Rhododendron forests, one of the book’s featured sites. Image/ Daniel Austin

Industry Memberships See New Book Reach Fruition

By Daniel Austin MAIH RH Images/ Daniel Austin

Author and lecturer Dan Austin. Image/ Daniel Austin

Memberships with multiple industry bodies are one of the most valuable things a person can do to foster a successful career, and a membership with the Australian Institute of Horticulture has been the latest of mine.

I thought the Institute’s HortInsights publication would be a great way to introduce myself and connect with new faces across Australia. My name is Dan Austin and I am a lecturer in horticulture at TAFESA’s Urrbrae Campus in South Australia, among a few other roles.

Though the membership with AIH is my latest, my first membership was with a group known as the International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS). It was a membership that, many moons ago, gave me the opportunity to travel to South Africa to study the country’s nursery industry through a scholarship. I could not have imagined the impact the experience would have on my career and I credit IPPS as the trigger for what has become a life of working on horticultural projects across the globe.

If there is one piece of advice, I drill in to my students ad nauseum, it is the value of industry memberships.

In the years since that initial study tour, industry memberships have provided me with opportunities to work in horticulture in far flung places from the tropical Solomon Islands to arid Israel and other countries in between. As a result, I am happy to be able to share a new book for plant lovers everywhere – Off The Garden Path: Green Wonders Of The World.

Off the Garden Path cover. Image/ Daniel Austin

Off The Garden Path was initially planned as a celebration of botanical photography to share some of the remarkable horticultural enterprises I have been fortunate enough to be involved with around the world, in the hope of inspiring gardeners and travellers alike. However, it soon became a book for anyone with an interest in the wonders of our planet.

Over the years since its conception, the project has become an international collaboration with numerous centres of horticultural excellence abroad offering assistance. From the Bogor Botanic Gardens in Indonesia to the Jerusalem Botanic Gardens in Israel, even Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay have played a significant part in the text reaching fruition.

A non-fiction resource, Off The Garden Path: Green Wonders Of The World is full of botanical factoids. As an example – did you know that high in the Himalayas, Nepali beekeepers produce a potent psychoactive honey used recreationally and in traditional medicine by ensuring their bees feed only on poisonous rhododendron flowers?

From exploring the weird and wonderful world of parasitic plants to delving into the lives of plants that survive through symbiosis and mutualism, the content is diverse.

 

Rafflesia pricei a parasitic plant endemic to Borneo. Image/ Daniel Austin

Living root bridges in Northeast India another of the book’s featured sites. Image/ Daniel Austin

As the title suggests the text takes readers off the beaten track to locations less travelled, from remote tribal villages in Tanzania, and floating gardens in Myanmar to enormous centre pivot farms in the deserts of Jordan. The sites featured aren’t your average gardens and the people are not your average gardeners in the publication, which offers a chance to travel vicariously in a world of restrictions and inspiration for when things open up again.

A matt form of the book is available through a plethora of online distributors, but premium gloss copies can also be ordered through sales@beyond-green-australia.com.au. It is a great addition for the green thumb or travel bug in your life.

The book has been well-received and I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Also, keep an eye out next year for the second book in the series Off the Garden Path: Green Wonders of Australia.

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