Qualification - Diploma in Horticulture

Course CodeVHT030
Fee CodeDI
Duration (approx)2100 hours

Exceptional Training for an Exceptional Career

Horticulture has to be one of the best jobs in the world. It is constructive, healthy, addictive and for anyone who embraces it fully, you will not only be growing plants, but also growing yourself.
People who start learning at the level of this course, more often than not, find it to be a lifelong passion.
  • One of the best courses available anywhere in the world for someone starting out in horticulture
  • Hard work, but an exceptional course that will set you up for life
  • Learn to grow plants, to design gardens, to manage horticultural enterprises
  • Adapt to changes in the industry better than others, as they occur throughout a long career.
  • Learn about all fields of horticulture from landscaping and parks management to nursery, crop production and turf
  • Learn to identify over 1,000 plants
  • Learn the science that under pins all good horticulture
Other professions start when you commence work and finish when you retire. Horticulture is different though, just take a look at the nurserymen in your local nurseries and the presenters on TV and radio shows. It's not uncommon for you to encounter people well into their 70's and even 80's working in horticulture. This is because horticulture is more than a job - it is a passion and also fun. If you want to live a long and productive life, becoming a professional horticulturist isn't a bad way to go. 



Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Qualification - Diploma in Horticulture.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Industry Project II BIP001
 Horticulture I BHT101
 Plant Health (Horticulture III) BHT116
 Plant Identification and Knowledge (Horticulture II) BHT102
 Plant Selection And Establishment BHT107
 Planning Layout and Construction of Ornamental Gardens BHT242
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 15 of the following 58 modules.
 Arboriculture I BHT106
 Australian Native Ferns VHT116
 Australian Natives I BHT113
 Azaleas And Rhododendrons VHT106
 Cacti And Succulent Culture VHT108
 Carnivorous Plants VHT107
 Geraniums & Pelargoniums VHT113
 Growing Camellias VHT109
 Growing Carnations VHT110
 Permaculture III (Animals in Permaculture) VSS106
 Plants for Permaculture (Permaculture II) VSS105
 Propagation I BHT108
 Soil Management - Horticulture BHT105
 Amenity Horticulture I BHT234
 Amenity Horticulture II BHT235
 Arboriculture II BHT208
 Australian Natives II BHT225
 Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
 Conifers BHT230
 Culinary Herbs VHT242
 Cut Flower Production BHT221
 Cutting Propagation BHT211
 Engineering Applications BSC205
 Fruit Production -Temperate Climate BHT218
 Garden Centre Management BHT255
 Green Walls and Roofs BHT256
 Hydroponics I BHT224
 Nut Production BHT219
 Orchid Culture BHT232
 Palms & Cycads BHT233
 Permaculture Systems BHT201
 Plant Pathology BHT206
 Project Management BBS201
 Roses BHT231
 Seed Propagation BHT237
 Sports Turf Management BHT202
 Trees For Rehabilitation (Reforestation) BHT205
 Viticulture BHT220
 Weed Control BHT209
 Wholesale Nursery Management BHT212
 Aquaponics BHT319
 Berry Production BHT309
 Bonsai BHT320
 Cut Flower Bulbs BHT317
 Environmental Assessment BEN301
 Growing Annuals BHT319
 Horticultural Therapy BHT341
 Hydroponics III BHT319
 Interior Plants (Indoor Plants) BHT315
 Managing Notable Gardens BHT340
 Mushroom Production BHT310
 Operational Business Management I (Horticulture) BHT326
 Operational Business Management II (Horticulture) BHT327
 Perennials BHT316
 Professional Practice for Consultants BBS301
 Tissue Culture BHT306
 Turf Repair And Renovation BHT303
 Water Gardening BHT307

Note that each module in the Qualification - Diploma in Horticulture is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


  • To develop a broad based knowledge of the horticulture industry, across a variety of industry sectors.
  • To be able to identify well over 1,000 different plant cultivars; and have a foundation that facilitates the expansion of that plant knowledge in life beyond the course
  • To approach the diagnosis of plant problems, including health issues, in a systematic and well informed way.
  • To determine appropriate actions to take in order to optimise plant growth
  • To develop a network of horticultural industry contacts
  • To develop a realistic and pragmatic approach to working in horticulture, that involves an appreciation for productivity, quality, efficiency, safety and working to specification.

