1. Why did you decide to change careers?
I decided to change careers as I felt I had more of an affinity to plants than banking/IT systems and it felt more natural working with plants.
2. Why did you choose to study by distance?
I was working as a Business Analyst in the Banking/IT industry but had been interested in plants as a hobby from a young age. The flexibility of Distance education provided an opportunity to explore and prepare for a new career while still working full time.
3. Why did you make your decision to do your study with ACS College?
After researching my options, I chose to study with ACS as the course was delivered completely by distance. TAFE was another option but required obtaining an apprenticeship which meant a significant decrease in salary that would make it difficult to support my young family. As a mature age student the thought of mixing with 16 & 17 yo school leavers was not very appealing either.
Through my long-held interest in gardening I knew a lot about gardening before I started formal study and the ACS courses structure allowed me to custom-fit a qualification that complemented my background, experience and specific interest in garden design.
4. Why did you choose to study the Garden Design Certificate?
I was passionate about gardening but was useless with a wheelbarrow and shovel. I did however enjoy talking with people about their gardens - finding out how their gardens worked compared to how they wanted them to work then finding ways to make it all happen. Solving garden design challenges allows me to use my business analyst experience to find creative gardening solutions.
5. What aspects of your course did you enjoy or find most valuable, and why?
I enjoyed all my studies, particularly the Set Tasks and Assignments which were practical and in-depth. They required getting out and about in the neighbourhood, looking at gardens, landscaping features, talking to people, taking my digital camera, identifying plants over 350 plant varieties etc. Some of my favourite lessons were Native Trees, Landscape Construction and Cottage Garden design.
6. How would you compare this course to other courses you may have done in the past?
The main difference between my experience of studying at University and studying with ACS is that at University you're basically regurgitating text books. In contrast ACS assignments can be quite involved requiring hands-on application of principles, creative thinking and analysis.
7. Have you developed any areas of speciality?
Since a teenager I've had a particular passion for exotic fruit trees and enjoy eating and growing fruit that just isn't available from supermarkets. I further indulge and share this passion. through my part-time role as Fruit Tree Specialist at Gardenworld Nursery. My philosophy is don’t order anything that I haven’t grown successfully myself. I like to find different ways to inspire people including regular contributions to the Greenworld blog, providing fruit samples from my own trees for customers to see, feel, smell and taste. Displaying photographs of trees in their various stages of growth and fruiting also helps engage customers and invites them to look beyond what might be an unassuming young tree.
My successes include growing delicious subtropical fruit in Melbourne and my special interests are Heritage fruits – old fashioned, non hybrid fruits as well as Permaculture fruits.