Groundswell | April 2021

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Our front cover: Olivia True Dwarf Olive

Volume 32 Number 4 April 2021 PUBLISHER NURSERY & GARDEN INDUSTRY VICTORIA PRESIDENT Simon Gomme CEO Craig Taberner CONTRIBUTORS Simon Gomme, Leigh Siebler, Craig Taberner, Nan Cleven, Matt Ross, Gabrielle Stannus ADVERTISING NGIV T: (03) 9576 0599 ADDRESS Unit 3, 307 Wattletree Road, Malvern East VIC 3145. MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 2280, Wattletree Road LPO, Malvern East VIC 3145. TELEPHONE (03) 9576 0599 | FAX (03) 9576 0431 EMAIL | FINISHED ART Vale Graphics M: 0409 88 77 06 E: PRINTING Norwood Industries 6 Wedgewood Road, Hallam VIC 3803.




Simon Gomme President, NGIV Welcome to the April Issue of Groundswell. It’s fantastic that the public interest and demand for plantlife shows little sign of slowing down. Those I’ve spoken to within the industry are continuing to enjoy a busy time of trade. Indeed, Australia has just recorded the biggest monthly trade surplus in history, with annual retail sales up by a huge 10.6%. With household spending being pinpointed as the key driver. And whilst many NGIV member businesses are prospering financially, the same cannot be said of NGIV. It has been an incredibly challenging year for your industry body, with revenue streams under severe pressure, due particularly to the double cancellation of MIFGS and the need to transition Trade Day. I’m very aware of how hard the NGIV team have worked this past 12 months to support their members and advocate for the industry. I’d encourage you to look for opportunities to support the NGIV. Whether it’s through your ongoing commitment to Trade Day or becoming an Industry Partner. Since learning that our Trade Day does not have a long-term future at Caribbean Gardens, a consultation and engagement process has been ongoing to understand the needs of our members for the next evolution of NGIV Trade Day. Over 150 of our members took part in a survey and we have engaged directly with 60 of our stand holders. That’s an excellent outcome and I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed so far. We’ve been met with a lot of support and there is a strong affection from the industry for this historic event. Your feedback was shared with the NGIV Board.



With that in mind, I ask for your continued support and ongoing commitment as we transition Trade Day. This event is as important to the NGIV as it is to the participants that rely on it each month. The below is a summary of what you have told us, what we know and what the next steps are. 1. Trade Day will continue beyond May 2021, but it will look different 2. The transition is being viewed as short term, with some key identified changes being introduced 3. We will endeavour to share our short-term plans with you as soon as practical 4. A long-term assessment is ongoing, with a blueprint for the long-term future to be shared before the end of 2021. The feedback we’ve received has been invaluable and will certainly inform the future of NGV’s Trade Day. I ask that you trust the process and we will keep you updated with any developments. Finally, if we haven’t yet met, I’d encourage you to come and say hello if we cross paths at an industry event. It’s always a pleasure to meet our members and understand a little bit about you and your business.

Simon Gomme President, NGIV Powerplants Australia


There has also been progress with our policy priorities, as follows:

Review of the Victorian Horticulture Sector

Craig Taberner CEO, NGIV Autumn is very much upon us, as evidenced by the falling leaves and changing colours in our plantlife. Our industry is tied to the seasons, with each one bringing different opportunities. I want to take the opportunity to share with you some of the recent advocacy efforts NGIV has undertaken. The need for industry advocacy was bigger than ever over the last year and remains one of NGIV’s key focuses. The groundwork laid in previous years with Government Departments and other industries, was pivotal in NGIV’s ability to represent the needs of our industry throughout the COVID-19 crisis. From November last year, NGIV has commenced the following advocacy efforts;

» Engaged with all local and federal MP’s whose school won an award through the Victorian Schools Garden Program (VSGP)

» Engaging with The Hon. Lisa Neville to present the State VSGP Award Winner, Our Lady Star of the Sea Ocean Grove, with their prize

» Contacted and congratulated the new Agriculture Minister, Mary-Anne Thomas, on her post, and requested a meeting

» Wrote to former Agriculture Minister, Jacqueline Symes, thanking her for all her industry support

» Engaging with relevant Minister’s to raise awareness of our proposed bushfire recovery project with Buchan Primary School

» Engagement of a local MP to attend a media opportunity to promote the Connecting Junior Gardeners Program.

» Meeting with local Footscray Member, Katie Hall » Invited local Members of Parliament to upcoming Tree & Shrub Growers events

» Employ NGIV Twitter account to increase engagement with relevant Ministers

» Refreshed NGIV’s advocacy brochure with updated policies to circulate amongst relevant Ministers

NGIV wishes to ensure that our next generation of horticulturists meet the needs of a sustainable and skilled workforce, now and into the future. This will be through investment into a comprehensive review:

» “Realisation of Growth Opportunities within the Nursery & Garden Industry Sector” >

Stage 1 – Industry analysis – current and future


Stage 2 – Gap analysis & recommendations (Supply chain mapping, survey/interviews, data analysis)

Project funding raised with Greenlife Industry Australia – advised that the national statistics project ends soon and that a proposal may be put forward to the Nursery Industry Strategic Advisory Panel.

