Category: President's Report

President’s Report February 2020

President’s Report February 2020

Dear Members,

I hope your start to the year has been smooth and not affected by either extreme heat, fires or flooding rains?

It does make you think more about the current condition our climate is in and what impact it not only has on us but our industry. Last year’s conference highlighted the hard work being accomplished by members of our industry but it also highlighted the amount of work we still need to do and how we need to continue to push our industry and learn more about how horticulture can assist in a changing climate.

This year the institute celebrates its 60th year as the peak industry body representing horticulturists in Australia and Southeast Asia. We will be hosting our awards night in Sydney this October along with our national conference that was very well received last year in Perth. The conference will follow on with a similar theme to last year highlighting the works of horticulturists in our changing climate. Please keep an eye out for the communications regarding these events.

We have also worked alongside our industry colleagues at Interior Plantscape Association to organise a three-day tour of Singapore gardens to coincide with this year’s Singapore Garden Festival. This event has been such a success we have nearly sold out of the limited seats we had available. This will be a great event and we thank both IPA and NParks for their assistance in organising this event.

The National Council and myself will be attending MIFGS this year in Melbourne and invite anyone wishing to catch up to contact myself or AIH directly to organise a catch up.

I look forward to a big year ahead and welcome all our new members that have joined our organisation at the start of this year.

Michael Casey

President’s Report November 2019

President’s Report November 2019

Dear Members,

We have just recently had our Annual General Meeting in Sydney and I would like to thank the hard work
put in over the last 12 months by our National executives, councilors and paid contractors:

Vice President Alan Burnell
Secretary Matt Mitchley
Treasurer Andrew Prowse
Council Neville Passmore, Patrick Regnault, Jackie Warburton and Kris Pearce
Website and Membership Manager David Thompson
Editor Tempe Macgowan
Past President and Registered Horticulturist Manager Wayne Van Balen
Auditors AME Accountants
Bookkeepers Notch Above

We have had a couple of changes after the AGM with the election of our new Vice President Andrew Prowse stepping up from Treasurer and we welcome back Andrew Price to the position of Treasurer.

I would also like to personally thank our parting committee members Alan Burnell and Neville Passmore for their committed and hard work over the last 12 months and wish them all the very best with their works outside the AIH council. We will also be welcoming onto the committee as ‘nonvoting’ member our new Student Ambassador Coralie Stuart. Coralie received the 2019 Horticultural Student of the Year award and will be promoting the benefits of our industry to the many students studying around Australia. Again congratulations on receiving this award Coralie.

As we get closer to Christmas and the end of the year we would ask that all members keep an eye out for communications on Christmas events happening in each state. Our membership manager David will be sending out information on these end of year dinners. The committee has also been working hard on next year’s awards night and conference and will be able to release dates and location details very shortly.

I wish you all the best in the lead up to Christmas.

Michael Casey

President’s Report September 2019

President’s Report September 2019

Welcome to the start of spring and the lead into the busy run to Christmas.

Over the last three months, the AIH Committee have been tirelessly working to organize a fantastic line-up of speakers for our upcoming conference. We are also preparing the annual awards night which looks set to be a great night of networking and social engagement.

The conference, for which you have no doubt received plenty of information about, is going to be an informative day that will give an insight into how horticulture is assisting with ameliorating the changing climate. I thank our national councillor and conference Convenor, Neville Passmore, FAIH RH, for his assistance with setting up this event.

A big thank you also goes to our hard-working and extremely committed members I have working with me at AIH. Their work on the conference and awards night will ensure that the two events will be enjoyed by all who attend. Therapeutic Horticulture Australia, where I sit on their council, is also delivering an impressive line-up of speakers for their conference. It is a must for anyone wanting to gather information on what’s happening in this emerging sector of our industry.

With only a couple of weeks to go, I recommend to anyone wishing to network with like-minded professionals and hear what both Therapeutic Horticulture and horticulturists are doing about climate change, to come along and have a look at what’s on offer in Perth from 19th – 22nd September 2019.

Hope to see you in Perth.

Michael Casey

President’s Report July 2019

President’s Report July 2019

Dear Councillors and Members,


Welcome to the middle of the year and the countdown to our 2019 Conference and Awards night to be held in Perth, Western Australia.


The National Council have now received all the nominations for the upcoming awards and I send out a big thank you to all that sent through their nominations as there have been some fantastic projects and colleagues nominated. I must say the large amount of nominations that came in this year was great to see. Our Conference Convenor Neville Passmore has been working hard to ensure that this year’s conference will not disappoint.


