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Budding horticulturists achieve top marks in The Chronicle Garden Competition

Awarded first place in The Chronicle Garden Competition’s commercial premises category, the beautiful spring garden within TAFE Queensland’s Toowoomba Horticulture Pavilion is alive with bees and bird life attracted to the flourishing flora.

TAFE Queensland Leading Vocational Horticulture Teacher, Matthew Simmonds together with his students, planted the seeds for the winning garden earlier this year.

“From planning in February, to the ongoing care to have it looking great for the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers, the students have been hands-on throughout the entire process,” Mr Simmonds said.

“Our students designed a propagation program that involved germinating seeds, propagating from cuttings and divisions, and installing the plants that they have grown.”

“They were also involved in the planning and implementation of a weekly maintenance program,” he added.

The garden had featured in previous Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers The Chronicle Garden Competitions and had been cultivated over the years by the experienced horticulture team, who were on hand to provide advice to students throughout the year.

“I’ve recently joined the team and we were very lucky to inherit the bones of a fantastic garden curated by our own veteran horticulturists Peter MacQueen and recently retired Mike Wells,” Mr Simmonds said.

Mr Simmonds recommends that avid gardeners who are keen to get the best out of their backyards this spring time, work from the ground up.

“It all starts with healthy soil. We can all have compost piles and worm farms,” he advised.

“This is free soil conditioner and nutrition for our soil, giving our plants a healthy and sustainable environment.”

TAFE Queensland offers Certificate II in Production Horticulture (AHC20320) and Certificate III Horticulture (AHC30716) courses at the Toowoomba campus.

Green thumbs can gain the skills for a variety of settings in the industry, from an introduction to viticulture, production horticulture and mushroom production, to plant identification and plant care, landscape management, propagating, pruning and fertilising skills required for working in nurseries or landscaping.

According to the Australian Government's Job Outlook service, the number of people working in gardens and nurseries grew over the past five years and is expected to continue to see stable growth in the future. Employers are looking for qualified candidates who are hardworking, reliable, and have a positive attitude.