Biosecurity and Market Access Ensure Victoria remains the national leader in biosecurity management. Two projects, the Quality Assurance Roadmap and the Industry Governance Model, have been funded by Agriculture Victoria – around strengthening the nursery industry’s management of biosecurity outcomes, both largely focussed on gathering information required to support future “reforms/work”.

Garden Tourism Commitment by the Victorian Government to help facilitate and drive Victoria’s burgeoning Garden Tourism market, alongside committed horticulture partners such as NGIV, Royal Botanic Gardens, Open Gardens Victoria and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show (MIFGS). In partnership with the Victorian Farmers Federation we are preparing a joint submission to the Agriculture Minister for co-investment into MIFGS.

Victorian Schools NGIV seeks to partner with the Victorian Schools Building Authority (VSBA) to align their Building Quality Standards Handbook, associated materials, and their application to current best practice for the development of climate and curriculum ready outdoor natural infrastructure in our school system. NGIV has been engaging with Policy Officers at the VSBA and have recommended changes to the Quality Standards Handbook. We will continue to advocate on behalf of our members for this great industry and we will keep providing you with timely updates.

» Lodged a pre-budget submission. » In the coming months contact will be made with all targeted MP’s for face-to-face meetings. Craig Taberner CEO, NGIV 06



Helix new Waxflower releases Whilst displaying a range of white and pink flowering tones, the three new Waxflower hybrids have been selected for their compact form.

Waxflower Cha Cha

Waxflower Ice Queen

Waxflower Local Hero

“Our early Waxflower releases have mainly come from our cut flower development programme where the selection criteria is very focussed on long stems and high stem yield per plant,” said Adrian Parsons, Managing Director, Helix Australia.

“Now with the growing interest in Waxflower for native garden use we are now working hard on selecting hybrid forms which work better in a suburban garden environment, also suitable for rockery and small hedge application,” he said.

“In addition, the more compact Waxflower forms present a much better shape in a pot for retail sale,” said Parsons. For further information and to order contact Adrian Parsons e: m: 0418 399 539




The realisation of a dream at Alowyn Gardens and Nursery By Matt Ross Situated in Yarra Glen in the heart of the fertile Yarra Valley, a visit to NGIV members Alowyn Gardens and Nursery is a real treat. Whether you’re there to explore the seven acres of gardens, stock up on plants from the nursery, enjoy lunch with friends at the maple courtyard café, attend one of their horticultural workshops, or perhaps your tying the knot amongst the wisteria archway; it’s a one stop shop for curious plant lovers. I sat down with owners Prue and John Van de Linde (pictured below right) to understand more about the journey they’ve gone on and what inspired them to realise their dreams. The idea of creating a large public garden came to John in 1978 when he visited the world-famous Butchart Gardens in Canada. In 1997 John and Prue were living in an apartment in Box Hill, and after a couple of years of searching for just the right spot to start their garden, they found a former trotting stud within striking distance of Melbourne, offering the climate of four distinct seasons they wanted.



In 1999, John started building the garden on weekends and spare moments around his landscaping business. His plan covered 1.6ha and a time frame of four years, it’s now been 22 years and covers closer to 3ha. The spine of the garden is a 100m-long arbour covered in wisteria and roses, with a sunken rose garden and classical fountain as the centrepiece, from which a series of separate areas unfold. Paths wind through the cool shade of the birch forest where 500 silver and river birch are underplanted with bulbs and irises.


The Australian forest comprises two types of she-oak (Allocasuarina) and a miner’s hut, in contrast to the formal parterre garden of Buxus clipped into different designs. The perennial border showcases dry-tolerant plants with a path winding through colourful displays from spring to autumn. In the edible garden they practise companion planting and crop rotation, with herbs, edible flowers and avenues of fruit trees. The 7000sqm French garden is divided into four fields for poppies, sunflowers and lawns for picnicking, with two streams, a central pond and a folly. With Prue taking charge of the retail side while John grows the nursery stock and keeps developing the gardens, they make the perfect team. After purchasing the site, they realised they were not connected to mains supply water. They’ve since given up on waiting for that to change, instead they recycle every drop of water. They utilise dams, rainwater tanks and have created contour lines to feed back into the dams. They rely on the rainfall. Indeed, sustainability is central to what they do. John’s own environmental leanings come from what he saw growing up in Holland, the impact of illegal dumping of chemical and manure waste into the canal system, and the fish that kept floating to the surface.





