Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ISA HK/China --- Certified Practicing Horticulturist (CPH)

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Dear Station Members,

While in Singapore, the Station Manager was told by their Greenery Professionals that there are 5 Greenery Professions running parallel without preference to build their Garden City as follows:

1. Horticulture
2. Arboriculture
3. Landscape Architecture/Design
4. Turf Management
5. Irrigation Engineering

The 5 professions would work independently & none would override or instruct the other, because they respect each can not replace the other in knowledge or expertise in any job. The result is that Singapore is internationally famous for her greenery construction. Their "Garden City" or now called the "City in a Garden", has become a crown jewel in Asia. Our China brothers & sisters flock by the thousands every year to visit this remarkable land, to learn how to build a Dream City of their own.

Among the 5 professions, Horticulture is the one adding colour, texture & fragrance in a landscape. Imagine having a garden without shrubs, herbs & groundcovers. Would the sight & smell come from just trees & turf alone? Apparently not. Horticultural Design is an important element in softscape that without it, the outcome would be flat & tasteless. Horticulture is an indispensible part in Garden Design.

When compared with Arboriculture, Horticulture is a much broader subject. It engulfs practically any Plant Science from production of cut flowers to transplanting large palms, nursery management, tissue culture, garden maintenance, soil science, pest control, & greenhouse technology. Practically besides trees, the study on plants belongs to Horticulture. It is vast, scientific & profound. It is an integral part in any Garden Design. The Station Manager sometimes compares Horticulture as Veterinary Science with Arboriculture as Human Medicine, where the former deals with any animal except human. Both disciplines are constantly under active research, & new technology evolves all the time.

There appears to be more Horticulturists around the world than Arborists. In HK alone, one can regard all the staff working in Flower Market Road as Horticulturists. They specialize in their own species more than anybody who is not in their field. Credentials alone here may not apply. In the practical world, what's the point having piles of certificates & diplomas, if one can not do the work ?? That would only fool the ignorant. The same analogy would apply to the nursery growers & landscapers in China, & is also true for the Orchid & Fruit Producers in Taiwan.

In our territory of of HK, Macau, Taiwan & China, Arboriculture has become a hot spot in recent years. This is mainly because our society now understand Tree Planting invites risks. Tree Failure can kill & damage properties, which would lead to social uproar & law suits. Therefore, we need Arborists to look after our trees. Another contribution may be that ISA HK/China has successfully promoted ISA Arboriculture in our territory.

On the other hand, is it not true that the Horticulturists are equally working hard, to provide our society with beautiful greenery as we see everywhere? Somehow we do not hear much of them. They are sometimes downgraded as hobbyists providing only amateur past time, & are largely ignored for publicity. In actual fact, Horticulturists in our territory have many more societies than the Arborists, but they do not appear to have one strong group to unite their industry & to assert standards. Their social status is also blur without much professional recognition by anybody.

There is an organization called the International Society of Horticultural Science (ISHS, set up more than a hundred years ago, & is full of professors & researchers doing studies constantly in Horticulture. But this organization does not appear to offer international credentials like the ISA. And they do not have an equivalent body in our territory like ISA HK/China, which constructs Practicing Credentials like the IPA ( to serve our community. Only if the local Horticulturists can form their own strong group under an international backing to produce professional qualifications, that they can gain social recognition & professional status in our territory. Getting an international backing is very important, because anything local can not cross boundary, unless your boundary is so big like that of ISA HK/China.

ISA HK/China has learned that there is a Certified Practicing Horticulturist (CPH) credential training program (course code is CUGE-PCP-7002) offered by CUGE ( in Singapore. This may be what our local Horticulturists are looking for to upgrade their professional image. Further details can be obtained by contacting CUGE directly. It is possible that a special class can be formed for the HK Horticulturists if a certain number can be gathered, like the Certified Arborist class in Nparks in Dec 2006.

Australia & New Zealand also offer their own CPH, & there are a few of their CPH holders in HK at present.

Two persons in ISA HK/China are willing to help the local Horticulturists to form their group :

1. Mike Leung ---
2. Allen Lim, CPH ---

We have hundreds of Horticulturists in ISA HK/China. Those who wish to progress themselves can contact the above persons for further discussion. Arborists want to be friends of Horticulturists anytime, & we are glad to lend a helping hand to them. We can envisage the future Horticultural Group in our territory to be much bigger in size, due to a much wider diversity of membership in Horticulture. However, the future Horticultural Group would need strong leadership & positive strategies to succeed. ISA HK/China is willing to share some of our experience with them.

We look forward to a strong & united Horticultural Group to emerge in our territory, & may they not forget the Arborists are their friends always. By working together, we shall do good to our society to improve the quality of living for everyone.

best regards,

Sammy Au
Station Manager

"If a tree is not designed, installed, maintained & inspected properly, it is likely to become a liability rather than an asset."

"Trees are good for the community. Trees need care like human beings. Arborists are the Tree Care Professionals."


Anonymous said...

Sad your horticulturists have no position. Very different in our place. They talk too oud too often.

Anonymous said...

Our horticulturist position has been suppressed in hong kong for too long. Thank you for exposing it for us.

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