|President||Emma Herd (Horticulturalist and Landscape Architect)|
|Vice President||Rosemary Ulph (Garden Designer)|
Ordinary Committee Members
Bec Bennett (Horticulturalist)
What was your childhood and journey to horticulture like?
I’m sure there was a time when I wanted to do something other than horticulture, but I don’t remember it. I shared my Mum’s passion for gardening. We would spend our weekends in the garden and one of our favourite places to visit was the Coffs Harbour Botanical Gardens. As a teen I collected cacti and succulents and I remember various members of my family dropping me off or picking me up from my first weekend nursery job. I was very supported – no one ever questioned me pursuing horticulture.
You work at the wonderful Botanix nursery. What’s a day in your work life like?
First, tea. Second, check BOM, no point in making plans without knowing what the weather is doing. My role at Botanix is largely organising and supporting my team and the nursery. I never saw myself in a “leadership” position, but I find the work satisfying. There is no typical day, sometimes it’s like the old days out in the nursery, maintaining trees. Sometimes it’s non-stop phone calls and paperwork. But usually, it’s a mix of both.
Who’s a horticulture hero of yours?
This is a hard one, so I’m going to cheat a little and name two. My Mum started me on this path, supported me and inspires me. I wouldn’t be who or where I am today without her. Someone in Hort that I look up to is Karen Sutherland. Karen taught me when I was at TAFE and has been a source of encouragement and motivation for me. Karen’s work and ethos is brilliant.
What are things you’d like to influence and improve in horticulture?
The culture of the industry. It has been improving over the years, but it still has a way to go. Areas I think are particularly important are gender and ethnic diversity and mental health. There are some old school stereotypes that are fading, and I’d like to help speed that along.
What’s your pitch to women thinking about a career in horticulture?
Just go for it. You will come up against people that make it hard, but you will have even more people behind you to support you and help you succeed. Do it for the plants, do it for yourself.
What inspires you?
The excitement of all there is to learn, all the growth I can achieve.
What’s your favourite group of plants?
Another hard question! Right now (and it has changed many times) it’s trees. I love the diversity, what we can do with them, but mostly their longevity. We can learn a lot from trees.
You have a passion for bees, do you have any tips for creating native bee habitat?
Native bees will be attracted to exotic flowers, but it just makes sense that they love native flowers! What kind of nesting environment they will need depends on what type of native bee you have in your area (we have over 1600 species in Australia!) Blue Banded Bees are ground nesters, so heavy mulch can be a deterrent. I would advise against the ‘off the shelf’ bee hotels, they are often chemically treated and not typically designed with the bees’ interest in mind.
Is there an encouraging message you’d like to share with our readers?
Our connection with nature is sacred. Knowing the seasons, touching the soil, feeling life around you may be the most grounding thing we can experience every day.
Kaye Roberts-Palmer (Committee Member in 2019/2020) shares her experience of being a new general committee member:
I really liked the idea of the Encouraging Women in Horticulture Association (EWHA) as there wasn’t a lot geared towards supporting women. I enjoyed several events that EWHA had organised and was surprised by the amount of interesting places to visit. After attending the AGM in 2019 I decided to help out as a general committee member and have organised my first event. I’m also collaborating on awards, website content, and attending events in an official capacity. I really encourage others to join up to be a general committee member and get involved so that we can grow and strengthen our EWHA.
Committee Position Descriptions:
|Patron||Dawn Fleming (Fleming Nurseries)|