And now, with the help of their team, they have started planting oak saplings that will eventually create a 40 acre oak forest with over 6000 trees. The aim is to create a canopy as quickly as possible to protect the soil from the sun, create a habitat for local fauna, suck carbon from the atmosphere and ‘do their bit for the planet.’ “It’s like making a soup. At first it lacks flavour and so you add seasoning until it changes the whole pot. I believe if we do our bit, it will inspire others to make a difference too.” Said John. It’s clear that not all the decisions they make are based purely on good business, they are guided by their beliefs and their values.



“Life is not only about making money, it’s about living, it’s about pleasure. And that looks different for all of us. We’re all part of a much bigger puzzle and we need to find where we fit.” Said John. Through a lot of hard work, a clear vision and a set of guiding principles, it seems as though John and Prue have completed their own puzzle at Alowyn Gardens and Nursery, and it looks sublime.


Green waste derived compost contamination As some of you may be aware, ABC News shared a story on Sunday 14 February 2021, reporting that ‘hundreds of Victorian home gardeners are angry and out of pocket after using toxic compost allegedly from major recycler Suez’. » to check any green waste derived

The ABC reported that;

» more than 200 Victorian gardeners noticed they lost vegetable crops after composting

» some of the affected claim that the commercial compost came from a Suez recycling facility

» the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) have investigated and passed the matter onto Consumer Affairs Victoria

» Experts believe the green waste derived compost was contaminated with a herbicide that wasn't identified during the composting process. It is worth noting that this case is referring to green waste derived compost products only, there is no concern surrounding premium pine bark compost. Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV) makes no comment on the accuracy of the information in the story, but NGIV can provide generic guidance by advising garden centres;

compost products to ensure they are certified against AS4454 (Australian Standard for Compost, Soil Conditioners and Mulches) and that where required, their source is EPA licensed. This sourcing/certification should reduce (although not necessarily eliminate) the possibility of compost products containing contaminants; and

» if you’re concerned about any compost products stocked, to request evidence from the supplier of testing against AS4454 (including evidence of a bioassay and a test specific for phenoxy-acid herbicides). NGIV further suggests that if a garden centre receives queries from consumers about this issue, and the garden centre has any concern that there’s an issue with its green waste derived compost;

» that it contacts the supplier in the first instance to enquire whether their compost product is certified against AS4454, and for any relevant further advice; or

» alternatively, the garden centre can suggest that the consumer may wish to consider having their compost tested by a National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) accredited soil laboratory. This story reinforces the importance of ensuring that any product sourced is certified against industry standards where possible.

Proud Partners of NGIV Technology is what we do, innovation is what we live for Follow Us








Ausflora Pacific 40 years of bloom By Matt Ross Ausflora Pacific are celebrating their 40th birthday this year, we spoke to nursery managers Linda Sijpkes and Sarah Burgess, to find out a little more about the origins of the business and where they’re heading. Ausflora Pacific was established on a large site, occupying three blocks in Gembrook in 1981. It was part of a corporate enterprise named Austflower; a cut flower business that was soon struggling financially.

After experiencing a large hailstorm that destroyed many plants on the ground in the late 90s, they began to focus on propagating tubestock for flower growers and nurseries in Australia and overseas.

In 1982, Peter Sijpkes, emigrated to Australia from the Netherlands. Lured by the promise of an Australian Visa, he stopped looking after patients in his previous role as a nurse and took started working at Austflora.

Having sworn she wouldn’t work in the family business, Linda Sijpkes, Peter’s daughter, took on the management of the nursery in the final year of her apprenticeship in 2000. She set about growing the nursery production and improving the quality and variety of plants.

He’d always been a passionate gardener, having watched and learnt from his own dad back in the Netherlands. In the early 90s Peter took over the management, and subsequent ownership of the business, changing its name to Ausflora Pacific.

After over 15 years of dedication and loyalty to Ausflora Pacific, Sarah Burgess became a business partner, alongside the Sijpkes family in 2017.

The nursery was originally set up primarily for growing and developing plants for the flower plantation, two very popular flower varieties came to the fore; Protea Grandicolor PBR and the Gembrook Waratah PBR.

The nursery has a dedicated team of people many of whom have been with them for over 10 years. They believe that everyone should be challenged and empowered to do their best and that means creating a workplace that is fun and challenging.

Ausflora were responsible for supplying the Gembrook Waratah that were presented to Olympic medalists in their bouquets, at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

The nursery now provides quality Proteaceae plants to retailers, landscapers, wholesalers and flower growers across Australia, and internationally.




The aim is to continue to grow the brand, increase nursery sales, broaden the range, and educate the public on Proteaceae; dispelling the myth that they are native to Australia. And what’s a birthday without presents? To celebrate their 40th year, they secured an Agriculture Energy Investment Plan Grant, that allowed them to install glistening new solar panels and increase the energy efficiency of their cool room. Having been fortunate enough to spend a morning with them at the NGIV Golf Day Classic, I can vouch for the fact that they’re a wonderfully fun bunch, extremely knowledgeable about their stock and passionate about the industry. From all the team at NGIV, the Board and our members; Happy Birthday Ausflora Pacific.



