Retailers Workshop - Understanding and Positively Influencing How Our Customers Judge Us

On Wednesday the 29th of August we had a great workshop with Jurek Leon at the Richgro headquaters. It was an enjoyable and informative session, and everyone took away some great points on how to look through the customers eyes when judging us and our businesses. We learned the importance of  identifying the different customer types and assessing what matters most to them, then looking at some of the non-essential things you do that can improve your customer's experience.
Thank you to the sponsors of the workshop: Richgro and GCA, to Jurek Leon from Terrific Trading for a really good workshop, and to everyone who could come along and share their own customer service experiences.

NEW MEMBER: Soil Solver

Our NGIWA member family continues to grow with the recent addition of Soil Solver to the group.  Welcome Joy Ross and her team!

Soil Solver is friable and easy to blend into sand. Simply measure and pour over the surface of the area to be treated and mix into the top 10cm of the garden sand, add well matured compost and then mulch over the top. You will immediately see the difference in texture, and moisture content.

Use Soil Solver to permanently change the structure of the sandy, water repellant soil by adding the natural kaolin clay and silts. After that you only need a small amount of compost as food for the plants each year. Clay and silt helps the garden to thrive during hot summers and prevents the soil leaching nutrients by slowing down the rate that water moves down through the soil profile so that nutrients stay close to the roots where the plants are able to easily access it.

NextGen Tour - Nuts About Natives

The first Nextgen event for 2018 just took place at the amazing ‘Nuts About Natives’ nursery in Karnup, and what an interesting tour it was! Starting off outside the tissue culture lab, Proprietors Ben Croxford and Anouska Cousin spoke about the finer details of tissue culture and the many seed recalcitrant species they’re able to successfully grow using this technique. Ben then showed us around the different growing areas, speaking about their deflasking and hardening processes and many other facets of their small yet very successful operation.

The tour concluded with a delicious bbq where everyone had the opportunity to chat and network with some new and familiar people within the industry.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Ben and Anouska for showing us all around their very interesting nursery which I’m sure everyone can agree, was worth the visit. Also a special thanks to our Nextgen event sponsor Baileys Fertiliser.

Stay tuned for our more great Nextgen events in the coming months.

Member Profile: Coast Road Palms

Coast Road Palms are one of the latest nurseries to join NGIWA and this month we took a behind the scenes look at one of Perth’s leading tropical plant growers.

Tucked off Bennett Springs Drive, Bennett Springs Beechboro, Coast Road Palms began from some very humble beginnings in 1987 on 10 acres of what can only be described as desert sands. Today, what started out as a hobby, Lou and Connie Varischetti, owners of Coast Road Palms, have now turned into a thriving family run business.

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NEW MEMBER: Volunteer Task Force

Welcome to the team from Volunteer Task Force who recently joined NGIWA as Associate Members.

Volunteer Task Force (VTF) has been serving the community since 1970. Their mission is to deliver services that support independence, enhance safety and amenity of people, and to build community through volunteering. Their services are aimed at supporting those who have difficulty with everyday tasks due to frailty or disability and they take an enablement approach with a focus on providing services “with” a person and not “for” or “to” a person. They work in partnership with people and their carers to increase independence and physical and social wellbeing.

Volunteer Task Force Inc. has recently announced that they will be merging with Community First International and Care Options Inc. to create a bigger, stronger, WA-based care organisation. Their new organisation will deliver care and services to over 10,000 clients across metropolitan and regional WA with a 400-strong workforce and over 600 volunteers.

NextGen Workshop - Grafting WA Flowering Gum and Growing Good Quality Eucalypts

Last week NGIWA Nextgenners were treated to an engaging, practical and hands-on Corymbia grafting workshop held at the City of Stirling’s Council production nursery in Karrinyup. The workshop and practical demonstration was led by Amanda Shade, Assistant Nursery Curator from Kings Park Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority who guided the group of 50 through the ins and outs of Grafting Corymbia ficifolia (Western Australian Flowering Gum). The ‘Mummy graft’ was the technique chosen with Cormybia maculata (Spotted Gum) used for the rootstock. From the get go, everyone enthusiastically tried their hand at grafting their very own WA Flowering Gum, with most even taking them at the conclusion of the workshop! All that grafting was hungry work and many stayed on after to chat/network whilst enjoying a delicious BBQ for lunch.
NGIWA would like to say a huge thanks to Amanda Shade from Kings Park, our Nextgen sponsor Baileys Fertiliser, and the City of Stirling for hosting the event.