The line up can be seen on the AIH webpage as can the online booking form so ensure you make the most of the discount offered for the conference early bird tickets. The wildflower and garden tour is open for all AIH members and the public so please make the most of booking early as numbers are limited. It will be held on Sunday 22nd September following the awards and can be seen on the website.


Therapeutic Horticulture Australia is also having their annual conference on the 20th September and this will be full of accomplished presenters discussing innovation, practice and research in the field of therapeutic horticulture. Please ensure you take a look at the THA website for more details or you can book online at our Trybooking site.


I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our membership team who have been working hard over the last 2 months ensuring all members have their current memberships processed and replying to messages of both support and inquiries from prospective members. We have had a great number of new members join in recent months and I welcome them to the AIH on behalf of the National Council and myself. To all renewing members please ensure you head to the website of ACS Distance Education to receive your $30 eBook voucher. Thanks again to John Mason FAIH for this kind gift to our members.


The continuing workshops and ‘walk and talks’ around the country are bringing both fantastic and insightful topics and sites for our members but more importantly, they are attracting large amounts of participants ensuring that members can network with like-minded industry colleagues. The appointment of Wayne Van Balen as our Registered Horticulturist Manager will also ensure that these events be run around the country and with the best topics and presenters we can find. For all RH members, we will be starting our auditing of members CPD points so please ensure your records are up to date.


Thank you again to all members and if there is anything myself or the National Council can help you with then please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.


Michael Casey

President’s Report June 2019

President’s Report June 2019

Dear Councillors and Members,


I have enjoyed the last month both working alongside the National Council and fellow members in various activities that are either associated with AIH or the broader industry. This has included working with the hard-working conference team, led by Neville Passmore, as they put together a fantastic program of speakers and topics. The conference will be highlighting the role of horticulturists in a changing world and environment. My role on the national council with Therapeutic Horticulture Australia (THA) has allowed me to work with their President, Steven Wells, and their conference team as we all put the THA conference together, which has a growing line-up of fantastic speakers.


On another front, my chats with Interior Plantscape Association President, Karen Smith, has seen the two of us work on some very exciting ideas that we will both release very soon. The more we chat to our colleagues and friends in the industry, the more we open our eyes to the many professions that this great field of work we are in associates us with. The word collaboration gets used a lot, but I’m actually seeing it play out more and more as it now becomes a fundamental way in which we network within our professional community.


My recent trip to Singapore was a wonderful one that allowed myself, Vice president, Alan Burnell, Singapore Convenor, John Tan, and AIH member, Dr Kate Neale, to attend the opening of the first Singapore Horticultural Show. This show highlighted everything great in horticulture and was targeted at professionals, families, students and anyone with an interest in horticulture. The amount of educational demonstrations held during this event made an outing to this show a must for people wanting to understand more about our profession. Myself, Alan, John and Kate would also like to acknowledge and thank NParks for their kind invitation to speak on behalf of the AIH on various topics from our professional fields.


At the time of compiling this newsletter, the AIH award nominations have closed and the national council will be busy discussing the various projects, members and associated colleagues who have nominated themselves or have been nominated. The awards night, which will be held in Perth following the conference will be a fantastic night to both highlight some of the wonderful work in horticulture as well as a worthy networking event. Tickets will be on sale very shortly for both our AIH conference and awards night as well as the Therapeutic Horticulture conference.


AIH workshops continue to be presented around the country with some fantastic events facilitated by our convenors and horticultural experts. These events are always being added to the calendar and can be viewed online. The Walk ‘N’ Talks will also continue with some new ones being added to the Victorian calendar very shortly. Thanks to our Registered Horticulturist Manager, Wayne Van Balen and all the regional convenors. I am looking forward to some great events over the next few months.


And on a final note, you will have received your annual renewals for membership. The national council thanks you for your ongoing support as a member and we look forward to assisting and promoting you and the industry throughout the next 12 months and beyond. A big thank you goes out to John Mason from ACS Distance Education for their kind donation of a $30 voucher that goes to all members on renewal of their membership. Let’s all get behind them as a valued sponsor.


Michael Casey

President’s Report May 2019

President’s Report May 2019

Dear Councillors and Members,


What a great first quarter to 2019 with so many events and networking opportunities as well as new initiatives being continually added to the many benefits of being an AIH member.


Promoting Horticulture

In the last 3 months, the Institute has represented members and promoted horticulture at the Perth Garden Festival, Melbourne International Garden Show, Plant Collectors Fair, Brisbane Garden and Plant Expo and the Singapore Horticulture Show just to name a few.


