Ornamentals are those plants which we grow for decorative or ornamental reasons. They include the annuals, bulbs and perennials which we plant to increase colour, and perhaps provide cut flowers to decorate our houses. Ornamentals also include garden plants which grow in the landscaping around buildings, and in parks; as well as container plants grown both inside and out.
 
A knowledge of these plants can help you better choose the cultivars you grow; to create affects you intend, and meet the level of attention you can afford to give in order to maintain those plants.
  • Home gardeners can save a lot of time and money if they make better choices about the plants they choose to grow
  • Professional landscapers, gardeners and horticulturists can achieve more for less expense; provide better service to their clients, and  have a happier and more supportive clientele, if they have a deeper level of plant knowledge.
A Range of "specialist courses" have been developed by ACS to build plant knowledge -to enable the graduate to become an "expert" with respect to the plant group they are studying.  Some of these courses are outline below.
 
Study these for Professional Development; or simply to indulge a passion for a particular type of plant.

AZALEAS & RHODODENDRONS  VHT106

Considered by many to be the very best plants a garden can offer, azaleas and rhododendrons are some of the most popular plants grown anywhere. The course shows how to grow them to perfection, and builds your knowledge of varieties available, to give you a long lasting display of colour in the garden. Soils, weed control, feeding, pest and disease control, watering, landscape design and lots more are included over eight lessons.

Fee Code: S2
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GROWING ANNUALS BHT115

Become an expert with annual flowers. Learn to identify and grow them, to produce a continual blaze of colour through the seasons. This eight lesson course reveals the secrets of what to grow, when to grow each variety, building up the soil, controlling pests and diseases, designing floral displays, and how to bring a display to the peak of perfection.
1. Introduction -Identification, resources
2. Culture -Planting, staking, mulching, watering, feeding, pruning etc
3. Propagation Of Annuals
4. Hydroponics -Types of systems, annuals for hydroponics.
5. Pests & Diseases -Diagnosis & control.
6. Irrigation -Alternative systems, selection and operation.
7. a/ Greenhouse Growing Of Annual Flowers.
b/ Flower Bed Layout
8. Harvest, Post Harvest & Quality.

Fee Code: S2
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BONSAI BHT320

Join the many who have learnt the ancient oriental art of bonsai through this practical and comprehensive course. Eight lessons cover the selection of plants suited to bonsai, understanding the history and classic shapes which form the basis of the art, techniques of planting, training, pruning, watering & feeding and ways of using bonsai both indoors and outdoors. You will create several bonsai of your own during the course and receive constructive criticism from your tutor, as they help you develop your own personal bonsai style and techniques.

Fee Code: S2
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CARNIVOROUS PLANTS VHT107

These fascinating plants provide entertainment and stimulation to the enthusiast. Nine lessons cover a range of cultivated carnivorous plants, paying particular attention to the Pitcher Plants (Nepenthes) and Sundews (Drosera).
1. Introduction -characteristics and classification, resources, etc.
2. Culture -soils, watering, pests, diseases.
3. Propagation And Container Growing
4. Pitchers (Nepenthes) and Sundews (Drosera)
5. Other Important Groups - (e.g. Bladderworts).
6. Lesser Grown Varieties of Carnivorous Plants
7. Australian Droseras
8. Growing and Using Carnivorous Plants -in containers, in the ground, as indoor plants.
9. Special Assignment

Fee Code: S2
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CACTI & SUCCULENTS VHT108

It's been said that people either love cacti or hate them. For lovers of cacti and succulents, this comprehensive eight lesson course is a must. The course studies major cacti & succulent groups and the differences in how to treat plants from each; in terms of soils, feeding, watering, pruning, pest control, planting procedures and more. It will stimulate your interest, and set you on the path to becoming an expert with these unique plants.

