Category: President's Report

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,


President’s Report July 2018

President’s Report July 2018

Dear Members,

I have been impressed this month by the active participation of a number of our senior members in the affairs of the Institute. Some who come to mind who have been contributing extra effort include Chris Poulton, David Ting, John Mason, Mark Paul, Nic Rivett, Marc Percival, Stuart Pittendrigh, Tom Lantry, Jonathon Garner, Jackie Warburton, Di Ellis, Neville Passmore and of course other Regional Conveners and Councillors. These are the ones that I come into direct contact with but thank you to all the others who help to make our organisation strong.

I would appreciate if your thoughts and prayers be with the great Kim Morris as he tries to regain strength after a bout of serious illness. The Councillors and I will be meeting fortnightly to ensure Kim’s good work continues during this period.

Tom Lantry from the Hunter region recently produced a discussion paper which addresses ways in which we can better promote the professional services provided by our members to the general public. Your thoughts on this topic would be greatly received.

I would also appreciate contact from members who believe they can contribute to participating in a discussion group promoting better training standards within the industry. I congratulate Chris Poulton and Mark Paul for running a well attended ‘Walk and Talk’ gathering at Barrenjoey Headland in Sydney recently. Chris has provided a report in this newsletter.

I am pleased to report that the Award Nominations forms have now been released and are available on the website. If you believe you are worthy of a nomination or you are aware of high performing students, professionals or projects, this is a great opportunity to build your network and obtain media coverage for both the nominator and the recipient. We also released the Sponsorship categories and relevant brochures onto the website.

Michael Casey and myself will be attending and convening a stand at the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) Conference in Singapore in July. This will be followed by the Singapore Garden Festival where I know our member John Tan will be having a significant exhibit. We wish him all the best and maybe we can give him an award too!! Particularly as he helps do a great job dressing up our information stands. I have also been asked to speak at the inaugural UrbanScape Expo in Jakarta during the same week and I am honoured to represent our well regarded Institute there.

Please get your award nominations in early. The closing date is 7th September and the awards night on the Gold Coast will be 27th October.

I am being increasingly encouraged by the fact that government and industry are seeking highly qualified professional horticulturists to be involved in projects and hope we can continue to create greater awareness so that your businesses will prosper and I wish you a happy and prosperous month ahead.

Best wishes


President’s Report June 2018

President’s Report June 2018

Dear Members

On 26th May I attended the Community Gardens Workshop held at Ryde TAFE in Sydney.

It was well attended and convened by Chris Poulton. A big thank you to Costa Georgiadis who was the key speaker. Our members were keen to learn more about how important gardens and particularly healthy food gardens can be as a way of fostering a vibrant more cohesive community. Research work by the Botanic Gardens is useful in providing empirical evidence to support the Psychological benefits of Community Gardens.

I note the upcoming Barangarroo Project overview presented by Stuart Pittendrigh MAIH (Horticulturist of the year 2015), planned for Maitland with Convenor Tom Lantry FAIH , (Horticulturist of the Year 2017). This event will be run by the Hunter Region group on the 14th June. Members from surrounding regions should consider attending. There are many other Workshops and Events planned for other regions and I refer you to our excellent website to view these and make bookings.

The Queensland Garden Expo at Nambour is really worth a visit on 13 to 15 July.

Please also consider some really great international events that are coming up:

Singapore 18th to 21st July 2018 The International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA) World Congress in Conjunction with the Singapore Garden Festival and Jakarta 19th – 21st July 2018 The Green Urbanscape International Expo.

I can report that the Awards Night will be on the Gold Coast on October 27 and we are co-ordinating a combined Bus tour on the 27th October with Therapeutic Horticulture Australia (THA) who are meeting in the same area on 26th October.

Please assist the Councillors and Regional Convenors in their quest to locate worthy award recipients. The criteria and forms should be available within the next week.