‘Walk and Talks’

Our ‘Walk and Talks’ are extremely popular and providing members, friends and colleagues an opportunity to catch up with likeminded people while walking around a beautiful garden.


Taxonomy Workshop in All States Around Australia

Our workshops are held around Australia with great success and I thank all the convenors for their hard work in both organising and running these events. Very shortly we will be running our popular Taxonomy workshop in all states around Australia so please look out for news of these dates and locations.


Singapore Horticulture Show 

I have recently returned from Singapore where I attended the Singapore Horticulture Show alongside fellow members Alan Burnell MAIH (Vice President) and Dr Kate Neale AAIH where we all presented talks on the main stage at the Horticulture show alongside AIH Singapore Convenor John Tan MAIH. A big thanks goes to John for making this happen and for NParks for hosting us over the opening weekend. The show was a great success and one that should be placed in your calendars if you ever wish to visit Singapore.


Membership Renewal Notices for 2019/20

By now you will be receiving your membership renewal notices and you may notice that Australian Distance Education has kindly donated a $30 voucher to be used at their online bookstore. This promotion is for full membership renewals and is a very generous offer from John Mason and his team. I would like to thank John personally on behalf of all renewing AIH members and direct our members to John’s business if they are interested in any online courses. Thanks John.

New Connections

AIH are continuing to make great connections with other horticultural companies and we hope to be able to offer our members some great incentives and deals with these new contacts.


Award Nominations

The Council are now starting to receive nominations for the upcoming awards night to be held in Perth. Let’s continue to send through nominations for jobs of our own or colleagues or maybe nominate someone who has excelled in horticulture in other ways.


AIH Conference

The upcoming conference is taking shape and I have been lucky enough to see the current line-up for the speakers at the event and am quite excited about what will be showcased on the day. Our National Council led by Neville Passmore are working hard on this event and I thank them all for their work to date. Check out the website for more details and look out for emails detailing the line-up and other announcements.


New AIH Quarterly Journal

And last of all our new AIH quarterly journal will be out soon and is full of horticultural stories, interviews and other relevant information. A big thanks to our Communications Manager, Tempe Macgowan, for her hard work.


I look forward to our National Council releasing more information over the next month regarding new events, networking opportunities and other horticultural news.


Michael Casey

President’s Report February – March 2019

President’s Report February – March 2019

Dear councillors and members,


the start of the year is bringing together some fantastic work done by our National Council. We started back in early January and have been busy at getting ideas and projects underway to ensure that 2019 is a successful year for the institute.


I would like to acknowledge our friend, colleague and mentor Kim Morris FAIH who sadly passed away at the start of the year. As I have mentioned in previous communications. Kim was a very important part of AIH and mentored many of us, including myself as I am extremely grateful for his assistance and commitment with assisting me reaching this position within the institute.


Over the last 2 months, I have received notifications from Web and Membership Manager David Thompson about the many new members who have joined us. I welcome them and hope they start to benefit professionally from being a part of our institute.


We have implemented 2 new paid positions at AIH:

1. Communications Manager Tempe Macgowan and

2. Wayne Van Balen Registered Horticulturist Coordinator.


These positions are all important roles within the institute and they will assist the National Council with delivering the many new changes we wish to implement over the next few months. On behalf of the National Council, I welcome them and we will be hearing more from them in the future.


Our workshops and networking events have started for the year and you may all see some changes over the next few months in how we deliver these events. Wayne and the National Council will be working hard at structuring events to ensure maximum participation and delivery of information. Our new ‘Walk and Talk’ events are gathering momentum with 2 completed this year on the mid and north coasts of NSW. Our regional convenors have recorded great numbers and the feedback has been positive.


Our new newsletter and monthly articles have started rolling out and will be a monthly feature for our members. I welcome any stories from members about any projects or events they are involved in and would like to share with our organisation.


This coming April, Singapore will host their first biennial Horticultural Festival. Our Singapore Regional Convenor, John Tan, has organised for some of us to attend the event and present workshops at this festival. This will be another way we continue to strengthen our association with Singapore and their garden and horticultural events.


Our conference planning is well and truly underway with the location booked and the theme and topics being finalised. Very soon our call for papers will go out and planning will continue to organise a program. I thank Neville for his work to date and encourage anyone who can assist the conference committee to get in contact with us to ensure we can pass on your details to Neville.


The award nominations are almost ready to be sent out in March and we expect to see some fantastic projects and people nominated for the various awards being offered. The Greenspace Awards are becoming very popular amongst developers and councils who are all keen to display their green spaces in the new developments popping up around the country.


Start thinking about some projects or people you know about who would be worthy of being nominated for one of the many awards.