Climate change – plants are part of the solution As I write these words the world is full of optimism as the Covid vaccine begins to be rolled out. Unfortunately, there are other global crises that provoke nervousness and uncertainty. Another major challenge in the world is climate change and there is less optimism in that space. Our industry spent some time a few years ago promoting climate change and the benefits of plants and our industry. From memory it was something like: “Global Warming – one backyard at a time”. I believe we have a responsibility to celebrate the benefits that our industry, and it’s plantlife, provides, educating the consumers and getting them involved. Available industry funds are of course a problem, a lack of them that is. Yes, Plant Life Balance, Garden Releaf and Plant Pals, but with limited spend. It is up to all of us, through social media, newsletters, in-store signage and word of mouth, to reinforce the message.

Plant display at The Greenery, Heidelberg

The challenge is there for us all to step up, not just for ourselves but for future generations and indeed the world. Follow GCA on Facebook for updates Leigh Siebler Garden Centres of Australia | e:

Gardens and plants are therapy for body and mind GROUNDSWELL APRIL 2021



Victorian Training Award helps grow gardening careers Celebrate apprentices, trainees, employers, trainers and organisations in the TAFE and training sector by submitting a nomination for the Victorian Training Awards. Discover the impact that winning an award had on Chris Henbery, who started his career in horticulture as an apprentice with NGIV member Gardenworld Nursery and went on to win NGIV’s Apprentice of the Year Award. Chris Henbery is not afraid of change – and having taken on a new country and a new career, he is now reaping the seeds of success. Migrating from London with his Australian wife and two-year-old son in 2011, Chris decided to indulge his passion for gardening over the career in banking and finance he left behind. ‘With a whole new life ahead of me, I decided to take the plunge and do something I was passionate about, and that was gardening,’ Chris says. ‘So I began a Certificate III in Horticulture (Retail Nursery) at Swinburne University of Technology while doing my apprenticeship at Gardenworld Nursery in Melbourne.’ Becoming a mature age apprentice has ultimately paid off. ‘Being able to combine study and work was a massive benefit,’ Chris says. ‘I’ve never looked back and I’ve progressed to being Head Greenlife Buyer at the nursery, overseeing the buying team as well as managing the nursery one day a week. I’ve also continued to build my skills by completing a Diploma of Horticulture.’ Chris’s success was evident early in his apprenticeship. Within one year of training, he was awarded a $1,000 Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV) scholarship which he put towards his studies. In 2013, he won the NGIV Apprentice of the Year Award, the Swinburne University of Technology Outstanding Apprentice of the Year and a bronze medal for an inspirational garden design at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Another award from Swinburne for Academic Achievement in 2014 was followed by the Apprentice of the Year Award in the 2015 Victorian Training Awards. He then represented Victoria in the Australian Training Awards. ‘My involvement in the awards gave me a big boost in confidence and opened up opportunities and networks with industry mentors and fellow award participants,’ Chris says. ‘I’'m still in touch with many people I met at the awards and it’s great to be able to share experiences and other people’s journeys.’ Chris also enjoys sharing his experiences by being an Australian Apprenticeships Ambassador, giving talks at TAFEs and schools to spread the word about vocational education and training. ‘I’m proof that through the TAFE system you can indulge your passion, build your career and change your life – and that’s the message I want to give others,’ Chris says.



‘Now I have a career I love and can continually build on my learning.’ ‘For someone like me who one day wants to have their own business and offer apprenticeships to others, that's going to really help me broaden my skill base as I work to achieve my goal.’

» Do you know a top-notch trainer? » Are you an apprentice or trainee who has excelled over the past 12 months?

» Are you an employer who has contributed positively to Victoria’s vocational education and training sector? Give someone a pat on the back, recognise their achievements, and give them a chance to win $5,000 in prize money with a Victorian Training Award nomination.

How to nominate 1. Make sure you carefully read the 2021 Victorian Training Awards Nomination Guide to ensure you have noted the conditions of entry and eligibility criteria for your chosen category. 2. Go to the nomination portal: Register to nominate and follow the step by step process. 3. Contact the Victorian Training Awards team for advice or for help with obtaining the assistance of our nomination writers, if required. 4. Make sure you submit your nomination by the closing date, midnight on Friday 4 June.




