The Founding Board


Australian Garden Council launch at Parliament House, Canberra - 25 November 2015

David Moad
Assoc Dip Hort (Burnley), Dip Bus (FM)
Director / Treasurer

Born into a family of passionate gardeners and designers, David fell in love with orchids at the age of ten, then moved on to propagating plants to sell at the family business. After completing an Associate Diploma in Horticulture at Burnley, he began a thirty year career in retail horticulture, including stints in garden centres in Ireland and New Zealand. Managing the garden division at Rivers of Yarrambat allows David to indulge his love of plants and a passion for customer service. He has also gained a Diploma in Business Frontline Management.

Rivers began as Plenty River Nurseries in 1981 and has established a reputation as a leading destination garden centre. Now a multi faceted retail & leisure business, it is run by the second generation of the Moad family. Over its thirty seven year history, Rivers has gone through many stages of evolution and is now known as Rivers of Yarrambat. The garden centre features a restaurant style café, complemented by a health & wellbeing centre, personal training gyms and a hair & beauty studio. 

David enjoys the challenges of retail and the constant evolution of our dynamic industry. He travels widely to gain knowledge and insight into how overseas operators are developing their businesses to keep pace with their changing markets.

Graham Ross AM VMM
MAIH RH, Dip Ed (Teach), Dip Hort, Dip Park Admin. CEO Ross Garden Tours International (1980) & GRHC Garden Clinic (1978)
Chairman & Founder Australian Garden Council 2015

Graham has worked as a nurseryman, arborist, greenkeeper, seedsman, head gardener & parks superintendent in local government, and Head of Division of Horticulture NSW TAFE, Principal Ryde School of Horticulture (Ret).


He served 11 years as Honorary Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, appointed by NSW Gov. Rear Admiral Sir David Martin. Graham is only the fifth Australian to receive the Gold Veitch Memorial Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society (UK) since its inception in 1870. He is the only person in the Southern Hemisphere to be awarded an Honorary Fellow of Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Guild London. He was awarded the Electronic Laurel, Radio Laurel and Gold Laurel & Hall of Fame - Australian Horticultural Media Association. Award of Excellence - Australian Institute of Horticulture, Award of Excellence and Award of Merit also Allan Seale Award - Nursery & Garden Industry NSW, Award of Merit - Nursery & Garden Industry Australia.


He is a Member of the Australian Institute of Botanical Science Advisory Council based at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, and a member of the Advisory Committer 2023 for National Skills Week.


Graham has been a national broadcaster with NINE Radio 2GB since 1980 with The Garden Clinic Show, national television garden presenter with Channel 7 since 1980 and 30 years with Better Homes & Gardens TV. Host of Great Gardens of the World TV series.


Author of five books on gardening and horticulture in Australia and co-founder of The Garden Clinic.

Kent Ross 
Dip Travel (Ops)

Kent is a business management and marketing specialist. His skill set includes accounting and finance, human resources, advertising, marketing, travel operations and media buying. Kent established a division of Ross Garden Tours in London 2006-2014.

Kent is a professional football (soccer) referee. He also has extensive computer skills especially related to publishing. He is the publisher of the Garden Clinic Journal Magazine. Kent has travelled the world extensively all his life throughout Europe, North America, China and Australia.

  • Referee, Football Association of England.
  • Managing Director, Graham Ross Horticultural Consultants Pty Ltd
  • Managing Director and Licensee, Ross Garden Tours International Pty Ltd
  • Founder and Managing Director, Kent Ross Media Pty Ltd
  • Diploma in Tourism Management, TAFE NSW

John Mason
Dip. Hort. (Burnley), SupnCert (Parks), FAIH (Aus), FIH (UK), FPLA Principal ACS Distance Education
Principal ACS Distance Education 

John Mason graduated with a diploma from Burnley Horticultural College in 1971. Worked variously as gardener, landscaper, nurseryman, horticultural consultant, community playground designer, lecturer; and municipal parks superintendent. Editor/principal writer for 4 national garden magazines; author of 200 books & ebooks. Organised garden pavilion for Royal Agricultural Show in Melbourne 5 years); Principal ACS Distance Education since 1979 – developed 800+ online courses (200 horticulture – also agriculture, psychology, business, environment, tourism, health). E book publisher. Former state president Australian Institute of Horticulture, international president International Approval and Registration Centre (IARC).

John Daly
Assoc. Dip. Rural Tech (Horticulture),  Grad.Dip Ldscp Arch.
Director, eCo-CONNECT

John has more than 40 years of experience as a specialist horticulturist, designing and developing soil medium, indoor environments, green roofs and walls across Australia, Singapore and Qatar.  Continued and quite dedicated research into a board range of specialist horticultural issues has ensured John remains at the very peak of his professional network.  Long term responsibility for the capital and maintenance work on nearly 100 parks and gardens demonstrates his project management abilities.  His radio and television experience clearly show he can communicate well and is sought after for his opinions.

Colin Barlow
B.Ed., ADTrg&Dvt, A.Dip App.Sci (Hort)
Horticulturist / Landscape Designer / Media Horticulturist

Employment Experiences: Colin Barlow is a horticulturist, landscape designer, tour guide, teacher and garden writer.   

Colin originally trained as an apprentice horticulturist in England. After completing his studies in the UK he became a Parks Supervisor before immigrating to Australia and working as a Parks Technical Officer and 2IC to the Manager of Parks. Colin furthered his studies in Australia by completing an Associate Diploma in Horticulture and a teaching degree.  He worked as Landscape Coordinator and lecturer at Challenger Institute of Technology for over 17 years.  

