Directors updates - August 2021

Australian Garden Council
August 25, 2021


Opening image: Nooroo, Mount Wilson


Graham Ross AM VMM - Founding Chair, NSW Director

AGC Career Booklets Launched

 Our two versions of the Careers Pathways in Gardening booklets are now being distributed to high schools across Australia. Careers advisors are our first point of contact but all teenagers can access digital copies here on the website directly. They’re pocket sized but packed with helpful guides to help those leaving primary and working through early years in secondary and the older teenagers in final years of high school. This great project was funded by the Department of Agricultural Water & the Environment (DAWE)’s Building Landcare Community and Capacity program that supported the AGC charity.

 Go to Gardening

 While the pandemic wreaks havoc across the country, especially in Eastern States, gardening continues to be the number ‘go to’ activity of citizens.

 Garden centres, remarkably kept open, in the main, following Minister Littleproud’s declaration, Easter 2020, to include them in his ‘Essential Services’ list, most states have maintained that outlook even in dire COVID situations. Obviously, gardening is extremely important to community mental health and wellbeing, but some state and territory governments are happier to pay for mental stress expenses and higher Medicare outcomes as a result later.

 The AGC has been approached by several state nursery groups to assist with submissions to government with most unsuccessful except in NSW.

 Where garden centres are open consumers are supporting their hobby, health and welfare to levels not ever seen before. Even when COVID hit in March 2020 sending vegetable and herb seeds and seedlings sales skyrocketing, these figures are again being eclipsed. Because of the time lag in production nurseries from seed/cutting propagation to saleable plant there is again limited stock of many plant varieties in garden centres. Our advice is order early and keep in contact with your local garden centre.

International Lockdown

 With all the BBM Awardees from 2019 are still waiting for global borders to open they remain within Australia readying for their work experience programs in the UK and France to begin. All have kept themselves busy with extra work experiences like Tyler Howard at the RBG Sydney and contract landscaping and Ash Walker, at Mayfield Gardens, Oberon, NSW and Welby Garden Centre, Mittagong, NSW.

 Welcome Back

 Great to welcome back Jimmy Turner, formally of RBG, Sydney, then Salt Lake City, Utah, and Texas, USA now back in Australia as CEO of City Parklands, Brisbane, QLD. International experience arriving in Brisbane’s horticultural team.

 Books galore for Spring

  • Backyard Bees - A complete guide for the beginner beekeeper or bee enthusiast’, Doug Purdie, Pub: Murdoch Books RRP $36.99
  • Yates Garden Guide 45th Edition, fully revised and updated. Angie Thomas, Pub: Harper Collins.
  • Australian Backyard Birdies’, Andy Geppert, Lothian
  • Soil - The incredible story of what keeps the earth, and us, healthy’. Matthew Evans, Pub: Murdoch Books, RRP $32.99
  • My Forests’, Travels with Trees, Janine Burke, Pub: Miegunyah Press.
  • Safer Gardens, Plant Flammability & Planning For Fire’, Lesley Corbett, Pub: Australian Scholarly Publishing

Narelle Smith - New South Wales Director

 During Landcare Week, the virtual 2021 National Landcare Conference and Awards were held. Delegates participated in 40 sessions over 4 conference streams: Sustainable Agriculture; Environment and Climate Change; Community Partnerships in Action; and Landcare Impact. Panel discussions included Landcare Farming, Bushfire Recovery and Resilience, Wellbeing and Mental health and Cultural Land Management. These informative sessions and videos are available as recordings under education resources until the end of September, or longer term by registration at 2021 National Landcare Conference and Awards.



Trevor Nottle - South Australian Director

 I have joined the Greening Adelaide Forum of the University of Adelaide led by Prof. Rob Hill. The forum includes 35 members from across the various research Schools of the University together with practitioners working in a broad range of groups engaged with greening groups, environmentalists, planners, and the horticulture industry in SA. Our task is to support the role of GREENING ADELAIDE management committee formed by the state government to push ahead with improving the livability of Adelaide and other cities and towns in SA. In essence, the Forum group will advise the management committee on the practicalities of species selection, species growth habits, species water needs and soil needs, establishment times, maintenance needs and so on. As an aside, we are requested to act in a manner that reflects the urgency of the situation regarding projected climate change in SA without alarming the general population!

In a more popular general activity, I am pleased to report that while some major events, such as the Royal Agriculture & Horticultural Society of SA Show has been cancelled and rescheduled for later in the year, other regional events involving horticulture are still going ahead - the ag and hort shows at Mt Barker, Uraidla, Strathalbyn and the Goyder-Burra garden festival, to mention a few. While the situation may change, the organisers are very active and putting in place a diversity of means by which Covid restrictions can be followed, and crowds effectively managed by the current rules. Those may change too but rural event’s organisers are determined to go ahead however possible. The positivity is amazing. These people are keenly aware of the pent-up desire to buy plants for their gardens, usually far from big garden centres and even further from specialist growers.


John Mason - Queensland Director

Community Gardening and the Sustainable Development Goals

 I have had several meetings with Community Gardens Australia representatives this year, in part discussing education, but more broadly community gardens.

 In early April this year at Nerang Community Gardens, I was able to bring together local Gold Coast Community Garden representatives to hear from Paul Newnham, Director of SG2 Advocacy Hub. Paul was engaged by the United Nations to promote and support the Sustainable Development Goals – 17 goals established by the UN, and endorsed by most governments in the world, including Australia. Paul is also one of three people engaged by the UN secretary general, who is organising a global sustainability conference later this year. Many of these sustainability goals do complement and cross over areas we work in. Paul was able to enlighten the community garden representatives as to how making reference to these goals can help them in boosting applications for support from governments at all levels.

 Australian Institute of Horticulture (AIH) awards night, Noosa 2021

Fellow director John Daly and I, attended the AIH Awards night in June, at Noosa Heads. The new careers booklets were distributed to around 70 industry people in attendance, along with the Mayors of Noosa and of Cairns. They were received very well, and highlighted and supported on several occasions by Costa Georgiadis in his role as M.C. John Daly and myself had a good conversation with Michael Casey, president of AIH, discussing the recently signed MOU and ways the AGC and AIH can work together.

Images below: (L) Michael Casey AIH president, with John Mason. (R) Costa Georgiadis onstage during the AIH presentation. 


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