A quarter of the world’s carnivorous plants at risk of extinction

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria calls for conservation action after leading international research with Curtin University. Newly published international research led by Australian institutions (Curtin University, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria) has found approximately a quarter of carnivorous plant species across the world may be at risk of extinction due to global climate change, illegal poaching, and the clearing of land for agriculture, mining and development. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Manager Biodiversity Services and research co-author Dr Alastair Robinson has stressed the need for immediate, concrete actions to save carnivorous plants species from extinction. “Conservation initiatives must be established as a priority to prevent these species being lost in the coming years, particularly to safeguard species endemic to highly-cleared regions like Western Australia, Brazil, Southeast Asia and the United States, which are home to many of the most threatened carnivorous plant species,” Dr Robinson said. Carnivorous plants are predatory plants which obtain some or most of their nutrients through specialised adaptations that allow them to attract, capture and kill their prey - mainly flies and other small insects but occasionally even birds and small mammals. Well-known species of carnivorous plants include the Venus’ fly trap and pitcher plants. Restoration ecologist Dr Adam Cross, from the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University, said the loss of carnivorous plants would not only be devastating due to their 16


captivating qualities, but could potentially have detrimental effects across ecosystems. “Carnivorous plants are an iconic group of plants, and they are often involved in complex biological relationships with animals – sometimes providing habitats for animals, or even relying upon animals to digest the prey they catch for them,” Dr Cross said. “Our research has found around 25 per cent of the world’s carnivorous plants are at increasing risk of extinction. Australia is currently sixth in the world for harbouring the most Critically Endangered carnivorous plant species, behind Brazil, Indonesia, Philippines, Cuba and Thailand.” Carnivorous plants usually occur in extremely fragile habitats, often in areas experiencing direct conflict with human activities. During the team’s research, each of the approximately 860 known carnivorous plant species was assessed for its exposure to threats such as residential and commercial development; agriculture and aquaculture activities; energy production and mining; transport development, such as land clearing for roads or trains; human exploitation, such as illegal collection; pollution; geological events; climate change; and severe weather. It was found that, globally, the greatest threats to carnivorous plants are the result of agricultural practices and natural systems modifications, as well as continental scale environmental shifts caused by climate change.


“In Western Australia, which harbours more carnivorous plant species than any other place on Earth, the biggest threat remains the clearing of habitat to meet human needs, resulting hydrological changes, and of course the warming, drying climate trend that affects much of Australia,” Dr Cross said. Research co-author Dr Andreas Fleischmann, from Botanische Staatssammlung Munich and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany, also noted that illegal poaching of carnivorous plants was a large problem. “Noting their unique and fascinating features, some species of carnivorous plants are illegally collected from their natural habitats and sold to collectors. Poached plants of some species sell for hundreds of dollars,” Dr Fleischmann said. “Urgent global action is required to reduce rates of habitat loss and land use change, particularly in already highly-cleared regions that are home to many threatened carnivorous plant species, including habitats in Western Australia, Brazil, Southeast Asia and the United States of America.” The research was conducted by Curtin University, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Botanische Staatssammlung Munich and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich in Germany, and the Federal University of São João del Rei in Brazil.







New industrial relations laws to encourage more flexible working arrangements By Gabrielle Stannus The Federal Government has developed an industrial relations reform package it claims will give businesses the confidence to get back to growing and creating jobs, as well as the tools to help employers and employees to work together in a post-COVID Australia. We take a quick look at how these reforms may affect employers and employees in the greenlife industry. In December, Attorney General Christian Porter announced the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia's Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 (“The Bill”), addressing five key areas of industrial relations reform around award simplification, casuals and fixed term employees, compliance and enforcement, enterprise agreements and greenfield agreements. The Bill also includes an additional schedule outlining new measures designed to support the Fair Work Commission in its work.

offer them conversion to full-time or part-time employment. Casual employees cannot be compelled to convert at any time.

Flexible work directions

Compliance and enforcement

JobKeeper flexibilities in the Fair Work Act 2009 will expire this March. However, the Bill will allow some employers to continue to direct employees to perform different duties that are consistent with their skill or competence, or work at locations different from their normal place of work. These new ‘flexible work directions’ will be available for a period of two years where employees are covered by specific awards, including the Nursery Award 2020 and the General Retail Industry Award 2020.

A new criminal penalty will apply to those employers convicted of deliberately underpaying their employees. The worst abuses will be punishable by up to 4 years imprisonment and significant fines, with convicted individuals being disqualified from managing corporations for five years under the Corporations Act.

Employers who paid an employee an identifiable loading as compensation for leave entitlements is not then forced to also pay for leave entitlements without the capacity to offset that liability via the compensation already paid (“double-dipping”). Employees who received no casual loading remain entitled to back-pay.

Flexible part-time arrangements The Bill will allow an employee to agree to work additional hours at their normal rates of pay when it suits them, without attracting penalty rates. To be eligible, an employee must work at least 16 hours per week and be given additional hours of no fewer than 3 hours in a shift. The employee must still be paid applicable penalty rates for work conducted outside their usual spread of hours or in excess of daily or weekly maximums contained in their award.