Where Do Horticulture Graduates Work?

The scope and nature of work in horticulture is extremely diverse, and changing all the time.
This is an industry that is difficult to ever get bored with, if you have a passion for plants
Some horticulturists work mostly outside, but others may work more indoors than out. The work can involve a lot of actual handling of plants, perhaps in a nursery, garden or on a farm but it may also involve sitting behind a computer, writing about plants, or working in a laboratory conducting experiments on plants. Some horticulturists work as managers (e.g. Parks Directors, Golf Course Superintendent, Nursery Manager or Farm Manager) and others operate their own businesses (as a landscaping, growing crops, garden centre, etc). Horticulturists also work as teachers, consultants, broadcasters, writers, marketers and product distributors.

Horticulture is a great foundation for many other related careers as well.  

A diploma such as this may provide a substantial foundation for working in fields such as agronomy (broad acre cropping), food processing, forestry, town planning, ecotourism, botany or environmental management.
This is a course that has the potential to open lots of doors, certainly far more than what might be opened by many of the other diplomas and degrees that a person may choose to do in today's world. 
Do You Get a Job or Start a Business?
The horticulture industry has changed. 
  • Mechanisation has resulted in more work being done by fewer people (The work is however more sophisticated; and to make full use of the technology, requires knowledge and skills beyond what may have been needed in the past).
  • Social and economic changes have resulted in ordinary people buying products and services that were previously only purchased by the wealthy. (eg. In the1970's, it was rare for people to employ gardeners, but not so much today). 
You can't predict the jobs of the future; but it is certain that the future will be different to today. There will undoubtedly be further changes in horticulture, driven by technological, social and economic changes. As a highly knowledgeable and skilled horticulturist; your skills will be valuable, and your employment prospects will be strong; but it is important to recognise changes as they happen and take up opportunities as they present.
At times, your best opportunities may be working for government, or a private company; but at other times, the greatest opportunities may be in self employment. 
Consider Starting a Lawn Care Business
Lawn care and grass cutting businesses are very popular small businesses.  Most people know how to safely and efficiently use a lawn mower, either through having a "mowing route" as a youngster or through care of their own lawn.
Proper Lawn Care is More Involved  
There are lots of lawn mowing businesses that keep the grass short, but don't really do it in a way that keeps the grass healthy and looking it's best. Good lawn care involves a lot more; fertilizing, weed and pest management, renovating deteriorating areas, aerating soil, drainage works and more. 
Clients will pay more and be more inclined to employ someone who can offer a better and more extensive service.
Start a Small Business While Still Studying
Diploma students will often start a gardening service, small plant nursery or other such business while still studying. This is a good way to earn money and also get valuable experience with plants, while you learn. 
The start up costs for a lawn mowing service can be quite low. Only a mower, trailer, fuel and transport are necessary to get started.
As with all other gardening services, you need to be careful to specify what services are included for the cost quoted.  For instance, you may quote to mow a lawn, intending to provide trimming around trees once a month, while the home owner may expect that service weekly.  A lawn mowing service does not have to include garden maintenance, and again any additional services such as that should be specified in your original agreement.
In the southern states, where continual lawn mowing is a seasonal need, a lawn mowing service might be a great combination with another cool season service, such as pruning.

