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Vale Kim Morris FAIH

Vale Kim Morris FAIH


Dear members

It is with great sadness that I wish to inform you of the passing of Kim Morris FAIH this morning.

Kim was a Past President and Fellow of the institute and has been the backbone of the Australian Institute of Horticulture (AIH) since 2006 where he held the position of National Treasurer and then National President from 2008 to 2012. Most recently Kim held the role of National Secretary for the past 5 years and demonstrated his unwavering commitment to AIH by supporting me directly until a suitable candidate could take his place. Remarkably he’s also been an AIH member for 30 plus years.

Kim has achieved great success over an extended period and his contribution to AIH and the industry has been simply invaluable. Kim was the driving force behind the creation of the Registered Horticulturist program, he was responsible for the negotiation and signing of the first memorandum with Singapore National Parks Board and campaigned for the return of the AIH Annual National Awards dinner, to name just a few of his achievements during his time in various capacities with AIH.

I had spoken to Kim many times over the last few months and despite his declining health, he was adamant that AIH matters were addressed promptly and that ongoing assistance to myself and the other National Councillors was fundamental to continuing the foundational hard work and success Kim and others had established.

It was an honour working alongside Kim and on behalf of myself and the National Council, we send our condolences to Kim’s immediate family and friends and sincerely hope that Kim’s legacy will continue to provide strength, energy and inspiration to all in our institute and the industry broadly.


Michael Casey
National President
Australian Institute of Horticulture

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

NGIA: Training and Education

NGIA: Training and Education

If you are brand new to the industry or have industry experience and want to upgrade your qualifications there are a number of options available for you.

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Training and education in Australia is aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). Information on the AQF is available from the AQF website

The Vocational Education and Training qualifications are designed to impart knowledge and training for job functions. Delivery at these levels is generally more practical or hands on. The following list gives an indication of qualifications and job roles;

  • Certificate II (AQF 2)is an entry level role which needs direct supervision
  • Certificate III (AQF 3) is a trade level certificate and needs broad supervision/direction
  • Certificate IV (AQF 4) is for team leader/ nursery floor supervisor
  • Diploma and Advanced Diploma (AQF 5 & 6) are for management level operations or technical roles.

The industries training currently comes under the AHC10 training package which apart from the nursery industry includes a wide range of agricultural, horticultural and conservation industries. The nursery industry has two training streams to which it is specifically aligned to; Production Nursery and Retail Nursery. These training streams are available in Certificate II to Diploma level qualifications;

  • Certificate II in Production Nursery AHC20710
  • Certificate III in Production Nursery AHC31110
  • Certificate IV in Production Nursery AHC40610
  • Diploma of Production Nursery Management AHC50810
  • Certificate II in Retail Nursery AHC20810
  • Certificate III in Retail Nursery AHC31210
  • Certificate IV in Retail Nursery AHC40710
  • Diploma of Retail Nursery Management AHC50910

It is also possible to complete these qualifications as part of an apprenticeship or traineeship.

Other horticulture courses are available which specialise in different areas of horticulture. These include; Arboriculture, Landscaping, Production Horticulture (Fruit, nut & vegetable farming), Parks and Gardens and a generalist Horticulture stream.

These courses may be useful in supplementing the industry specialist courses in Nursery Production and Retail Nursery.

Providers of these courses include the TAFEs as well as private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). For information on these courses including learning outcomes and contact details of which providers can deliver accredited courses please visit the website

Higher Education

Courses within the university sector are designed to prepare students for higher levels of management and technical specialisations.

Education within the university sector consists of the following levels:

  • Bachelor (AQF 7)
  • Graduate certificate, Graduate Diploma and Bachelor (Honours) (AQF 8)
  • Masters (AQF 9)
  • Doctorate (AQF10)

Students undertaking a bachelor’s degree study a broad range of coherent subjects which prepares them for a professional career in the industry. Bachelor’s degrees generally take 3-4 years to complete full time, although in some cases credit can be awarded for recognition of previous studies. Credit lessens the time it takes to complete the qualification, with a related diploma generally providing a years’ worth of credit.

An honours degree is completed after a bachelor’s degree in the same field and generally consists of an intensive research-based project. Honours degrees can be used as an entry to higher study such as a doctorate and are generally only open to students who have performed to a high standard in their bachelor’s degree.