To finish I would like to also remind you all about the many garden festivals that will be appearing over the next few months. Keep an eye out on the AIH calendar to ensure you don’t miss the next event in your state.


Look forward to chatting with you all and attending the many events on throughout Autumn.



Michael Casey

President’s Report December 2018

President’s Report December 2018

Dear Members,

Most of you would know me as the Editor of this newsletter and the Vice President of the Australian Institute of Horticulture. At the recent AGM I was voted in as the new President, a position I am extremely privileged to accept. I would like to thank Wayne for the last 4 years of holding this title and also for the tireless work he has performed within the institute, I truly believe we are in a solid position thanks to his direction.

For those who don’t know much about me, I have been a member for approx. 10 years, have served at State level holding the position of Victorian Regional Convenor, National Councillor, Vice President and now President.

Horticulture is and has been a passion of mine for some time, having found this passion as a child, I have grown to incorporate this into my adult and professional life. I’m the Director of MJC Horticulture Pty Ltd, a Melbourne based Horticultural firm that operates design, consultancy, construction, and management divisions, as well as dedicating my time to assisting with the Australian Institute of Horticulture and as a National Councillor with Therapeutic Horticulture Australia (THA).

We face a lot of challenges with organisations currently. Matters such as how to best support our members, highlighting relevance in our professional practices as well as competing for money we have in our professional and personal budgets are all areas that National Council discuss and take very seriously.

The AIH will be moving into a new era of social media, marketing and a direction that will continue to have our organisation stay at the forefront of the horticultural industry. We need to continue to stay up to date with information and research and we do this by partnering and communicating with universities around the country and attending and supporting local and international conferences including other industry organisations. We have members who sit on the boards of other organisations as industry voices and experts in their fields, we also have our members that partner up with other professionals to deliver some of the fantastic projects that received accolades at our recent awards night. Most importantly we need to continue to network and promote horticulture.

I would ask that you as our members assist us at National Council by suggesting changes that you may like to see implemented, assisting where you feel your talents may lie but more importantly be proud of being a member of the Australian Institute of Horticulture and promote our organisation to the horticultural industry and the greater public.

I hope to meet as many of our members as possible when I attend events around the country and please feel free to contact me if there is anything you wish to discuss.

Michael Casey
(M) 0411 520 796

President’s Report October 2018

President’s Report October 2018

Dear Members

This will be my last President’s report after four years at the helm. In a very genuine sense, it has been an honour.

For those that wonder, “why be a member?” albeit at some expense, personally I have regularly travelled to most regions, made great friends in Western Australia, South Australia, even Tasmania and Cairns – as well as the diverse regions in Victoria and New South Wales. I have represented the institute in Singapore, Jakarta, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. I have met the International Presidents of organisations such as the Institute of Landscape Architects, Horticultural Scientists and Production Horticulturists, and these have been wonderful opportunities resulting from belonging to my professional organisation. I have been privileged to work with many dedicated Regional Conveners and Councillors who are passionate about our association and profession. I can assure you that they are committed to the membership.

In recent years, Kim Morris has served tirelessly even through recent periods of ill health. We owe him a great deal. My wife Jane has made it possible through her technical support in the office and her counsel in relation to tricky situations.

I can report that there are ever increasing wonderful career opportunities for people entering our profession with issues like organic food production, food security, biosecurity and the benefits of green space in our urban environment. Horticultural therapy and understanding alternative pest and disease management systems are other realms that have been developing. Industrial contracts are increasingly calling for qualified horticulturists and in fact, contracts are beginning to require registered horticulturists on construction and management assignments. More recently, I have been involved in government initiatives that realise the benefits of our registered horticulturist scheme in communicating developing horticultural standards and methods. The Australian Garden Council does a large amount of work on identifying and discussing with Government the importance of Horticulture and gardens in relation to our tourism sector and this needs to be a continuing and growing focus.

I congratulate our Gold Sponsors Botanica Nurseries Pty Ltd and Fitzpatricks Insurance, who have joined with us to support our endeavours to improve skills and professionalism. We look forward to honouring their commitment. The regions have been rallying for us to provide more clarity to the public as to why they should use professional horticulturists. I thank Tom Lantry and the NSW Hunter/Central Coast group which is going national

Recently I attended the Botanical Bazaar on the Gold Coast where we had an AIH tent and answered questions to the public. We signed up many new members and took registrations for our awards night. The success was similar to that achieved at the Plant Collectors Fair in Sydney and the wonderful networking that took place at the Perth Garden Festival.

We have recently been receiving nominations for the new National Council. I encourage nominations for those who are yet to submit.

