Horticultural Resource Management

Learn how to manage a horticulture business or enterprise, such as a nursery, park, garden, orchard, farm, or landscape business.

Course Code: BHT203
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to manage a Horticulture business or enterprise

This might be a nursery, park, garden, orchard, farm, landscape business or anything else.

Good management involves effective control; and that only occurs when the manager is well informed hence the first task for any manager is to get to know the organization they are responsible for. Managers must appreciate their own role as being the person who controls what happens, NOT the person who actually does the work, unless the situation is a small operation. A manager who, for instance, spends a lot of time potting up, weeding plants or talking with customers may find that too little time is being spent managing the nursery, and that can result in a loss of control.

In a small operation the manager is often also half of the work force, so manual tasks must be part of his routine. A good manager however maintains a delicate balance between the various tasks he performs each day, and is able to delegate jobs to others in order to help maintain that balance.

Key functions of management are planning, organising leading and controlling the work/activities of the members of an organisation. A manager’s effectiveness, or lack of it, can be judged from the way in which they carry out these key functions.
  • Learn to identify and grow a wide range of different plants
  • Study the science that underpins all knowledge of horticulture
  • Enrol any time, study from anywhere, learn at your own pace
  • Interact one on one with highly qualified and experienced tutors
  • Access tutors whenever you need them -Our faculty of 10 horticulturists are accessible 5 days a week, 50 weeks of the year by phone or email

Lesson Structure

There are 7 lessons in this course:

  1. The Law and Horticulture
  2. Contract Law
  3. Employment Law
  4. PBL Financial Management
  5. Staff Performance Management
  6. Motivating Employees in Horticulture
  7. PBL Management Case Study

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss, examine and evaluate legal systems and laws that are relevant to the management of horticultural enterprises.
  • Examine, evaluate and debate the elements that comprise the making of valid contracts in the horticulture industry.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principal areas of employment legislation
  • Compare financial management requirements for a series of optional horticultural enterprises in two or more different countries.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the principal areas of performance management and staffing within a business environment.
  • Determine and apply an understanding of motivation theory to better manage staff performance within a horticultural business environment.

Want to Start a Garden Business?

There are two things that make a big difference to success in a horticultural business

1st Knowing your horticulture
2nd Having business skills 
A course is only ever going to provide part of what you need to get up to speed in both of these areas.
It should be the same at any college.
When you do a course, if it is a good course; you will lay a foundation. After you get the foundation, you should be able to build your skills and knowledge faster and more accurately through experience, networking, using resources (eg. books, magazines, videos etc). If you do not have a proper foundation (in horticulture, business or anything else), the things you read, see, and experience are more likely to be interpreted incorrectly... hence your abilities can develop in the wrong way or out of balance. ....and the net result may be that your business is not as successful.
What then do you need?
If you are going to be running a garden business, I suggest you do two courses...
1. One course to gain basic horticultural knowledge.
The minimum would be either Foundation Certificate in Horticulture https://www.acs.edu.au/courses/foundation-certificate-in-horticulture-410.aspx
2. A course in Business and management, such this course in Horticultural Resource Management

Do either one first, then move onto the second later.

Learn to Be a Good Supervisor

An effective horticultural manager needs to be able to manage all of their resources; finance, land, equipment, materials and people. Some managers may be focussed on just one or some of these things; while others need to deal with the lot. A good manager though, will evolve throughout their career, and will sooner or later, probably need to deal with managing all these different types of resources.

Managers operate on all levels in the workplace, with varying degrees of responsibility. There are many different aspects of an organization which need to be managed (ie. finances, buying, equipment and materials, marketing and public relations and, not the least, people who work there). Some types of managers control many different things - some manage only one aspect of an organization.