Graduate Certificates and Diplomas take 6 months to a year to complete and are targeted course of study in a specific area. A bachelor’s degree may not be required for entry to a Graduate Certificate program with industry experience instead being taken into account. Both Graduate Certificates and Diplomas may be stand-alone or they may form part of an articulated course of study leading to a Master’s degree.

Masters degrees, either research or course based are higher degrees which prepare a student for the application of advanced knowledge in a range of contexts; professional practice, research or as a means to further study. Masters programs generally take 1-2 years to complete full time. In some cases, credit may be awarded, based on prior study. Generally, a bachelor’s degree is required for entry into a master’s course and in some cases, this must be in the same discipline area.

A doctorate is the highest academic qualification in the AQF and is available as either a research doctorate (generally a Doctor of Philosophy or PhD) or as a professional doctorate. Research is a core element of both streams with research doctorates requiring a significant and original contribution to knowledge and professional doctorates requiring a significant and original contribution to knowledge in a professional practice context. Entry to a doctoral program requires a bachelor with honour’s degree with high grades or a Master’s degree.

The number of universities which offer horticulture as a field of study is limited and in some cases, horticulture can only be studied as a component of a broader agricultural or science degree. Some universities which offer horticulture as a field of study are listed below.

Charles Sturt University

  • Bachelor of Horticulture

University of Melbourne

  • Master of Urban Horticulture

University of Queensland

  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Urban Horticulture or Horticulture major)

University of New England

  • Bachelor of Agriculture (Plant Production major)

University of Sydney

  • Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Horticulture specialisation)

Western Sydney University

  • Bachelor of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

University of Tasmania

  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Horticulture major)
The UK Perspective: The Impossible Expectations On Landscape Horticulturists

The UK Perspective: The Impossible Expectations On Landscape Horticulturists

This article was originally published on the Garden Co blog by James Scott MGSD and has been reprinted with permission. View the original article at


I watched a recent episode of The Apprentice with increasing exasperation – and almost switched off altogether. Very wise, those of you that generally avoid reality TV might be thinking – but my reaction was nothing to do with the ‘falseness’ of a reality TV format, it was all to do with the misleading image that was portrayed of our landscaping and horticultural industries.


As the programme format dictates, two teams of young business people were set a task by Lord Sugar.  The teams were briefed to set up their own urban gardening businesses, carrying out commercial and domestic jobs across London.  On day one, both teams visited corporate clients to pitch a plan and secure a price for a large rooftop renovation.  On day two, the work was carried out and client feedback was given.  The outcomes were not good. One client was presented with a badly-painted bench and various plants randomly scattered about the space (she did not pay up).  Overall, the picture was one of shoddy work and despite our heritage as a nation of garden lovers and years of popular TV gardening programmes, it seems that we still have difficulty portraying the services offered and the skills deployed by those working in landscape and horticulture industries accurately and positively.


Why does this matter?  In my opinion, this recent example highlighted two key issues:


– Issue 1 – how can we expect to attract people into landscape and horticulture roles if the work is so misunderstood and undervalued?  With Brexit on the horizon combined with an ageing workforce, employers and managers across landscaping and horticulture are faced with an ever-more challenging ‘war for talent’ and urgent skills shortages.


– Issue 2 – how can we expect our clients to appreciate the ‘value-add’ in our services, if it is seen as such low-skilled, low-budget, quick turnaround ‘stuff’?  The Apprentice contestants were actually on a hiding to nothing – it was completely unrealistic of the producers to expect them to do justice to the roof garden projects with the tiny budget allocated and a few hours to carry out the works. I am sure I would have been unsuccessful too in their shoes!


In the real world, there is some good news with regard to attracting new talent to the industry. I know in my role as MD of The Garden Company that there are a number of hugely talented young people already enjoying early success.  Last week, I enjoyed attending Pro Landscaper’s presentation of awards to the Next Generation 2018: 30 under 30.  This is a wonderful initiative that seeks to recognise and reward the achievements every year of 30 inspiring young people in our industry.  The youngest winner this year was only 21 and the range of roles encompassed by the group was inspiring in itself, including landscapers, garden designers, maintenance services, landscape architects, arborists and suppliers specialising in technical products.


