A Moruya mum has gone back to school at TAFE NSW to sharpen her horticulture skills despite owning a nursery and spending a lifetime propagating plants.
Robyn Lush, 47, has been growing plants since she could walk and decided to ditch her office job two years ago to pursue her passion, opening Mountain View Nursery in Moruya.
Despite her experience, she decided to enrol in a Certificate III in Horticulture at TAFE NSW Moruya in 2020 and got so much out of the course she has since enrolled four of her staff.
“Growing up in Moruya, I was always passionate about the outdoors and nature,” says Robyn.
“My dad always said to me, ‘If you want to do something in life, just go for it,’ and I was feeling a bit bogged down in my indoor job.
“I just had one of those life-changing moments where I realised I wasn’t really living and decided to follow my passion for plants.”
In July 2019, during a crippling drought and just months before bushfires would ravage the region, Robyn opened Mountain View Nursery, which specialises in unique and new varieties of plants.
The nursery has since given away hundreds of plants to bushfire victims to help the bush regeneration effort.
Robyn, who also holds a degree in equine science, says the Certificate III in Horticulture helped solidify and build on her existing knowledge.
“It’s such a great all-round course when it comes to chemicals, propagation and identifying plants,” she says.
“It’s a great way to get started in the horticulture industry, and the teacher, Gabi [Harding], is so knowledgeable and passionate. It’s easy to learn from her.”
TAFE NSW Moruya horticulture head teacher Gabi Harding encourages locals to consider a career in horticulture, saying it is a growth industry that offers flexibility, independence and intense job satisfaction.
“With a TAFE NSW qualification under your belt, you can do anything from working in a nursery or starting your own garden maintenance business, to working in local government or with national parks,” she says.
“A lot of our graduates start their own business – things such as mowing services, weed and plant management, helping people create new gardens or plant advice. It also allows you to work outdoors, and after the year we’ve had with everyone locked down, it’s great to get out in nature and rediscover yourself.”