WHAT IS AMENITY HORTICULTURE?
Horticulture can be divided into two sectors:
- Crop Production
- Amenity Horticulture, which is involved with growing plants for recreational or ornamental purposes. However, these should not be seen as clear-cut divisions.
Boundaries defining the two sectors tend to vary from country to country and between horticultural institutions and employers. For example, some horticulturists might view floriculture enterprises or wholesale nurseries as being in the production sector, while others would classify them as amenity industries. Major sectors within the amenity horticulture industry typically include the following:
- Landscape industry
- Parks and gardens
- Turf management
- Nurseries – retail and wholesale
- Interior landscaping
Learn to manage gardens, parks and other forms of amenity horticulture with a Distance Learning Course
There are 7 lessons in this course:
- Nature and Scope of the Amenity Horticulture Industry
- What is amenity horticulture
- Landscape industries
- Parks and gardens
- Turf management
- Interior plantscaping
- Global Variations: Nature and Scope of the Amenity Horticulture Industry in Different Countries
- The changing nature of amenity horticulture
- PBL project to create and present a plan that identifies and compares global variations in the amenity horticulture industry.
- Benefits of Amenity Horticulture
- Amenity horticulture and society
- Aesthetic value
- Health benefits
- Benefits of gardening
- Horticultural therapy
- Kitchen garden programs
- Community gardens
- Recreational benefits of public open space
- Economic benefits
- Nature based tourism
- Private land use for recreation
- Environmental benefits
- Amenity Horticulture Management Options
- Management of amenity sites
- Management processes: planning, organising controlling, leading, etc
- The organisational structure
- Managing natural environments
- Good and bad management decisions
- Legal concerns for amenity horticulture
- Legal and illegal plants
- Law and money
- Land ownership
- Land planning and planning processes
- Central place theory
- Psycho social considerations
- Environmental concerns
- Determining Best Practice
- Best practice management
- How is best practice determined
- Quality systems
- Managing finance
- User pays pricing
- Managing physical resources
- Staff management
- Teams based management
- Managing workplace safety
- Risk control
- Preparing for the Future
- Future of Amenity horticulture
- Ecologically sustainable development
- PBL project to identify the current impacts on the environment of amenity horticulture operations in your area and suggest ways that ESD will impact on those operations and on the community in the short and long term.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
What You Will Do
- Describe the complexity of the amenity horticulture industry.
- Compare the changing complexity of the amenity industry in the UK, your own country (if different to the UK), and at least one other country.
- Discuss the diverse benefits that amenity horticulture offers to society.
- Explain processes underlying the natural and manmade environments used to manipulate and control amenity sites effectively within economic and environmental parameters.
- Identify legal, social, economic and environmental conditions that impact on amenity industry.
- Demonstrate prudent use of financial and physical resources to manage amenity landscapes.
- Identify and review the changing complexity of the amenity industry
Amenity horticulture has a vital role to play in the future management of the environment. As custodians of both natural and developed landscapes, amenity horticulturists will be increasingly responsible for ensuring the Earth’s resources are used in a responsible and sustainable manner.
This is a module was developed originally as part of the RHS M.Hort (based on curriculum developed by the Royal Horticultural Society); this can be taken either as part of the M.Hort Program, as a module in one of our other qualifications or as a stand alone course (Ideal for use as a Professional Development program for persons working in the horticulture industry anywhere in the world).
THE CHANGING NATURE OF AMENITY HORTICULTURE
Amenity horticulture was once a labour intensive industry, requiring relatively large numbers of people carrying out a multitude of physical tasks ranging from skilled work, such as tree surgery and pruning, to heavy labouring work such as digging or moving heavy loads of soil and rocks.
Engineering and scientific innovations, particularly since the mid 20th century, have changed the nature and scope of work in amenity horticulture. Innovations have not been the only factors in bringing about change though. Changing fashions, different lifestyles, economic pressures, and environmental changes have greatly impacted on the types of facilities and services used by the amenity horticulture industry, and also influenced what people want and expect from amenity horticulture.
Consider the following examples:
- Concern about water shortages is causing many gardener owners to choose different plants, or to manage their plants differently, for example, using more mulch and implementing other water conservation techniques.
- When the cost of maintaining gardens (private or public) increases too much, we seek garden designs that are low or no management.
- Machinery is allowing us to handle heavy jobs faster and with less manpower (eg. using machinery to reach the tops of tall trees, mow large areas, and remove dead trees), but only if the scale of operation is large enough to make the purchase and maintenance of expensive equipment viable.
- Services are being carried out more and more by specialist contractors (outsourcing).
- The world’s population is increasing. This increases the market for amenity horticulture, along with everything else. There may well be potentially increased demand in line with population growth (but this is a potential, and not necessarily a reality).
- The amount of time that people work, sleep, rest, and participate in leisure activities will affect the need for amenity horticulture facilities such as sports grounds, public parks and golf courses.
- The way people live and use their time in developed societies is in a constant state of change. People now spend more time using electronic devices (computers, i-pods, TVs etc), and on a pro rata basis, may spend less time using public parks or in other leisure pursuits. On the other hand, the more health and exercising programs are promoted or supported institutionally, the more people need outdoor areas to exercise, relax and find contact with nature.
- As cities grow and land prices increase, the available land (both public and private land) for horticulture is likely to diminish. The amount of horticulture does not necessarily decrease as a result – but the nature and scope changes.
- As people become more affluent, they have surplus money to pay people to landscape and maintain their gardens, and even care for their indoor plants.
- Legislative changes can (and have) also affected the nature and scope of amenity horticulture. Planning laws in some places require certain landscaping to be carried out and approved as part of property developments. Other laws require planting to be undertaken or maintained in a certain way; for example, ensuring branches or roots do not damage neighbouring properties, and controlling the spread of noxious weeds. Water safety concerns result in legislation to fence pools and ponds.
- Knowledge and awareness of health and safety factors increases and impacts on amenity horticulture. Certain plants that cause allergy problems are being avoided; fire resistant plants are being planted in preference to highly inflammable plants. Property security is another concern in garden design.
- As the physical and psychological importance of plants is understood and acknowledged, the nature and degree of attention given to amenity horticulture changes.
“This is the place to start for anyone with an interest in amenity horticulture or who wishes to understand the industry. Graduates will develop knowledge of the industry at both a global and local level of the different sectors of the industry and become familiar with responsible environmental management strategies of natural and created landscapes.” - Gavin Cole B.Sc., Psych.Cert., Cert.Garden Design, MACA, ACS Tutor.