It’s great that Pro Landscaper is driving this forward, and of course there are other initiatives that share the goal of inspiring more young people – I would like to give special mention to BALI’s Golandscape and the Landscape Institute’s #ChooseLandscape career campaigns, along with the Green Plan It challenge for schools led by the RHS.


However, with regard to the TV programme makers, the media and the wider public’s perception of what we do and how we do it: there seems to be very long way to go to get people ‘on side’.  Of course, every time we talk to prospective clients we need to demonstrate our value and results, and help people to appreciate the range of disciplines that we draw on – design, hardscaping, softscaping, horticulture, planning regulations …. I could go on!  I have always seen this as part of the ‘day job’ – but I would love to think that it could be made easier in future through a wider understanding of our services.


So … What else can we each start doing (or do more of) in our ‘day jobs’ to address both the skills shortages and the general lack of insight into our services?


  • Education, education, education – We need to keep shouting out about how rewarding it is to have a career in landscape design, construction and horticulture… to schools, colleges and anyone with an influence on shaping young peoples’ career choices and aspirations. By helping to reassure doubtful parents, teaching staff and careers advisers then we can show school-age children what the industry is really all about in the 21st century – and its advantages over other jobs and career paths that may be in decline. I always to try to respond helpfully to any requests for information/careers guidance etc from education providers,  but it strikes me that I could also ‘push’ for the opportunity to do so.
  • Create opportunities for work placements/internships. A common complaint within British businesses is that colleges and universities do not prepare their graduates for the real world. Our industry is no exception – new job starters need to be ready to work in challenging situations, for discerning clients, applying the skills and knowledge that employers reasonably expect them to have. A vital ingredient here is the availability of work placements and internship. We are delighted to offer 2-3 students a paid work placement every summer at The Garden Company and we are just starting to explore design placements as well as more operational site-based roles.
  • Promote apprenticeships. Real apprentices (unlike Lord Sugar’s candidates!) carry out real jobs while they study, learn and acquire relevant skills and knowledge. Many employers use apprenticeships to upskill existing workers as well as providing training for new employees. At the Garden Company we have benefited greatly in the last few years from ‘growing our own’ team members and team leaders through our own apprenticeship programme.  We aim to do a lot more of this going forward.


In summary, the recent Apprentice episode illustrated a couple of very real business challenges for providers of landscape and horticultural services (although not the ones that the programme-makers intended). We are lucky to have various trade associations, societies and others working hard on our behalf to address both the ‘war for talent’ and our industry’s professional reputation.  Those of us that are ‘oldies’ with years of experience of fighting these two familiar battles must continue to play our role – I hope this blog post has prompted some ideas about where we can build on our efforts … your thoughts and comments, of course, are very welcome.

TED: A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA

TED: A Guerilla Gardener in South Central LA

“I live in South Central. This is South Central: liquor stores, fast food, vacant lots.

So the city planners, they get together and they figure they’re going to change the name South Central to make it represent something else, so they change it to South Los Angeles, like this is going to fix what’s really going wrong in the city. This is South Los Angeles. (Laughter) Liquor stores, fast food, vacant lots.

Just like 26.5 million other Americans, I live in a food desert, South Central Los Angeles, home of the drive-thru and the drive-by. Funny thing is, the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys. People are dying from curable diseases in South Central Los Angeles. For instance, the obesity rate in my neighborhood is five times higher than, say, Beverly Hills, which is probably eight, 10 miles away.

I got tired of seeing this happening. And I was wondering, how would you feel if you had no access to healthy food, if every time you walk out your door you see the ill effects that the present food system has on your neighborhood? I see wheelchairs bought and sold like used cars. I see dialysis centers popping up like Starbucks. And I figured, this has to stop. So I figured that the problem is the solution. Food is the problem and food is the solution. Plus I got tired of driving 45 minutes round trip to get an apple that wasn’t impregnated with pesticides.

So what I did, I planted a food forest in front of my house. It was on a strip of land that we call a parkway. It’s 150 feet by 10 feet. Thing is, it’s owned by the city. But you have to maintain it. So I’m like, “Cool. I can do whatever the hell I want, since it’s my responsibility and I gotta maintain it.” And this is how I decided to maintain it…”


National Award Judges Declare Boardwalk a Winner

National Award Judges Declare Boardwalk a Winner

Media Release

30 November 2018

Council’s Park Road boardwalk upgrade has been hailed a “shining example of what’s possible when industry, community and professionals collaborate on a shared vision for public benefit”.

