt Award 2019. Image: Christian Jenkins Landscape Design.

 

What is your advice for fellow horticultural professionals in navigating a rapidly-changing world?

I really find this a difficult question to answer – the world is changing very quickly and both agriculture and horticulture will be relied upon and have even greater importance in the years to come. Making organisations stronger, more approachable and exchanging our knowledge with each other will be very valuable. To remain successful in our chosen field we must be constantly evolving as a business owner, improving our existing skill set, looking to strengthen areas for improvement.

The great thing about our industry is artificial intelligence won’t be able to prune the roses, our best practise comes from our home garden so keep experimenting at home, and putting ourselves outside our comfort zone always creates great results. The changing world needs to get back to basics, and the simple things in life bring the most enjoyment – our industry brings so much enjoyment to so many age groups.

What big trends do you think horticulturists should look towards in 2020 and beyond?

Rainwater harvesting is something we can all do, and my home in the Otway Ranges relies solely on rainwater. Both local councils and governments support rainwater capture for sustainability and resilience.

The connection between mental health and nature will only become more important every year, with wellness gardens to become more popular. Fruit trees need to be planted more often using dwarf varieties and our gardens need to be planted with thoughtfulness for our local wildlife. Overall the design style will be less and less formal – I would like to think naturalistic gardens will be more common than a structured garden, with plant selection becoming increasingly important with the harsh environmental conditions.

I think we need to experiment more with soil media in the garden with the standard garden blended soil sold by the landscape supply yards needing some clever input. The houses are bigger and the gardens are smaller so we must continue to be creative with the small spaces.

 

Check out Christian’s beautiful designs on his website and social media – visit christianjenkins.com.au and stay tuned for news and updates from our Victoria region.

 

This article featured in our new members-only magazine, HortInsightsJoin us today as a member and you will receive our magazine by email every two months.

Member Spotlight: Andrew Price FAIH RH

Member Spotlight: Andrew Price FAIH RH

AIH Fellow Andrew Price FAIH RH Features On ABC Gardening Australia

 

AIH Registered Horticulturist, Fellow of the Institute, and gardener Andrew Price FAIH RH takes us through his garden in Ermington NSW. With a tropical back garden and a mix of natives, cacti and succulents in the front garden, he has planted a wide variety of plants that would give any gardener inspiration and new ideas for a lush, green garden.

 

In his garden you will find oranges, pinks, and reds – plants that flower in that colour palette throughout the year. To “fool the eye” (Trompe L’Oeil, a French term), he has maximised his small garden to look big, and places emphasis on pruning edges and using foliage and textures to define a space and to give the garden depth. He’s using a yellow colour palette to brighten up the space.

 

Image Credit: ABC Gardening Australia

Image Credit: ABC Gardening Australia

 

20 years ago Andrew started working with aquariums, artificially cultivating plants that produce oxygen using energy-efficient LED lights. The plants are growing in pots rather than in gravel to allow any composition in the tank: to pick them up, clean them and put them back in. When cleaning the tank he uses a hose to change the water to siphon out any debris and algae. The water collected can then be reused on the garden.

 

Image Credit: ABC Gardening Australia

Image Credit: ABC Gardening Australia

 

“To me, having a garden is vital for your mental health and well-being, something that gives you grounding and there’s memories… Everybody should have a garden.” says Andrew.

 

Andrew Price FAIH RH runs Jungle Horticulture, offering unique, naturally crafted gardens and designs to suit diverse tastes. Members of the Australian Institute of Horticulture are invited to contact Andrew on 0414 614 749 for a tour of his gardens and access to propagation materials.

 

Andrew was a feature on ABC Gardening Australia on Friday 8 February 2019.

Member Spotlight – Chris Oliver FAIH

Member Spotlight – Chris Oliver FAIH

Karragullen horticulturist Chris Oliver is an expert when it comes to reviving old, diseased or damaged fruit trees.

 

“My philosophy is if you can keep a tree healthy, then you are strengthening it to be able to resist pest and disease attack,” he said. “The healthier the tree, the more environmental resistance it has. It’s virtually like our bodies, if we become weak and tired we are prone to all sorts of problems.”

Plying his trade in the Perth Hills under the banner Wilburnia Fruit and Flowers, Chris said every case of fruit tree regeneration was unique. “You have to size up the ecosystem first, and every tree presents a new challenge. You need to know the history of the tree before you can develop a plan,” he said.

