The 10-month Horticulture Certificate Program is designed for students who seek to become professional gardeners. After 10 months, you will be ready for employment or self-employment in the field of horticulture. The program runs from January to November so students can follow an entire growing season.
2019 Program Dates: See Wait List
Who should enrol?
Applicants should be interested in plants and in creating and maintaining gardens. You should be physically fit, enjoy hands-on work and being outdoors in all kinds of weather. Gardening involves creating both order and beauty, so be prepared to perform repetitive tasks as well as use your creativity. There is also a more technical aspect involved when you learn about irrigation systems, hardscape features, and how to operate and maintain small equipment.
What you will do while you are here
You will learn all the basics – and much more – required to succeed in the field of horticulture. At least one third of your weekly class time is spent in the garden. Practical Skills and Plant Identification and Culture are the backbone of the program, with classes every week over the course of the 10 months.
Your theory courses will cover everything from Botany and Soil Science to Plant ID, Plant Health (Pests and Diseases), Integrated Pest Management, Turfgrass Management and Landscape Design. You will also learn about fruit and vegetable growing, permaculture, and other alternative approaches to gardening . Field trips and guest speakers complete the schedule. Topics as diverse as Bonsai, Ethnobotany, Invasive Plant Management, or Mason Bees will give you a well-rounded horticultural education.
Students participate in:
• The maintenance and development of the Gardens at HCP, performing a variety of tasks common to each season
• Garden projects
• Design projects
• Greenhouse work
• Field trips to local gardens and garden-related businesses
• Joint projects with the HCP garden volunteers, a dedicated and knowledgeable group, many of whom are experts in their individual garden collections
• Up to seven weekend duty sessions throughout the year
For a detailed list of courses, please see:
• Have a minimum of 80% attendance for each of the individual courses, and for the entire program
• Have missed no more than five Practical Skills sessions per term
• Complete all project work assigned
• Pass all courses with a minimum of 70% average – all courses in the program must be passed in order to graduate from the program
• Successfully complete Practical Skills and Safe Work Practices
• Successfully complete all Practical Skills Checklists
What you can do after graduation
Upon completion of the program, students receive a college certificate. They also complete the Horticulture Technician Foundation Program as outlined by the Industry Training Authority (ITA). Students will receive credit for the first two levels of apprenticeship training, as well as 500 work-based training hours toward their Red Seal Certification.
Graduates of our program find employment as maintenance gardeners; many build businesses that hire fellow graduates. They work in nurseries and greenhouses and as landscape designers; in food production; for municipalities, golf courses and public gardens.
Graduates who want to obtain their Red Seal certification can go on to attend Levels 3 and 4 of their technical training, which are also offered at the PHC.
• January—November, 44 weeks
• Full-time, 28.5 hours per week
• Mon-Thu 9am- 4pm, Fri 9am -12:30pm
• 2 weeks of work experience with local host employers
• 2 weeks summer break in July
How to apply
For program costs and how to apply please see:
Fees and Admission Requirements
Digital strategist, destination marketer, and garden tourism enthusiast, Scott McDonald can be found searching out the next offering on the BC Ale Trail or discovering something unique about a garden or local hidden gem. Previously a digital marketer at The Butchart Gardens and Canada 150 Community Leader for the City of Colwood, he is a member of the GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.