Awards Night

While on the Gold Coast I stayed a night at the Mercure Gold Coast Resort, which is the venue of our next Awards Night on 27th October. I am very pleased to advise that the venue is great! In a golf course setting with a very green outlook, excellent pool area, regal staircase, plenty of space and great rooms. So, I encourage you to attend and enjoy a night or two if you can book (quickly!). If you are not already aware, there is a Bus Tour arranged on Saturday 27th (leaving from the Mercure Gold Coast Resort, 64 Palm Meadows Drive, Carrara at 9am) before the Awards night. Many of us are attending and supporting the Horticulture Therapy Conference being held on Friday 26th. Details of these events on 26th and 27th October have been provided later in this newsletter and are on the website. If you have any problems booking, please contact David Thompson or myself or the Secretary to assist.

I should not forget to thank David Thompson and his partner Anna who together make a brilliant website and membership team. Thank you David and Anna for the high standards which you have always adhered to.

Singapore Delegation

This coming week we are hosting a delegation of officials and contractors from Singapore who will spend one day in Brisbane, one day in Sydney and one day in Melbourne (they will visit Perth next year). They will be visiting some iconic developments and we will be sharing industry challenges and learning from each other as part of our Memorandum of Collaboration. A number of senior educators will be accompanying us. Thank you to the Vice President, Michael Casey, Paul Hoffmann in Brisbane and Stuart Pittendrigh, Nic Rivett and Annette Irish who will be assisting. We hope that this will lead to good reciprocal opportunities for our own students and professionals in Singapore.

I wish you all a great spring and hope to see you at the Awards Night – and as many events and workshops as possible.

Best wishes

President’s Report September 2018

President’s Report September 2018

Dear Members

I hope you have all had a successful month as you strive for the best possible standards in your businesses and professional lives. It has been an honour to serve in my capacity for almost four years.

Gold Sponsor

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I introduce you to our new Gold Sponsor, Botanica Nurseries. This well-known nursery is highly regarded and we look forward to working with them. I have had the pleasure of meeting Mr David Hanna, Mr Michael Anderson and other senior staff recently.

National Council Positions

With three months to go for my Presidency, I ask you all to consider whether you may be able to serve on National Council for a period to assist in developing professional standards in horticulture and the stature and commitment to members of the Australian Institute of Horticulture nationally and internationally.

AIH Awards

I would seriously appreciate all members taking time to nominate outstanding students, projects and professional horticulturists who might be worthy of our prestigious awards which will be presented at our Awards Night on 27th October 2018 on the Gold Coast.

Full details of all the awards and nomination forms are on the website or contact the Secretary, your Regional Convener or myself as soon as possible.

BBM Award

The closing date for nominations for the BBM Youth Support Award was on 10th August. This award is available for young Horticultural students under the age of 24 who receive $8,000 towards a study tour to England and other locations.

The Criteria and Application form can be found on our website, or contact myself via email below or the Secretary. The application is relatively simple, but please don’t hesitate to contact us for clarification. Awards are available in both amenity and production horticulture.

Singapore and Indonesia

Your Vice President Michael Casey and myself, visited Asia between 16-23 July. We had an extremely busy schedule with really only one day rest before returning. On Tuesday it was my fourth formal annual meeting with NParks in Singapore although we meet on other opportunities throughout the year.

We had productive discussions on matters of training, encouraging young people into the profession and reciprocal training and knowledge visits between our two countries. There is also much we can learn from each other in relation to Government policies and industry developments and opportunities.

On Wednesday, we attended the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) conference where we facilitated an AIH stand. We met a number of good international contacts and met several new members. We also consider our presence amongst many other international organisations as very important. I would encourage many of our specialist design and Architecture members to consider speaker roles at some of these high-level meetings.

On Thursday, we travelled to Jakarta for the Inaugural GreenUrbanScape Expo Jakarta. We were very well received with many great relationships formed. On Friday morning I presented a paper at the Conference. I was the only one that spoke in English! Luckily most people understood English and by speaking slowly and presenting many pictures, my reports are that the talk was well received. Michael concluded the talk by greeting the attendees in Bahasa and we presented and received gifts. It was an excellent networking opportunity which can definitely be built upon.

On Friday night we returned to the Singapore Garden Festival Dinner invited by our AIH Singapore Convener, John Tan.

A big thank you to NParks who provided us with tickets for the festival. John Tan also had a display garden at the Garden Festival and won a Silver Medal for his design. I also had the opportunity to hold discussions with John and Whye Keet from NParks about a possible joint workshop in April next year.

Best wishes,