Casual employment The Bill includes a new statutory definition of casual employment, missing from the Fair Work Act 2009. A person will be considered a casual employee if they accept an offer of employment where there is no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work. Employers will be required to assess all casual employees after 12 months’ employment and, if appropriate, u





The Fair Work Ombudsman will establish an Employer Advisory Service for small businesses to receive free advice on their workplace obligations, helping them avoid underpayments.

Enterprise agreements The new Bill will require all enterprise agreements to be approved by the Fair Work Commission within 21 working days, as far as practicable. The Better Off Overall Test (BOOT) will be simplified and will continue to apply to each individual employee. The Fair Work Commission will implement an online guidance and application tool ($4.4 million) for parties involved in bargaining to support more productive enterprise bargaining.

Industry opinion Retail associations are supportive of the reforms, which they say will reduce red tape, provide more choice for staff employed on a casual basis; allow businesses to offer additional shifts more easily to part-time staff; and speed up the enterprise bargaining process, which for some retailers has taken more than 12 months . Leigh Siebler, Manager of the Garden Centres Association of Australia Inc. (GCAA), says his organisation is tentatively supportive of this reform if it simplifies a complex industrial



relations system without adding to an employer’s administrative workload. “If large businesses such as Woolworths have trouble calculating correct wages, even with their systems and specialists, how can we expect a smaller business such as a garden centre to avoid problems?” asks Leigh. Streamlining the enterprise bargaining agreement process may enable garden centres and other nurseries to attract and retain valuable employees if they can negotiate improved pay and conditions which better suit their circumstances. “Like a lot of small businesses, garden centres can have trouble getting the staff they need. It is important to have employees who are remunerated sufficiently to enjoy what they are doing,” says Leigh, “However, the remuneration has to be affordable for employers. No profit, no business, no workers, no jobs.” Similarly, the proposed flexible part-time working arrangements may help reward valued part-time employees with extra income without having to commit to additional hours permanently.

Next steps The Bill has been referred to the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee for consideration.

This article is republished with permission from Greenlife Industry Australia.


New members A big welcome to our latest members who joined the NGIV in February and March. We look forward to helping you build your business and a long and fruitful relationship. Quick-Pick Seedlings

Essentially Natural

Balcony Gardens By Deepdale




Quick-Pick Seedlings (QPS) sow a large variety of vegetable seedlings and has a proven capacity to produce high volume wholesale orders for Victoria. They provide commercial grade seedlings and are committed to exceeding client expectations.

A provider of Australian made, sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives. They specialise in organic fertiliser, natural cleaning products, mould removal and biodegradeable bags.

Balcony Gardens by DEEPDALE is a boutique studio based in Melbourne creating unique bespoke garden spaces and designs tailored to our client’s needs, desires and preferences. They also create designs for courtyards, small gardens and patios.

Contact Organics Australia Cocohouse Australia



Contact Organics introduces an innovative and natural Weed Killer to the safe weed control space - a series of bio-herbicides made from Acetic Acid! By combining cutting-edge technology, in-depth scientific research and natural ingredients, we present a breakthrough in environmentally friendly weed control.

Manufacturers and suppliers of premium quality organic coir growing media; 100 per cent organic, natural, biodegradable soil-less. They also have erosion counter, landscape and garden products, and commercial and Industrial rubber mats.

Rosewood Nursery Sales & Transport (Allied) Rosewood Nursery Sales & Transport began trading in 1991, operating from a centralised depot facility in Kenthurst, NSW. Owners, Roger & Alexandra Ambrose, have over 25 years of experience in the transport and nursery industry.

Tap into NGIV’s complimentary community of experts As Victoria’s peak industry body, we are committed to helping your business to grow. As a member of Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria you have access to many benefits, whether it’s our ongoing advocacy work for the industry, promoting your business to your target audience, access to industry training for your team or the opportunity to network with the best in the business. We have also built up a community of expert professionals who understand the industry and will provide a complimentary service to support your business.

For accountancy advice SMART Business Solutions will provide a complimentary 30-minute phone call. Contact Paul Cunningham e:

Receive a free four-hour business diagnostic from NGIV industry partner, Moshie – Enterprise coaching and development. Contact Bruce Yelland on m: 0412 241 801 or e:

Understand your businesses insurance needs with a complimentary visit from NGIV partner Gallagher, specialist insurance provider for the nursery and garden industry. Contact James Walker on m: 0412 583 831 or e:

For general industrial relations queries contact Sheena Kane of Kane Independent Consulting on m: 0413 191 708 or e: For legal matters, Michael Coker of NGIV industry partner Piper Alderman, will provide a complimentary one-hour phone consultation. Contact Michael on m: 0417 334 232 or e:

With a combined value of over $3000, this is just one more reason why your NGIV membership represents excellent value for your business. And that’s not to mention the free expert support from the NGIV team. If you’re not an NGIV member – join today




Tree and Shrub Growers:

Barefoot and bowled over On what was a glorious summer’s evening at the Carrum Bowling Club in late January, a congregation from Victoria’s Tree and Shrub Growers, came together to battle it out on the bowling green. In truth the battling wasn’t too intense, as everyone was more interested in having fun and catching up in person. Christine McLeod from Norwood and Josh Kyne from Boomaroo, were crowned barefoot bowls champions on the night, but everyone had a great time. The Tree and Shrub Growers of Victoria is the largest sectional interest group of the Nursery & Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV). The group consists of members of the NGIV involved with nursery plant production and allied trade and provides fantastic networking opportunities across all areas of industry. Contact NGIV to find out more and learn how to become a member of the Tree and Shrub Growers of Victoria.