Fee Code: S2
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GROWING CAMELLIAS VHT109

Beautiful camellias require little attention, once established, and yet there is so much to know about them. This course is a wonderful way of learning about the different groups of camellias (eg. japonicas, sasanquas, reticulatas), their special characteristics, and their culture. Develops your understanding of soils, feeding, watering, pruning, planting methods, pest & disease control, propagation, & more. Improve your ability to identify different varieties (both common and uncommon), and how to use camellias to achieve desired landscape effects.

Fee Code: S2
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GROWING CARNATIONS VHT110

A serious course equally valuable to the home enthusiast or the commercial cut flower grower. You learn about growing quality carnations (planting, watering, pest & disease control, fertilizing), different ways of growing them (e.g. as row crops in soil, in hydroponics, in a greenhouse); and harvesting, post-harvest treatments, and quality control.

Fee Code: S2
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CONIFERS BHT230

Nine lessons provide you with a systematic understanding of the way conifers are classified, show you how to identify the differences between types, and develop your understanding of cultural requirements common to the whole group and differences in cultural techniques needed for specific types of conifers. Sections of this course look in detail at trees (e.g. Pines, Cedrus, Spruce), small shrubs, medium shrubs, native conifers, rarer varieties, landscaping, bonsai and other uses. An accredited Advanced Diploma module

Fee Code: S2
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FUCHSIAS  VHT112

Learn everything you ever wanted to know about fuchsias, from soil management & feeding to pruning and propagation. Learn how fuchsias are classified into several major groups, the characteristics of those groups & how/where to grow different types to achieve the best results.
There are eight lessons as follows:
1. Introduction
2. Culture -Planting, staking, mulching, watering, pest & disease, feeding, etc.
3. Propagation
4. The Most Commonly Grown Varieties.
5. Other Important Groups.
6. The Lesser Grown Varieties
7. Using Fuchsias -hanging baskets, topiary, container plants, tubs, espaliers, etc.
8. Special Assignment - On one selected plant or group.

Fee Code: S2
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GERANIUMS & PELARGONIUMS  VHT113

A wonderful course for enthusiasts. After an introductory section dealing with classification, physiology and information resources, you move on to develop an understanding of how to grow geraniums & pelargoniums to achieve best results. Throughout the course you make an in depth study of almost 50 different varieties, giving you a firm grasp on the subtle differences between the different cultivars in this group of plants.

Fee Code: S2
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GROWING IRIS  VHT111

This is a valuable course for anyone with a serious interest in irises either as a commercial grower or an enthusiastic home collector. You will gain an in-depth appreciation of the iris, how to grow them to achieve optimum results and the identification of different varieties of irises. Significant sections are included on landscaping with irises, hybridisation and propagation, harvest, post-harvest treatments, achieving and assessing quality, and exhibiting the flowers.

Fee Code: S2
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PERENNIALS  BHT316

Over eight lessons you will learn what perennials are, about the main types of perennial plants in fashion today, the cultural requirements of each (ie. feeding, watering, soil requirements, pruning, pest control), and how to utilize them to get the best out of them in the landscape. This is a course equally valuable to landscapers, nurserymen, cut flower growers and garden enthusiasts.

Fee Code: S2
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PROTEAS  BHT318

Learn where and how to grow one of the most stunning groups of plants in the world. With the right cultural techniques (e.g. proper drainage, soil treatments, irrigation methods, feeding, pruning, weed control), you can achieve top quality, large blooms in what might otherwise be considered poor horticultural conditions. There are eight lessons as follows:
1. Introduction
2. Culture -planting, staking, watering, feeding, pruning, soils etc.
3. Propagation
4. Common Grown Varieties -(eg. P. cynaroides, P. mellifera and P. repens).
5. Pests, Diseases and Problems - Protea botany, pest, diseases, drainage.
6. Other Proteas to Grow.
7. Using Proteas -landscaping plants, cut flower harvest and post harvest etc.
8. Special Assignment

Fee Code: S2
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Links


Suggested Reading
The following ebooks have been written by the principal and staff of ACS Distance Education.