Cutting Grass

A lawn mower is usually the first piece of garden machinery a person buys.
There are many different types of grass cutting machines, man powered or machine powered, ones you ride on and others you walk behind.
Cutting Action
Mowers cut grass one of four different ways:
  • Scissor cut  cuts by the action of two blades moving across each other like a pair of scissors. It is sometimes used by councils for slashing very long grass, but rarely used in the home garden.
  • Rotary cut  cuts with a sharpened blade rotating horizontally and hitting the grass at a 90  degree angle. This can damage grass, isn't as good on quality lawns, and doesn't cut well in the wet.
  • Cylinder mounted blades  cuts by a rotating cylinder containing blades which hit the grass on a 45 degree angle. This provides a much better quality cut, doesn't tear the grass and  will cut better when the grass is wet.
  • Gangs involve several mowers (usually rotary or cylinder) mounted side by side to give a wider cut.
When purchasing a mower consider the size of the land, the slope and undulations of the land, quality of the land (stones, clayey), quality of cut, will mowing be carried out while wet, etc. Not all mowers will do the same job so it is important that you purchase the right one for your situation.
Power Source
The power source is worth noting as it can indicate the amount of human energy to needed to work the mower. Mowers can be powered by:
  • Man power (push type)
  • Electricity 
  • 2 stroke motor
  • 4 stroke motor
  • Power Take Off (PTO) from a tractor or similar machine. An advantage in that the PTO can power other things also (eg: rotary hoe).
The cheapest mowers available are push type cylinder mowers, and for a small lawn they can give an excellent cut if you don't mind exercising a bit of muscle occasionally.
Electric mowers are also cheaper than petrol mowers, but it can be dangerous if you run over the power lead, and repairs are not usually so straightforward if you develop problems with the engine. Two stroke petrol mowers are generally cheaper than four stroke mowers.
Grass Collection
Grass can be either left to lie on the ground or picked up after cutting.
The advantage of collecting lawn clippings are:
  •  do not walk grass inside the house
  •  does not blow about and make a mess
  •  can be taken away and composted
It is important to note that the removal process actually removes nutrients from the turf. These need to be replaced periodically with extra feeding or topdressing.
Leaving the clippings on the lawn has the advantages of:
  •  will compost back into the soil 
  •  more beneficial on very poor soils (sandy or heavy clay and low in organic 
  •  content).
Unfortunately if clippings are always left, an oversupply of "thatch" may occur which can lead to the deterioration and possible death of the lawn.
Width and Speed of cut
These determine how much ground can be covered. This is important if you have large areas of grass. For ride on mowers which have a wider cutting area and fast you will then need to consider turning circle and manoeuvrable around trees, posts etc.
If the ground is uneven, a wide cutting mower's blades may shave the grass resulting in an unsightly lawn.grass on uneven ground.
For gang or wide cutting mowers a series of "floating" cylinders are better than one wide slasher.
Mower Safety Rules
  • Don't start up or run a mower in a confined space (eg. a closed shed) as the exhaust gases produced are poisonous.
  • Use guards on blades to stop material being thrown up and to stop body parts being caught in blades
  • Ensure ease of throttle and cut out controls
  • Make sure the machine is sturdy, and parts are not loose or deteriorating
  • Wear protective clothing and goggles while mowing
  • Do not lift or work on the undercarriage unless it is turned off and preferably with the ignition system disconnected.
  • Don't allow inexperienced children (or teenagers) to operate power mowers unsupervised.
  • Always be sure the lawn is clear of sticks, stones, toys or any other loose material before mowing.
  • Store mower fuel in a cool place, away from any flames such as a gas heater or hot water cylinder. Keep in a container specially designed for mower fuel, and always label the container. Plastic containers are NOT suitable. 
  • Do not pour fuel or oil into a machine over a lawn, near garden plants or over any surface that should not be marked (eg. a client's paved area).
  • Never smoke, or have exposed flames (eg. if burning off) when near a mower.

Who Will This Course Benefit?

  • People working in the horticulture industry wanting to improve their career opportunities
  • School leavers looking to educate and work in a dynamic industry
  • People in any horticulture industry sector
  • Those with a passion for horticulture



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