Finally, I encourage members to send us any interesting articles and news items which can be included in our Newsletter.

Best Wishes,


President’s Report May 2018

President’s Report May 2018

Dear Members,

This time of the year sees the commencement of a busy time in the Institute Calendar. Over the past six weeks there have been many activities, most of which are the subject of more detailed reports within this newsletter.

Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the passing of Liz Smith FAIH, longstanding member, former National Treasurer and principal of Horticultural Training Pty Ltd. We extend our sincere sympathies to her family.

Secondly, I would like to advise members that Michael Casey MAIH, Registered Horticulturist 0106 has accepted the appointment to the position of Vice President. This is excellent news! Thank you Michael! The casual vacancy became available as a result of the resignation of Volker Mischker MAIH in Tasmania.

Over the past six weeks I have attended:

  • The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and AIH Executive Meeting in Melbourne in late March.
  • Attended the launch of the Upper West Side Precinct’s Roof top and Sky Gardens with Nic Rivett FAIH and Michael Casey MAIH. Nic and I addressed the gathering which was hosted by Costa and attended by the Acting Lord Mayor and Deputy State Treasurer.
  • On 7 April, I attended the Collector’s Plant Fair in Richmond in Sydney. Chris Poulton FAIH and his team did a great job staffing an AIH stand. Several new members joined up and as usual, AIH Sponsored this event as we have done for many years. It is becoming a very large event and is very well attended by growers and the public.
  • Two weeks ago, in mid April, I attended the Perth Garden Festival and have provided a synopsis of our activities later in this newsletter.

We will provide more detail in the near future, however it is likely that our annual awards night and gathering will be on the Gold Coast this year in late October.

Best wishes


President’s Report April 2018

President’s Report April 2018

Dear Members

By now you will have been contacted by our Website Manager, David, to provide you with new website login details. I am sure you will be happy with the improvements – but if you do encounter problems, don’t hesitate to contact the website manager or secretary.

In relation to workshops, there are an increasing number being scheduled by our conveners and they are being listed on the Events page of the Website. I also propose to upload the full 12 month calendar in an “at a glance“ consolidated format. The calendar includes regional group meetings and workshops – this will be updated regularly to include any new additions. Please also be aware that horticultural and garden show events around Australia, and even Asia, are included on the calendar. We hope to include other activities on this schedule as we become aware of them. These might be events run by other industry groups with which we have supportive arrangements. For example, groups representing horticultural therapists, designers, architects, landscapers, nu series, horticultural media and consulting arborists. Please refer to our calendar of events for more detail.

The Collectors’ Plant Fair, which we endorse and sponsor, will be held in Richmond, NSW, in early April. The Perth Garden Festival will be held in mid April.

I have just returned from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS). A wonderful event this year. The grounds were well presented, the weather great, and an increased number of displays and industry stands indicated a great success. I took the time to meet with some of our senior, and very active, members and enjoyed the displays provided by many of the horticulture and design students.

Wayne Van Balen MAIH and Nicholas Rivett FAIH at Christian Jenkins garden display at MIFGS.

I’m appreciative of our busy and talented National Council, who met in early March. The Executive also met while we were in Melbourne with much work done on our annual budget, Registered Horticulturist strategies and bilateral arrangements both with other Australian organisations and overseas. It was a great pleasure to meet with the CEO of Fitzpatricks, Annette Baxter, accompanied by Daniel Holmes, who is known to many of us. They have a very positive approach to their relationship with AIH going forward and they have proposed to provide quality information to our members about insurance issues on a regular basis.

Next Wednesday evening, I look forward to accompanying Nic Rivett and Michael Casey at the official opening of the Upper West Side Precinct in Melbourne, which is Australia’s largest residential rooftop green space. This was the winner of the AIH’s inaugural Urban GreenSpace Award in 2017.

Kind regards,


President’s Report March 2018

President’s Report March 2018

Dear Members,

February has been a hot and busy month for myself and no doubt many of you as you commence the working year in earnest.