“Each stage that you go through, from pruning deadwood to fertilising and watering, needs to be monitored carefully so that you can see the response.”

When developing a rejuvenation plan, Chris draws on knowledge gained personally as a grower and from his long career at TAFE as a horticultural lecturer. He keeps abreast of new technologies and believes in a combined organic and inorganic approach when it comes to growing fruit trees.

“It’s a thrill to see how trees respond and having the knowledge that you can do the job. I miss communicating that to students,” he said. Each regeneration project starts with a site analysis. Chris takes into account the health of the tree and its surrounds, as well as soil health, environmental conditions and water supply. Work then begins on bringing the tree back to good health using a step-by-step approach. “When trees are under stress, things go wrong and they get pests and diseases far easier,” he said.

Speaking from experience, Chris has been regenerating two Bedford cherry trees in his orchard, which is home to a range of stone fruit varieties, pomme fruit, citrus and four varieties of nuts.

It’s a thrill to see how trees respond and having the knowledge that you can do the job. I miss communicating that to students…

Chris said canker (Pseudomonas syringae), a bacterial airborne disease that causes limb dieback, had set into the cherry trees several years ago after a severe water shortage. “They are an old variety of cherry. They used to produce about 22kg of fruit a year, which was quite a big yield,” he said.

While several of the cherry trees have already died, Chris still has hope for the remaining two trees.

Site analysis

When he established his orchard almost 30 years ago, Chris faced the challenges of laterite outcrops, nutritionally deficient soil and a diminishing water supply.

“When I set my orchard up, I meant it to be a demonstration of what can grow in this area,” he said.

“We had to windrow the soil, because the laterite outcrops are close to the surface and minimise soil depth for growing fruit trees. “The gravelly soil is also poor on organic matter. For years I have been building up the soil mainly using composted brewery sludge, together with animal manures. It’s fantastic as a mulch and it’s marvellous at holding nutrients.”

Remnants of the natural fertiliser are scattered around the bases of the fruit trees in Chris’ orchard, but it has been difficult to source of late. “I used to get it from the old Swan Brewery. When it came off the truck it was a solid mass of half-set jelly, and you had to spread it out to dry until it is granular in form. My water use reduced from every day to twice a week after using the sludge.”

Water is a major problem in the area. Chris uses bore water on the property but said supply was very intermittent and he has to buy in water over summer.

“It’s just one of the things with change of climate that you have to deal with,” he said. Back to life

With canker rapidly spreading from branch to branch in his Bedford cherries, Chris said it was important to remove signs of the disease by pruning away the deadwood.

Member Spotlight – Chris Oliver FAIH

“It’s the initial stage of getting them back to new life,” he said. “If they are weak, the main thing is to not depend on cutting it back to a growing bud, which you normally do in pruning, but to cut it back to a living shoot. I generally do that prior to winter so I can see where the deadwood is.”

Now that winter has arrived, Chris said his next task would be to selectively and lightly prune the trees; the amount of material to remove depends on the type of fruit and the condition of the tree.

“You have to be very careful as to how much you prune back. The main reason is you want as much leaf area as possible for photosynthesis, which will help to build up the root system.”

Chris said he would apply a rapid release, NPK, plus trace elements fertiliser in spring, just before bud burst to give the trees a boost.

“The main thing is you have to be astute in where you apply the fertiliser. It has to be around the drip line, which should be 300mm to 400mm from the base of the trunk,” he said.

“I aim to get the nutrients taken up as quickly as possible in that burst of new growth, and then as the rains diminish I put on a light mulch.”

You have to be very careful as to how much you prune back. The main reason is you want as much leaf area as possible for photosynthesis, which will help to build up the root system…

Chris uses leafy tree clippings for mulch, applied about 300mm from the base of the trunk to about 300mm outside the drip line. He builds the mulch up to a thickness of about 80mm. He spreads cow manure under the mulch, which helps to hold in the nutrients.

At the end of summer, Chris applies a balanced fertiliser such as NPK Red.

It is also important to manage the pH of the soil, so Chris uses a testing kit to take random soil samples from around the tree to work out an average pH reading.

“I monitor the soil once a month,” he said. “Too alkaline and I will need to balance the soil with an acidifier like ammonium sulphate. If it’s too acidic, I add limestone calcium carbonate.”