Michael Casey, President of the Australian Institute of Horticulture (AIH), added that the project ticked all of the judges’ boxes to take out this year’s AIH Regional Greenspace Award.

“The judging committee all agreed that a project of this calibre, with the involvement of industries and communities working together to green our built environment, echoed why we had introduced these Green Space Awards,” he said.

Mr Casey presented Mayor Tony Wellington with the award at the boardwalk’s official opening today.

Awarded under the AIH annual awards program, the national gong recognised Council’s efforts to retain existing vegetation by designing the new boardwalk around it.

“The project comprehensively covered all the criteria of the Australian Institute of Horticulture’s Regional Greenspace Award,” Mr Casey said.

AIH presents awards in recognition of achievement of excellence in professional horticultural practice.

Council designed the boardwalk upgrade with a community reference group, made up of residents, plus environmental, business and tourism representatives.

“It was always Council’s intention to retain all the trees between Little Cove and the National Park,” the Mayor said. “Peregian-based architect Grant Calder managed to achieve this by incorporating many of the trees into the actual design. Of course quite a few are koala food trees.”

He said it took significant planning to overcome numerous engineering and geo-technical constraints, preserve the environment and ensure the new design preserved visual amenity from the beach.

“The end result is a bigger and better boardwalk, which meets the needs of a wider variety of users. Many millions of people will walk the new boardwalk during its lifetime. This is a real signature project for Noosa and we’re thrilled to see it recognised with this respected national award.”


Media enquiries: Heather Williams. Phone 0416 292 665.


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Media Release AIH Awards 2018: Former Governor General Wins Top Horticulture Award

Media Release AIH Awards 2018: Former Governor General Wins Top Horticulture Award

Australia’s 24th Governor General Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery has been chosen as the winner of the prestigious Silver Gum Award at the 58th Australian Institute of Horticulture (AIH) Awards at the Mercure Gold Coast Resort on Saturday October 27.

General Jeffery’s AIH Silver Gum Award for his Post-Regal work as Australia’s first ever National Advocate for Soil Health joined other skilled horticultural practitioners being acknowledged and rewarded for their work in the profession. Retiring Institute President of four years Wayne van Balen said the quality of project work, high powered skills and the Institute’s Registered Horticulturist accreditation program played a defining role in horticultural practices by members over recent years.

Well known and respected garden educator Annette McFarlane won the top Golden Wattle Award. Acclaimed arborist Jan Allen was the Institute’s Choice of Horticulturist of the Year, Sonny Morrison from Kurri TAFE NSW the Student of the Year.  Three high powered AIH Green Space Awards to Noosa, Western Australia and Australia’s biggest Breathing Wall in Melbourne were the standouts of the night’s Awards.

Michael Casey of MJC Horticulture  (Melb.) was elected new National President of the Institute.


Contact Michael Casey 0411 520 796

Kim Morris 0409 59 11 33

NGIA: Blockchain Technology: How to Unblock Your Supply Chain

NGIA: Blockchain Technology: How to Unblock Your Supply Chain

By Gabrielle Stannus, Nursery & Garden Industry Australia

By now, most of you have probably already heard about Bitcoin. This so-called ‘electronic cash’ is now just one of many cryptocurrencies floating on the market. Using blockchain technology, this digital money can be sent from user-to-user on a peer-to-peer (p2p) network without the need for intermediaries such as a central bank. Blockchain technology is now also being taken by businesses seeking to improve supply chain processes at all points from production to consumption. The potential applications of this technology should interest growers and retailers alike.

What is a blockchain?

Blockchains are a form of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in which transactions are recorded in a shared ledger with stored information time-stamped. Each entity has its own copy of the ledger. When a new transaction is made, a new record (or block) is added to the blockchain, and is verified by all the other entities. This provides transparency within the network and allows for secure and real-time interactions between businesses. Transactions on a blockchain can only proceed when all the entities involved agree to the transaction taking place. Each “block” is encrypted so it cannot be deleted, reversed or edited. The distributed ledger exists on multiple computers, often referred to as nodes. In commercial applications, these nodes remain within a private network, accessible only by permitted users, unlike the less regulated cryptocurrencies.