Colin is the Managing Director of his own landscape design and construction company, Gardens from Eden.  Colin hosts a weekly television gardening segment on ‘Home in WA’ with Channel 7 Perth, is the gardening writer and the local gardening expert on 98.5 Sonshine FM radio.  Colin has experience leading gardening tours through Europe and Western Australia for Ross Garden Tours and others.

Colin is a member of the following horticultural organisations AILDM, MAIH, RHS, HMAA, LIAWA and the AGHS

Heath Okely
Bachelor Business, Marketing & Sports Management | Edith Cowan University

Having started in an advertising agency straight out of graduating from Edith Cowan University in Perth, before jetting off to play cricket in the UK for 2 years, Heath spent 8 years in the diverse world of aviation, before recapturing his love of marketing at Richgro. With little gardening experience, he discovered the wonderful world of plants in the past 6 years as National Marketing Manager for Richgro Garden Products. Heath believes unique opportunity exists now in this industry to capture a whole new audience and bring young people into gardening. He brings a vast knowledge of the retail gardening market, overseas trends and a love of the people within the industry. 

"When I saw the people who are representing the AGC I wanted to be able to contribute to the cause, and hopefully can bring my enthusiasm and skills to the council".

In my spare time he coaches his two eldest boys in soccer as well as being the junior co-ordinator of the soccer club and trying to play in the over 35’s. He also enjoy golf, riding and going fishing in my spare time with his 3 boys.

Trevor Nottle
Dip. T., Dip. T. o D., Bach. Spec. Ed.,   Master of Landscape Architecture, PhD candidate

Trevor is a garden historian and heritage consultant with commissions and project experience in Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, California, Greece and Italy. He operates a solo consultancy for private garden owners. Trevor is also an internationally distributed author of 17 gardening books related to the above areas of expertise and have been contracted by publishing houses in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. 


From 1980 to 1990 he was the Education Manager (Principal) of the School for Environment, Conservation & Horticulture for TAFE SA during which time he developed extensive industry and inter-governmental networks and working relationships, in particular those concerning educational training packages, national standards, program auditing and evaluation, and the implementation of new national training packages for the emerging water industry, conservation and land management, pest and weed control, and new Diploma courses in garden design that were sold to international students. This qualification was articulated with the Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture at the University of Adelaide. His final initiative while at TAFE SA was as a Senior Project Manager tasked with developing new higher level skills qualifications for horticulture that would specialised skills areas at post- Diploma levels that would meet the needs of industry and institutions such as botanic gardens. During this appointment Trevor served on a committee led by Prof. Ian Blandy to develop a new commercial and domestic water-use policy and implementation strategy for the SA government. The outcome of the task force was the Water Industry Alliance, now headed up by Prof. Mike Young, Environment Institute, University of Adelaide.


Trevor is the Writer-in-Residence at the Carrick Hill Foundation. He has a regular gardening segment on Radio Italiana 531 (Adelaide).

Joel Lace
Cert Hort, Dip LandDes, B VisArts

A qualified Horticulturist and Landscape Designer, Joel has spent over a decade working in retail nurseries. Most of this time has been spent at the iconic Cleveland Nursery in the Adelaide Hills - a long standing and beloved boutique nursery. He also does private garden consults and has contributed articles to South Australian gardening publications.

Well known for his passion for plants and gardening he is a familiar face in the local community and loves making connections with people through their gardens.

Joel is an avid collector and propagator of rare and interesting plants with a goal to expand the range of species and cultivars available to home gardeners. You can see what Joel is up to here on Instagram

Tara Edmondson
Formal qualifications in Horticulture, Landscape Design, Australian land Conservation & Restoration, Tasmanian Native Plants, and Workplace Training & Assessment
Estate Gardens Manager, Government House Tasmania

Tara has worked in the industry for 24 years, spending her early career working for a local wholesale nursery followed by employment with the Hobart City Council’s Parks Department. Later, Tara joined the garden maintenance team at Government House Tasmania. Tara was the first female horticulturalist employee, subsequently is now the first female Estate Gardens Manager.

During the growing season Tara hosts a range of tailored garden tours for local garden clubs, schools and training horticulturalists. While the garden is resting over the cooler months, Tara hosts the Winter Series of Horticultural Lectures in the Government House Ballroom. Showcasing landscape design principals, permaculture, biophilic design, Tasmanian garden history, floristry and Tasmanian native plants, this series is offered free of charge to Horticultural students studying at TAFE Tasmania.

Tara enjoys overseeing the Estate community garden, growing seasonal produce for the School Food Matters Program. The garden is also utilised as an educational resource for visiting students.

Tara is a proud participant of the Fearless Women’s Festival: Presenting non-traditional career options to Tasmanian secondary school age students. She is also a committee member of Blooming Tasmania: a not-for-profit statewide organisation and a key player in the Tasmanian visitor market working alongside Discover Tasmania to promote its members and garden tourism.

She is regularly involved with public speaking, for a range of garden themed events, most recently as guest speaker for the national conference of the Australian Garden History Society.

Tara is also mum to two amazing daughters, Scarlett & Evie and wife to David, a musician who is incredibly supportive of her busy career.

You can see more of Tara’s passion for gardening on Instagram.

Finance Committee - Chair: David Moad, Kent Ross and Rohan Butler.
Marketing/ Communications - Chair: Kent Ross and Rohan Butler.
Governance -
Education - Chair: John Mason, Trevor Nottle, John Daly

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