While there is no quick fix for diseases such as canker, Chris believes he has found the formula for regeneration success. With perseverance and careful monitoring, he hopes to change the fate of not only his Bedford cherries but countless other fruit trees in the Perth Hills.

Article provided by Chris Oliver FAIH

Member Spotlight: Andrew Prowse

Member Spotlight: Andrew Prowse

Andrew Prowse, an Australian Institute of Horticulture Registered Horticulturalist and the institute’s Vice- President has been appointed this year as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Engineering and Science at James Cook University. The university has it main campus at Townsville with satellite campuses in Cairns and Singapore. Andrew has been involved with teaching at the university’s Centre for Tropical Urban & Regional Planning since 1994.

Andrew has extensive Landscape Architectural experience in both the private and government sector. A graduate in Landscape Architecture from the University of Canberra, after graduation he worked for The Council of the City of Sydney and Botany Municipal Council and responsible for a number of urban renewal and upgrading projects in Sydney including the Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Gardens. Some may remember The Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Gardens from the bus tour after the AIH’s 2014 Congress in Sydney – the park was a Bicentennial project recreation of the famed gardens beside Botany Bay which also featured Australia’s first zoo.

Since 1990 he has been practicing in tropical north Queensland, undertaking Main Street Programs, townscape improvements, resorts, housing, and garden projects in Queensland, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and China.

Since 1990 he has been practicing in tropical north Queensland, undertaking Main Street Programs, townscape improvements, resorts, housing, and garden projects in Queensland, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and China. Central to these projects has been the use of tropical design responses in creating functional and aesthetic solutions. Andrew collaborated with fellow AIH Registered Horticulturist and former AIH President Kim Morris in designing of one of China’s largest botanic themed parks, the 37 hectare Sino-Australian Friendship Garden on the Zhanjiang foreshore in southern China.

His work on the Paiam town project that involved the development of a new township in the remote Highlands of Papua New Guinea received listing by the United Nation’s Habitat Organisation as an Example of World’s Best Practice and received the Australian Institute of Landscape Architect’s Queensland Award for Excellence in Planning. He, along with Kim Morris, has also been retained by the Australian Office of War Graves for advice on the management, design and maintenance of Australia’s War Cemeteries in Queensland, the Northern Territory and P.N.G.

One of the projects that Andrew considers one his most interesting and challenging was working with AIH Registered Horticulturist Don Burke on a school campus in far north Queensland. After Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Larry devastated Innisfail town, severely damaging the State School, Landcare Australia and television garden program Backyard Blitz decided to provide a new playground. Andrew’s challenge was designing a prototype Environmental Study Garden in a 4 weeks construction, documentation and approval period. The design of a 150m2 wetland with jetty, 80m of rainforest boardwalk, stage and amphitheatre, aquaculture and butterfly house, centred around a new fully equipped study lab, was designed to be built largely by volunteers in 4 televised days. It was Backyard Blitz largest build on the programme. The project received a commendation award in the International Torsanlorenzo Prize, a world-wide prize for horticultural and landscape projects given by one of Europe’s largest nurseries.

Andrew Prowse BLArch. AILA MAIH

Registered Landscape Architect #0063

Australian Institute of Landscape Architects

Registered Horticulturist #RH0053

Australian Institute of Horticulture

Member Spotlight: Matt Mitchley of the Designer Garden Co.

Member Spotlight: Matt Mitchley of the Designer Garden Co.

We visit the Jurassica theme park garden project in Cairns, owned by Matt Mitchley of the Designer Garden Co.

Jurassica Jungle Harnesses Prehistoric Power To Reconnect Younger Generations With Nature

Matt is a member of the Australian Institute of Horticulture and is an accredited Registered Horticulturist (RH 0026).

Tell us about your garden, Matt.

The garden, which is 3000sq.m., was built three years ago on a prominent derelict commercial site in Cairns and is part of the 202020 vision project that supports greening of our cities.

Locals have loved the transformation. It’s one of the largest collections of mature cycads, pachy­podiums, yuccas, ponytails and succulents, and it creates a modern-day representation of a prehistoric cycad forest.

Some specimens are hundreds of years old, such as Macrozamia mooreii, which is native to Carnarvon Gorge. The soil is typical Cairns deep sand, ideal for these plants. The garden is a pilot for a larger, nature-based theme park.

I’ve always been in love with the Jurassic age, not really for the dinosaurs but the habitat they lived in…

What makes your beautiful garden so special?