Gardening continues to bring wellbeing releaf to the public By Matt Ross Garden Releaf was established by Garden Centres of Australia (GCA) in 2014 to help people understand the many benefits of gardening and plantlife for our health and wellbeing. Now in its seventh year, Garden Releaf has gone from strength to strength; exposing thousands of Australians to gardening and raising over $330,000 for Beyond Blue in the process. GCA Manager, Leigh Siebler, was eager to establish a program to promote gardening to the public. In 2014 he organised an industry event and heard Boyd Douglas Davies, Founder of Garden Re-Leaf in the UK speak passionately about the success of the program. Boyd was happy for GCA to offer the Program to an Australian audience, and Garden Releaf was born. The GCA Board looked at a number of charities to align with and felt that Beyond Blue offered a good synergy; they had already communicated the benefits of gardening for mental wellbeing and their Chairman was Jeff Kennett, a man Leigh knew to be a keen gardener himself. He went on to be a strong advocate for Garden Releaf. And he’s not alone. Garden Releaf has assembled an impressive roster of advocates, from Johanna Griggs and Graham Ross to Jane Edmanson and

Linda Ross. Their latest recruit horticultural therapist, Steven Wells, an exponent of the healing powers of plants and gardens, seems like the perfect fit.

He’s also aware that more and more retail garden centres are understanding the marketability of plants as a form of therapeutic care.

Given the year we’ve just experienced, Garden Releaf has never been more needed. The public have instinctively gravitated towards gardening and plantlife throughout the pandemic; instinctively understanding it has so much to offer in times of crisis.

“It’s hard to think of an industry that has more to gain through educating the public about the many proven health benefits of gardening.”

Since Garden Releaf’s launch in 2014, Leigh also believes some of the taboos around mental health have reduced and people are more comfortable to discuss it; the Program itself is playing its part in helping to break down the barriers. “For me personally, gardening provides the perfect antidote to the busy, technology focused world we all live in. I know when it’s time to step away from the computer, get outside and spend time in the garden. I love it.”

And if the plants don’t make you smile, the party atmosphere of Garden Releaf surely will. Whether it’s the sea of blue wigs, the fun activities created by the garden centres or the throngs of gardeners flocking to their local retailer to get involved. You can see how this year’s Garden Releaf, which took place on 21 March, went by following @gardenreleafaustralia on Facebook, if you’re a retailer and you’d like to take part in the 2022 Garden Releaf registrations will open in October 2021.




March Trade Day report By Nan Cleven Our March Trade Day turned out to be the busiest in recent months, with lots of returning stand holders fuelling the demand from eager buyers. The quality of plantlife was exceptional and the first colours of the new season were on show.

Welcome back to our interstate friends As restrictions continue to ease, it was great to welcome back several of our regular nurseries from New South Wales.

« Solomons Nursery It was a pleasure to have the boys from Solomons arrive with plenty of quality plants and shrubs. There was no time for them to take a break, with buyers swarming their stall. Contact: Dave 0425 298 769

Chris from Norwood sharing a well-deserved Kit Kat break with Andy Kaupp after a busy morning for Gale Citrus who sold out of all stock in just 48 minutes! Their large variety of citrus trees including lemons, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, cumquats, lemonade and calamondin were in high demand from buyers. Contact: Eddie 0421 196 631



Batlow Nursery



Gale Citrus

Robert Love from Batlow Nursery made the long journey south, across the NSW border, to return to Trade Day. He enjoyed a busy day of trade, with his beautiful rhododendrons stealing the show. Contact: Robert 0427 491 357


March Trade Day was proudly sponsored by Platinum Industry Partner: Norwood


Jen from Norwood got proceedings underway with an enthusiastic ringing of the bell. Buyers were in good spirits as they rushed in to see what was on offer and secure their stock.

With the horticultural industry experiencing an unprecedented demand for greenlife, Jen and Chris from Norwood, welcomed attendees to have a break, have a Kit Kat – there was no shortage of takers including NGIV CEO Craig Taberner.

Our coffee cart was proudly sponsored by NGIV’s Silver Industry Partner: Humphris


Piggy Back Farm The ever-popular Shaun Koster was back with a bang this month and excited to see catch up with his peers at market. With Kit Kats being his chocolate bar of choice, he was more than happy to take a break with Christine. Here they are amongst plenty of fresh potted colour, including Osteospermum and some quality blueberries.

