ODS E-News talks to Kim Morris, National President of the Australian Institute of Horticulture, about his career to date and the success of the association.
Can you tell us a bit about your background – education, employment etc?
I grew up in Sydney and went to Oakhill and Marist Colleges before abandoning Arts at Uni (much later and part-time) as everyone else had done the same!
How did you get into the horticulture industry?
I grew hand blown glass terrariums with a friend of mine who had a fern nursery at Oxford Falls. They were beautiful arty and costly, but great flops because the handmade cork tops were not sealed and we had to do a few refunds. But prior to that, I always had a bit of an interest in watching people in gardens more than anything. Later in Cairns we set up a massive Bougainvillea nursery where we grew about 1,000,000 bougainvilleas that are still growing around Australia and overseas probably.
What has been your career highlight to date?
There are so many privileges I have enjoyed. Being invited to be part of the team to design one of the largest Australian gardens in the world (37ha) in Zhanjiang China is one of them. Designing and installing hydroponic solar powered vegetable production units in remote indigenous communities gave me an education that all Australians should enjoy at some time in their lives. And of course, the privilege of being able to have direct influence on the profession of horticulture through the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
What, in your opinion, has contributed to the success of AIH?
AIH must keep itself relevant and after 52 years of evolution, it has reached a new paradigm as the national accreditation agency for Registered Horticulturists. This is one very positive and strategic step to get more people into the profession, supporting and encouraging students, recognising existing practitioners and finding opportunities with a range of governments, organisations and commerce to provide profitability in a financial and professional community sense.
What does the association have planned/coming up?
The national Professional Development Program that is shaped to localised needs and other larger road show events in Australia and possibly Singapore that is linked to the Registered Horticulturist program will evolve and be one of the most relevant ways to up skill and communicate through the networking process. We will expand the association we have with the Singapore National Parks Board and take AIH to Hong Kong at some stage to service existing members there. Ultimately I see AIH as Australasian to participate in the much wider profession and geography that utilises many of the talents, skills and people who have one thing in common - horticulture in whatever form it takes.