Horticultural Resource Management

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

Course CodeBHT203
Fee CodeS2
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement 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 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Horticultural Business Structures
  2. Management Theories and Procedures
  3. Horticulture & The Law
  4. Supervision
  5. Financial Management
  6. Staff Management
  7. Improving Plant Varieties
  8. Productivity and Risk
  9. Managing Physical Resources
  10. Developing an Horticultural Business Plan

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.


  • Compare the organisational structure of different horticultural enterprises.
  • Determine the value of a business plan to a specific horticultural business.
  • Determine the significance of consumer law to a specified horticultural business.
  • Determine the duties of different supervisors, in a specific horticultural enterprise.
  • Describe how a budget is applied to managing a specific horticultural enterprise.
  • Determine the criteria for selecting staff to work in an horticultural enterprise.
  • Explain the system for controlling the collection of royalties on a plant which is covered by plant variety rights.
  • Monitor and recommend improvements to a specified work task in a horticultural enterprise.

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.


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    Bob James

    Horticulturalist, Agriculturalist, Environmental consultant, Businessman and Professional Writer. Over 40 years in industry, Bob has held a wide variety of senior positions in both government and private enterprise. Bob has a Dip. Animal Husb, B.App.Sc.,
    John Mason

    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.
    Robert James

    B.App. Sc. (Horticulture), Dip.Ag., M.Sc., Grad Dip.Mgt. Over 50 years experience that includes, Nursery Manager Brisbane City Councoil, Grounds Manager (University of Qld), Lecturer Qld Agricultural College, Propagator/Nurseryman at Aspley Nursery, Hort
    Adriana Fraser

    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 li