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Trainee diary – Cosi De Paola

Date posted: 06 May 2015

Last year I studied Cert II in Horticulture with the Botanic Gardens of South Australia. During my studies I came to the realisation that each tree, plant and shrub has its own unique history, and this fuelled my passion to gain more knowledge about the earth and the plants that grow upon it. The more I learn the more fascinated I became.

The experience inspired me to apply for the 2015 Horticultural Traineeship (Cert III), which allows me to learn and research, not only our Australian natives, but also exotic plants. My personal journey has also led me to research the traditional medicinal plants of the Native American Indians and the importance of preservation of plants for future generations. I’ve discovered that that traditional ways can often be forgotten so it’s important to keep the connection alive, helping people understand the importance of our natural environment.

I spent my first month as a trainee at Wittunga Botanic Garden where I was fortunate enough to experience close encounters with the local wildlife, including the fox. During my second month I worked with Botanic Gardens Horticultural Curator Matt Coulter at the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden Nursery, broadening my knowledge of seed sowing, plant propagation and plant identification. The nursery’s glasshouse has the ideal conditions to allow seeds to germinate and for cuttings to grow. My tasks included collecting potting mix, potting up plants, and pruning and sowing vegetable seeds for the kitchen garden in Adelaide Botanic Garden.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my work has been the propagation of plants for the Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden in Adelaide Botanic Garden. This work will help children gain a better understanding of plants from the variety of seedlings available and ultimately, where their food comes from.

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