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NMIT students shine at Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show

07 Apr 2010

For NMIT student Linda Day her holiday home at Kennett River on the Great Ocean Road is more than just a peaceful refuge. It was also the inspiration behind her prize-winning Achievable Garden display design at this year's Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

The former teacher and education centre manager won the Lysaght award for her “Coastal Garden” display. “I love the natural environment down here, the wonderful tall trees and the koalas and echidnas. It's a place where you feel healed.” Linda's garden display featured a hammock and a table with a tea tray and a novel by Tim Winton. “I had wonderful feedback. People said they found it very inviting and felt drawn into it.”

The 55-year-old is currently completing her Certificate III in Horticulture at the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE's Greensborough Campus. Taking part in the competition has made her rethink her career options. “I'd never considered design because I was focussed on garden maintenance. But this has encouraged me to think about garden design as a possibility. People have already asked me to do some work for them. I feel like the sky's the limit.”

Linda says she's enjoyed the student experience at NMIT. “We've had some really inspiring teachers who have an extraordinary wealth of knowledge about plants. They've been incredibly supportive. It's a lovely environment to study and work in.”

Six NMIT students won prizes at this year's event. In the Advanced Floral Student Design competition, Jet Paungphaka won first prize, while Myhanh Rutledge was awarded a Certificate of Merit. Jenna Mellerick won the LIAV Student Design competition (formally the Flemings Student Design Competition). In the Achievable Gardens competition, Rosalie Wrest won second prize (a silver medal) for her Japanese Meditation Garden and Lindy Robinson won the bronze award for her garden “Simple Views”.

NMIT Horticulture, Head of Department, John Neilson says competing at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is an invaluable experience for NMIT students because it gives them the opportunity to make industry contacts. “It's not about winning. It's about involvement and experience. The students learn a lot about themselves. They get to design and construct their own garden. The teachers will oversee the work but it's up to the students to make the decisions.”

NMIT's horticulture courses are designed so that students are given the opportunity to take part in the annual event, with one whole subject given over to preparation for the show. “A lot of our students are given the opportunity to participate,” Mr Neilson says. “We had eight altogether this year. Next year we're expecting to have 20 or 30. We have very high hopes.”

This year's bronze award winner Lindy Robinson was keen to enter this year's competition after helping NMIT students build their gardens at last year's show. “I really wanted to be a part of it this year. It was a brilliant week. During the lead up you put so much emotion into this one design. To see people taking photos of your work when the garden is built, that's quite humbling,” she says.

The 34-year-old former stockbroker decided on a career change just a little over a year ago. “It was a complete turnaround for me when I decided I wanted to work outdoors. It's hard to believe here I am just a year later.”

NMIT's Horticulture Department offers courses in nursery, landscaping, turf management, arboriculture, parks & gardens, general horticulture and conservation at NMIT's Fairfield and Greensborough campuses. For more information please visit: www.nmit.edu.au/studyareas/horticulture.

See Image Gallery from Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2010

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or jamesgardener@nmit.vic.edu.au

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on seven campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.

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