A supervisor is someone who provides face to face management of people directly involved in work tasks. As such he/she is the front line of management making minute by minute decisions regarding both his own role and the roles of his subordinates. He has to plan his own work and that of his subordinates and has a range of other tasks which might be summarised as:

  • organizing (within limits of budgets) materials, supplies, equipment, personnel allocations etc
  • staffing‑ defining work roles, interviewing, selecting and induction of new staff
  • directing subordinates (requiring leadership skills)
  • controlling (performance, efficiencies, safety, standards etc.)
  • coordinating functions of his section with other departments, superiors in management etc.

The key to success of any enterprise is good management and the key to good management is the Supervisor. Sometimes the supervisor and manager is the same person: sometimes they are not.


Good supervision is a very important element of exercising control, and might be the single most important factor in the success of an advanced economy. A supervisor’s task is to manage people and tasks in such a way that the organisation prospers and thrives. This is not so easy, for many different factors must be controlled, and there are many different ways of achieving control, some of them less or more effective than others.

A supervisor must be able to carry out the following tasks:

  • Communicate with employees
  • Give directions
  • Dictate letters
  • Set production goals and check performances
  • Interviews employees and prospective employees
  • Communicate with other supervisors
  • Write reports and read reports.
  • Check mail,
  • Attend meetings,
  • Make decisions about new projects,
  • Decide promotion and demotion.

The skills needed to handle this array of tasks can be classified as:

  • Technical skills,
  • Human skills,
  • Conceptual skills.


  • Learn from an international team or renowned horticultural experts led by John Mason, Fellow Institute of Horticulture (UK), Fellow Australian Institute of Horticulture, Fellow Parks and Leisure Australia.  John is also a former nurseryman, parks director, and is one of the most prolific gardening authors from Australia -many of his books being used by other schools and universities to teach horticulture across Australia and beyond.
  • A unique opportunity to connect and learn from our international faculty that includes Rosemary Davies (formerly Garden Advisory Service, and Age Garden Writer, Melbourne),  Maggi Brown (former Education officer for Garden Organic, UK), Gavin Cole (former Operations Manager for the Chelsea Gardener, London), and Dr Lyn Morgan (renowned Hydroponic expert from New Zealand); and a host of other equally qualified professionals. 
  • See profiles of our faculty at https://www.acs.edu.au/about-us/staff/default.aspx 

  • Why Study Horticulture Resource Management?

     This course guides students through how to operate horticulture businesses effectively. From managing products and resources through to staff training and supervision, everything is covered. Graduates should be able to assess assets and liabilities of a business and devise a feasible business plan. The course is applicable to all sorts of horticulture enterprises from retail nurseries to business suppliers. It is ideal for managers and operators alike, but could also help with staff training in-house.

    This course is best suited to people working in:

    Garden centres
    Plant nurseries
    Horticulture supplies
    Fruit & vegetables
    Market gardening

    It will also be suited to anyone involved in other horticulture-related enterprises.

    Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
    Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
    ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
    ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
    Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
    Member Nursery and Garden Industry Association.
    ACS is a Silver Sponsor of the AIH; and students studying designated courses are given free student membership. ACS and it's principal have had an association with AIH since the 1980's
    ACS is a Silver Sponsor of the AIH; and students studying designated courses are given free student membership. ACS and it's principal have had an association with AIH since the 1980's

    How can I start this course?

    You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

    Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
    If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
    registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

    Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

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    What do I need to know before I enrol?

    There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
    If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

    You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

    We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
    We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

    You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

    Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

    We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
    If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

    This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

    Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

    Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

    This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

    It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

    The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

    Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

    Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

    There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

    Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

    We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

    Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

    We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

    Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

    Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
    More information is here

    There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

    When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

    You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

    Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

    Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

    ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.

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    We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
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    We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

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    Course Contributors

    The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

    Adriana Fraser (Horticulturist)

    Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer
    , teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient lifestyle. She has decades of practical experience growing her own fruit, vegetables and herbs, and making her own preserves. She is well connected with horticulture professionals across Australia, and amongst other things, for a period, looked after Australia's national collection of Thymus. Advanced Diploma in Horticulture, Advanced Certificate in Horticulture.

    John Mason (Horticulturist)

    Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant.
    Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK.
    He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.

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