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Horticulture in the heart of Jerusalem

24 Jan 2016

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Image: Jerusalem flowers - Wikipedia

Diploma of Horticulture student Eric Cross is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, but not just one in celebration of completing his studies. Eric has been awarded a scholarship to work and study at the Jerusalem Botanic Gardens in 2016.

When Eric finished school he embarked on a Humanities Degree majoring in English, and although his time at university was fruitful, it wasn’t until he finished that he realised he had a different calling in life. A calling of the plant-based variety.

After a few years of working casually in property maintenance, Eric decided that he wanted some solid qualifications in horticulture and came to Melbourne Polytechnic to study at our Fairfield campus - our purpose built horticulture hub. He studied his Diploma full time and was impressed by the diversity of the course – all age groups, small classes, enough to really sink your teeth in to and plenty of hands-on, practical experience. A long way from the huge lecture halls of a university environment that he was used to.

Late last year, Eric submitted his application for the Jerusalem Botanic Gardens Scholarship Program and didn’t think too much more about it. In December he received an email stating that he had been successful and was over the moon; ‘this opportunity is huge and will be a really positive step in my future career in Horticulture.’

The program is run worldwide and students are selected on an application basis to spend time at the gardens to enrich their knowledge of horticulture outside of their home countries. The program runs for nine months to ensure students gain the full breadth of three seasons (the gardens are somewhat dormant in the winter months).

Jerusalem Botanic Gardens is set on 30 acres of sculptured land in the middle of the ancient city. The entire area is sectioned off into six different geographical areas; Southern Africa, Europe, North America, Australia, Couth West and Central China and the Mediterranean. There is also a Bonsai display, the Dworsky Tropical Conservatory and an audio-led Bible tour of the gardens.

As Eric prepares to pack his belongings into storage and head off on this epic journey, we wish him the best of luck and can’t wait for him to return and tell us all about it. Congratulations Eric!

INTERESTING FACT: what's the difference between Botanic and Botanical? absolutely nothing. Both come from the French word Botanique and both are correct in their meaning and spelling. Melbourne has the Royal Botanic Gardens whilst Hobart is home to the Royal Botanical Gardens. Same same.

If you would like to study horticulture at Melbourne Polytechnic, find out all you need to know here.