The National Council will have its first official meeting on 8 March. In the interim, Kim and I have been in discussions with our preferred insurers who have renewed their commitment to our organisation in providing economical and discounted products. We look forward to a productive ongoing relationship with Fitzpatrick and Co. for the benefit of all members. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or our Secretary, Mr Kim Morris for a referral to the appropriate operative.

Thanks also to Kim Morris for his liaison with David Thompson, our website manager who has also been refining our database and will, within the next couple of weeks be launching our upgraded website. This is very exciting and David is gaining great pace with his improvements and innovations.

As many of you are already aware, your institute has been involved at the Consortia level in the PlantSure project which is a scheme to eventually reduce the sale of ornamental weeds. On 23 February, an important stakeholder meeting was held at Parramatta to investigate the concepts and address questions critical to the selection of a successful mechanism and scheme. The article reprinted in this report sets out a little more detail. It is important to note that once instrumental, this scheme could be considered for national application.

The Plant Collector’s Fair, sponsored by our institute, will be held in Sydney in April. This is a great chance for members to meet and welcome new members and students. In addition, the annual Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS) will be held in March. Another great opportunity for members to gather, liaise and encourage new designs and ideas and potential new members.

Nic Rivett FAIH and our Melbourne convener, Michael Casey, will be having meetings in Melbourne in the next couple of weeks relating to our Urban GreenScape award winners Far East Consortium (FEC). I am aware that several of our regional groups are meeting to refine workshop topics for the year and I look forward to reporting those very promptly on our website.

I would also be very pleased to hear from individual members who have workshop ideas or requirements.

Kind regards


President’s Report February 2018

President’s Report February 2018

Dear Members

Happy New Year! And may it be a rewarding year professionally and in your businesses.

Our secretary, Kim Morris has been working hard with David Thompson, our website coordinator to build upon and streamline our new database and website. The objective is that members will be able to enjoy improved access to required information. In addition, improved profiling of our members will be a useful marketing tool.

This week I hope to complete our annual programme of events, member gatherings and workshops. Our Regional Conveners are working hard to finalise topics, speakers and venues. The calendar will be published on the website.

Further to our discussions at our Annual Awards weekend, we have approximately 17 regions supported by Regional  Conveners. Our objective is to run between 2 and 5 official CPD workshops per region, depending on the size of the region over the next 12 months. This will be in addition to regular member and guest gatherings being held in some areas such as Sydney, Newcastle, Coffs Harbour and Canberra. If you are in an area where you would like to see a structured regional co-ordination established, please let me or the Secretary know.

Some of the thoughts and opinions expressed at our meetings included: greater enhancement of the Registered
Horticulturist programme;

  • further develop our alliances;
  • greater networking opportunities;
  • greater Social Media accessibility;
  • focus on strategic and succession planning; and
  • enhanced marketing of the benefit of using members to the public and industry.

Members should not forget one of the main benefits of membership of the Australian Institute of Horticulture: It is a stamp of responsible professionalism. Members are responsible amongst their peers and to the code of ethics and in my mind this always instills client confidence and adds worthy value. Other benefits such as networking, awards for student and member excellence, communications and continuing professional development are just some of the other reasons why we are members.

I am just back from a weekend on the Gold Coast where we had a wonderful gathering of Gold Coast members and guests. A big thank you to Councillor Patrick Renault MAIH, Mr John Mason FAIH and Sid Dyer for organising the event at the Nerang Community Gardens, and also to John and Leonie Mason for sponsoring the event and holding a wonderful barbecue lunch at their home in Worongary.

Sid is a life member of Irrigation Australia and one of the founders of the Community Gardens. Sid and his associate, Neil Ross, kindly offered the gardens as a venue for workshops and meetings if and when it suits our purposes. I was excited to be at the inception of this new group and we will be able to welcome some new members as a result.

Kind regards Wayne