Credit: World Economic Forum


David Thompson, Communications Manager with the Australian Institute of Horticulture, says blockchain technology may soon provide multiple benefits to the nursery and garden industry.


David says: “The value of a horticultural product relates significantly to its provenance and the ability to verify claims of heritage, quality, cleanliness and true to type. If you think of a supply chain as being about aiming to increase the relative value of a product as it goes from production through to retailing, then you understand also how important it is to be able to check those claims about what is done or not done at each level of the supply chain. Did the product really come from the farm it claims? Was its chemical treatment really at that dosage?”

“What blockchain could potentially enable is an addition to the QR code-style scanning technologies where it creates a transparent, clearly-provable set of records throughout the supply chain that a buyer can use to create confidence and therefore maintain the value in the supplier and in the system” adds David.


For growers seeking to reduce their incidence of pest and disease in their nurseries, blockchain technology may be part of the biosecurity solution. “Let’s imagine you are paying good money for a product that is claimed to be virus-free, disease-free stock on which rests your ability to grow a future crop worth millions of dollars. How would you have faith that it is true what you are being told? How do you rely on the validity of the supply chain records?” David asks.

David says blockchain technology may provide the means of maintaining those attributes of cleanliness, superb quality backed by clean production, good record-keeping and variety innovation that asks customers to value a good product of known origins. This technology could potentially also help to trace the source of pest and disease outbreaks more quickly, thus improving response rates.

Plant Breeder Rights

Blockchain technology may also provide better protection of Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) where the value of a variety is controlled by the limit on its production and propagation. “To enforce and maintain that value, there’s an opportunity to use something like blockchain to say that we can categorically prove that this plant has been produced in accordance with PBR, and here is the ledger that shows proof of this particular plant being true to PBR production and variety type” says David.

Other benefits

In addition to plant transactions, other potential horticultural applications include the transfer of import and export certificates, more inclusive development by enabling smaller businesses to access better market and better payments of financing possibilities, and better automation of business processes (e.g. via smart contracts)2. When used in conjunction with QR code-scanning technologies, blockchain technology may even help retailers gain a better understanding of changing consumer preferences helping them to improve their marketing.

Ready for action?

Blockchain technology is still in its infancy in Australia. Whilst agribusiness is getting in on the act, with early players including Rabobank and KPMG Australia, few blockchain applications have gone beyond the ‘Proof of Concept’ phase. But it is coming soon. AgriDigital claim to have completed the world’s first sale of wheat on a blockchain by a farmer to a buyer in 20161. So get online now and familiarise yourself with this supply chain innovation. Your business may just thank you for it.



1. Lisk 2018, ‘What is Blockchain?’, viewed 25 October 2018,
2. Ge, L, Brewster, C, Spek, J, Smeenk, A & Top, J 2017, Blockchain for Agriculture and Food: Findings from the pilot study, Wanginen Economic Research, Wanginen, December 2017, viewed 25 October 2018,
Further reading
Australian Digital Commerce Association:
Blockchain Association of Australia:
Passkit: (4 minute video explaining what blockchain technology is)
Presentation by Emma Weston, CEO AgriDigital, to Hort Connections conference, 17 May 2017, ‘Blockchain: What is it and what can it do for fresh produce’:

Greenwalls and Rooftops (Including Community and Food Usage Visit)

Greenwalls and Rooftops (Including Community and Food Usage Visit)

Mark Paul MAIH RH, one of Australia’s leading Greenwall experts took us on a guided tour of some iconic greenwalls in Sydney. Visiting the Calyx in the Botanic Gardens, Inner City sites and the Broadway greenwall.

Sincere thanks to organiser Chris Poulton MAIH RH, Mark Paul MAIH RH and all members and guests that came and enjoyed a truly fabulous event.


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at Central Park Sydney.


Green wall display at the Royal Botanic Gardens.


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at Central Park Sydney.


The beautiful display that is The Calyx – one of the finest vertical plantings you will ever see.


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at The Calyx.


Plants with bite!


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.


The other Costa.


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.


Green roof


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at Central Park Sydney.


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at The Calyx.


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at The Calyx.


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.


Image credit David Ting MAIH RH 2018 — at The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney.