LEARN TO BE A LANDSCAPE PROFESSIONAL
- Extensive training for an exceptional career a landscape contractor or garden designer.
- An experiential learning program incorporating lots of practical experience
- Sound training in foundation knowledge required for a successful and sustained career.
Learn to design all types of landscapes, manage projects and to adapt and confront new problems as they arise.This course has been developed by a team of highly respected, qualified and experienced landscape professionals from the U.K., Spain, Australia, and several other countries. If you want a comprehensive landscaping design course this is it. Study with the professionals in horticultural distance education, study at home or online with ACS.
Duration: 2100 hours (2 to 3 years full time study or equivalent at your own pace)
Note that each module in the Qualification - Diploma In Landscaping is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.
Landscape Fashions Change - Long Careers Require an Ability to Change Too
Landscaping is a multidisciplinary field of endevour -and that's a big part of it's attraction.
A good landscape professional will inevitably; over the course of their career; be faced with a huge variety of challenges. They will need to be not only a designer, but a technician, a manager, an artist and a tradesman: all rolled into one.
Landscapes come in a wide range of different types, from natural to formal and public to private. Some landscapers will specialize (perhaps in residential, maybe public parks, or perhaps commercial properties). The work on offer in any one place, will change from time top time though. At one point in time, there may be a high demand for natural gardens; and five years later, that demand may have changed completely.
Making a Rainforest Garden
A rainforest is made up of levels or strata of vegetation. These are generally referred to as the upper storey, middle storey and the lower storey, or ground covers. In a typical domestic block it is important to realise that you should not plant rainforest species that will grow to 20m or those that have invading destructive roots like, for example, umbrella trees. For many gardens those plants that would normally be classed as middle storey plants, would best be used as the upper storey plants, so that the rainforest landscape takes on a human scale.
Pioneer plants are usually fast growing with a spreading canopy. They are however relatively short-lived and may need removal at some later date. These plants are important as they provide the necessary shade and leaf litter, which helps to retain moisture and improves the organic matter content of the soil. These plants also provide the essential shade for ferns and ground covers, and protection for the slower growing species.
Climax plants are those plants that require some shade while young, but which eventually outgrow the shade of the pioneer plants. They are long-lived. These are planted after the pioneer plants are between one and two years old with variable spacing distances (e.g. 1.5m to 3m apart). A reasonable canopy can be developed in about five years, depending upon species suitability to your climatic region.
Ground cover and other under storey plants require plenty of shade and shelter. They are best planted after pioneer plants are well grown and climax plants are well established. These plants consist of mainly ferns, orchids, native lilies, gingers and small palms. Such plants prefer moist but not waterlogged sites. As these plants are at eye level, you may wish to provide contrast to the all-green rainforest by adding colourful ‘tropical” plants. If, however, you are a purist, you may prefer to grow only native ground covers.
Maintaining a Rainforest Garden
Watering: Once established, many rainforests are self-sustaining. These however, are in districts that receive about 750mm of rainfall each year. In other areas, additional watering is recommended in dry times to prevent plant death. Hosing the canopy reduces transpiration (water loss from leaves) and also cleans the plants. The use of trickle irrigation or sprinklers will place the necessary water exactly where it is required.
Mulching: An essential part of the rainforest that must be kept up, in volume, is mulch. Continual leaf fall may supplement this mulch, but if the site is steep, new mulch may need to be added to overcome erosion or wash off. A layer of mulch provides a cool environment for the roost, a holder for moisture and a continual supply of mild fertiliser. Perhaps more importantly, it provides the home for countless microbes to make the ecosystem complete.
Fertilisers: A balanced fertiliser can be spread over the area and watered in. Tropical fertiliser at a rate of 1kg per 5m2 applied three or four times during the year is recommended for tropical rainforests. Blood and Bone or pelleted manure are also suitable. Organically based fertilisers are the best for this ecosystem.
Weed Control: With adequate mulch and reduced light, few weeds will grow in the rainforest. Since weeds compete for light, moisture and nutrients, any that appear are best pulled out upon sight or spot sprayed.
Future Plantings: To obtain the succession of rainforest development and replacement of dead plants, future plantings may be necessary. Try not to transplant rainforest plants each season until a final site is decided as this only results in weak plants. Once a plant has been planted, leave it there unless it is essential that it be removed or transplanted.
Pest and Diseases: As this garden is to be an environmentally sensitive one, it is best not to use any toxic chemicals. Try to leave insects for their own predators. If possible, manually collect insects or disease-damaged foliage and destroy them elsewhere. If sprays must be used, consider the use of organic sprays such as garlic or pyrethrum.