NGIV Footy Tipping competition kicks off again for Season 2021

Contact: Shaun 0437 699 128

It’s fantastic to welcome the footy back into our lives. With supporters back in the stands, there are the usual big hopes and expectations for the season ahead.

Trade Day Updates

Make this the year you get involved in our footy tipping competition – join up before the official season kicks off on Thursday 18th March with Richmond vs Carlton.

Please note that our next Trade Day will be on Wednesday 7th April to allow for the Easter break. Our May Trade Day will have the theme ‘Think Pink in May’ for Mother’s Day; we encourage all members to support this theme and fund-raising efforts for Breast Cancer Network and Cuppa for Cancer. We welcome any special pink promotions, raffles, or other ideas you have – please do share your plans in our Trade Day eNewsletter beforehand. It is also possible that our May Trade Day will be our last at Caribbean Gardens after a long and happy tenure. We would love to see as many familiar faces to say goodbye in style. If you have a favourite Trade Day memory please share it with to be used in a future Groundswell article.

Go to Competition Name: NGIV2021 First Prize: Four (4) Tickets to the MCC Members Reserve at the MCG excluding Finals Series or Anzac Day, in Season 2022. Generously donated by Garden City Plastics. Generously donated by Garden City Plastics. Second Prize: an official AFL footy jumper of your choice Contact the NGIV Office if you’d like to donate a prize.




Interview with NextGen

TEAGAN FAULL Nishiki Nursery

Where do you work and what is your role? I currently work at Nishiki Nursery, a wholesale Japanese maple nursery which also specialise in bonsai, small shrubs, fruit and ornamental trees. Nishiki Nursery is located in Monbulk, in the beautiful Dandenong Rangers. My current roles at Nishiki Nursery include inventory manager in which I am responsible for putting plants onto the retail list from production, managing plantmark and plant multi broker stands and managing our social media platforms.

How long have you worked where you are and has your role progressed in the time you have been there? I have been working at Nishiki Nursery for just over one and a half years. I started out as an apprentice picking orders, shortly after that I moved into production doing tree work and plant maintenance. Recently my job role has progressed as I am now in charge of inventory and responsible for re-stocking and upkeeping our broker stands. I have really enjoyed displaying our stock and taking pride in how our stands present to the industry. I am also learning office duties and how to manage our social media sites. I have loved all parts of the nursery, but I am really enjoying the challenges I face in my new role.

What do you like most about the nursery industry? My favourite thing about the nursery industry is that there is always something new to learn in every department. There are also so many avenues you can go down because there is so much diversity in the horticulture world. I specifically love working outside in all weather conditions with my Nishiki workmates and expanding my knowledge on plants and how to care for their individual needs. I really admire the diversity in staff at Nishiki Nursery and I hope to continue learning and gaining personal skills alongside of them.

How did you end up working in the nursery industry? I grew up on a cut flower farm in the Dandenong Rangers so my love for plants and nursery work started when I was quite young. My dad and Grandpa taught me how to grow and care for plants such as Liliums and Rhododendrons. I finished school and did a bit of landscaping which I loved but wanted more of a routine. I then started an apprenticeship working for a Protea nursery in Monbulk but wanted to expand my knowledge even more by growing more variety of bigger trees and shrubs. That is when I found Nishiki.

What is a typical day like for you? I usually start my day checking emails and preparing my week with plant checks such as production to retail. This is when I physically check plants that have been potted up and cared for 26


by our amazing team to see whether they are ready to sell or not. I have gained this knowledge and skill by working in sales and production over the years. I will also organise my truck run to Plantmark and Plant Multi to restock the stands with our fresh stock for the following day. I also try to do all my small jobs like checking label counts, putting new signs on our new plants and entering new data onto the computer.

Are any of your family members in the horticulture industry? As I mentioned before my Grandfather and Dad have always been in the horticulture industry. I was lucky enough to be born into such a passionate family who had such an awesome outlook on all things growing. I used to love driving around the farm with my Pop as I use to bombard him with questions on how and why things grew and why they looked the way they did, and I have never stopped learning and expanding my knowledge since then. My family have been such a huge inspiration to how I view horticulture and I will always be thankful for that.

Have you studied horticulture and where? I have successfully completed a 4-year apprenticeship at Swinburne university in which I learnt more than I ever thought I could and made some great long-life friends and connections along the way. I loved the study and work combination as it made the week feel so full and busy. I hope to one day study at a higher level to expand my knowledge even more.

Where would you like your career to go within the industry? I hope to continue my work at Nishiki Nursery and expand my knowledge on sales and how to run a small business. I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by great mentors who helped me understand why and how things happen within horticulture and I would love to be able to do the same once I become more knowledgeable. I cannot wait to be a mentor for the younger generation of horticulturalists in the coming years.

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