Many are rescue plants that I’ve collected over the past few years. I’m a landscaper and I’d see them unloved and unwanted at the tip.

Now people who know the site contact me, asking if I want special plants they are removing. Many need a crane or digger but I just can’t say no because I don’t want them to die.

Some are spectacular — they are just what I’ve been waiting for. There’s a lot of mature, rare stuff around because there were many specialist nurseries in the area in the 1970s.

Why do you love these particular plants, Matt?

I’ve always been in love with the Jurassic age, not really for the dinosaurs but the habitat they lived in.

I came to Cairns from England 12 years ago and every garden I went into was like a lolly shop for me, full of spectacular plants.

These fierce architectural plants have masculine qualities, especially when assembled together.

Jurassica Jungle
PHOTO: The spiked and armoured plants on display in the Jurassica Project’s garden are a hit with children. (ABC Far North: Adam Stephen)

What have been the biggest challenges for you, Matt?

Bringing in more than 500cu m of fill and the same of boulders to form hills and ridges from the flat, weed-infested site.

What’s next on the plans for you?

We have just bought a 20ha cane farm in a prominent highway position on the northside of Cairns.

We will add another bow and become sugar cane farmers while we develop this as the new Jurassica Theme Park site.

We hope to attract investors for the proposed theme park showcasing natural ecosystems of animals, plants and their habitats. Dedicated to conservation, education and entertainment, it aims to engage children and adults with real­istic displays such as primordial swamps, arid desert, lagoons, volcano and a cycad valley.

Our team has designed the whole project and developed a detailed business package for investors.

Jurassica Jungle
PHOTO: The Jurassica Project’s roadside location garners plenty of interest from passing traffic. (ABC Far North: Adam Stephen)

Contact Matt

Matt is at 0404 972 235 – matt@designergarden.com.au.

Visit the project profile at 202020Vision or at http://www.designergarden.com.au.

Acknowledgements to The Weekend Australian and ABC Far North.

Member Spotlight: Volker Mischker MAIH

Member Spotlight: Volker Mischker MAIH

It all started at Wall’s Nursery, Richard (Dick) Wall and team, in Keysborough Victoria. It was here my love of Horticulture began with a 4-year Apprenticeship. This was an amazing workplace and I am very grateful for the comprehensive support and opportunities that were provided to me.

From there I moved to Alice Springs to a brief role at the Arid Zone Research Institute before starting at the Yulara tourist resort near Uluru as the Landscape Environmental Supervisor.

After three years. I was looking for another challenge so I moved to Brisbane to qualify as a TAFE teacher to begin my role in that space.

After moving to Esperance in Western Australia to establish a native plant nursery, I completed further studies in land management so I was able to coordinate a number of projects in catchment restoration, farm planning and forest science.

Moving north to the Kimberley, I worked with Aboriginal Ranger Groups and in community garden projects, teaching horticulture and land management units.

A shift to Darwin saw me focus on training in conservation and land management in both national parks and remote communities throughout the Top End.

After shifting to Tasmania in 2013. I continued to work in both the Kimberley and the Pilbara with Aboriginal ranger groups as a FIFO trainer. During this time, I also co-developed training resources for a number of CLM units for a Greening Australia/BHP funded project.

I have been very fortunate that I have had many opportunities to be involved in both horticulture and land management now for many years and in many diverse situations and states.

On the completion of this project I commenced work with TasTAFE and Conservation Volunteers Australia. Since the beginning of 2017 I have been full time with TasTAFE, and we plan on being here a while. We have a lovely home and sufficient land to manage a range of productive trees, grow vegetables and a wide range of natives to keep the birds interested.

I have been very fortunate that I have had many opportunities to be involved in both horticulture and land management now for many years and in many diverse situations and states. This of course has meant there is always lots to learn and study has been my constant “companion” for both interest and necessity with many nights, weekends and blocks given up to this. But has the journey to date been worthwhile? Absolutely and without a doubt.

In taking on the role of Vice President of the AIH, I am hoping to play an active role in both national and state activities. I have developed friendships with a number exceptionally committed Horticultural colleagues. I shall certainly be using those individuals to promote and engage with the industry here in Tasmania.

I am really keen to hear from anyone in the industry to chat about all things horticulture and any ideas you may have for AIH activities in Tasmania.

Cheers

Volker Mischker MAIH

Vice-President