NEW MEMBER: Coast Road Palms

Welcome to the crew at Coast Road Palms who recently joined NGIWA.  Coast Road Palms is a family business operating since 1987.
The nursery is set in 10 acres of tropical gardens, where you can view the growth of palms in their natural surrounds.

NGIWA Board 2017/2018

The NGIWA Annual General Meeting took place last Tuesday. Carole Fudge (Benara Nurseries) agreed to continue for a third term as NGIWA President and Craig Woodroffe (Ellenby Tree Farm) was elected Vice President. All previous board members - Nancy Scade (Australian Native Nursery), Geoff Richards (Richgro), Colin Groom (Domus Nursery), Genevieve Bailey (Baileys Fertiliser) and Michael Gorman (City Of Stirling) were re-elected for a further 12 months. Ross Hooper (Zanthorrea Nursery) will represent NGIWA on the national board.

We welcome our ninth board member elected, David Lullfitz from Plantrite making this the largest board NGIWA has had in many years. David brings considerable experience and knowledge to the table and we all look forward to working with him in growing this association.

Finally a thank you to our members who attended the AGM and dinner including Paul Beveridge (Perth Hills Veggie Co.), Kaye Close (Fickle Prickles), Delia Van Aurich (Hydroponics Xpress) and Neville Passmore (Honorary Member).

NEW MEMBER: The Green Life Soil Co.

We are thrilled to have Linda and Paul Mitchener from The Green Life Soil Co. come on board as our latest NGIWA members.  Understanding that Perth's sandy soils are are real challenge to grow anything in, they developed several specialist soil mixes designed to radically improve moisture and nutrient retention.

To learn more about The Green Life Soil Co. visit their website at

Member Profile - Fickle Prickles

Fickle Prickles is a Perth hills based cacti and succulent online store that began its journey in early 2009. It was developed through a passion and admiration of all cacti and succulents. What began as a part time hobby grew to an out of control addiction, and from there a business was born under the leadership of Kaye Close and daughter Danni.

With decades of horticultural experience Kaye and Danni take pride in producing healthy established plants in pots that are grown to suit Western Australian conditions and use the latest hygienic growing techniques to ensure their stock is pest and disease free and of a high quality.

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NEW MEMBER: Grasstrees Australia

Welcome to our latest NGIWA member. Grasstrees Australia is a family operated business committed to the preservation of endangered Western Australian native Grasstrees and Zamia Palms. Once extracted, plants are nursery stabilised for 12- 18 months, ensuring new root development and an optimum success rate.  By supplying to the public, landscapers, property developers, local councils and government departments, these plants can be recycled back into the West Australian landscape guaranteeing the longevity of this ancient flora.

The Retail Nursery and Display Centre is located in Wattle Grove and is open 7 days a week.

NEW MEMBER: Parkerville Berry Company

Welcome to David and Kelly Parnham of Parkerville Berry Company who have just joined as NGIWA members!

Parkerville Berry Company is a local, family owned and operated business that has been producing delicious, fresh blueberries since 2012. As the exclusive WA supplier of Mountain Blue Farms blueberries, they provide plants from the best blueberry breeding program in Australia.

From five acres in Parkerville, David and Kelly propagate from their plants to provide both commercial and retail plant varieties. They also grow out Tissue Culture plants sent from the Eastern states to ensure their plants are free from blueberry viruses.

NGIWA Christmas Party 2017

We held our Christmas drinks at the Balmoral Hotel in Vic Park last Tuesday to toast another successful year and catch up with old and new friends of the Association.
Joining us too were a number of industry guests including Ben Archibald from Touchwood Nursery, Paul Nash and the sales team from Corporate Sports Australia (CSA) and David and Kelly Parnham  from the Parkerville Berry Company. It was also terrific to see a number of our Honorary Members there with Deryn Thorpe, John Colwill and Neville Passmore all participating in the festivities.
Benefits of being a member of NGIWA certainly came to the fore for the evening with all enjoying the opportunity to spend time networking and particularly with CSA present, ask plenty of questions with regard to next year’s Perth Garden Festival. Also on hand to answer questions was Steve Blyth, WA’s FMS auditor.
It really was pleasing to see so many attend the event and once again this has shown that NGIWA is beating with a strong heart as members continue to support events in numbers.

Pest & Disease Workshop 2017

We had a fantastic response and turnout with over 35 members packed into the nursery at Men of The Trees, Hazelmere taking part in our annual Pest & Disease Management workshop with Andrew Manners and John Duff from the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries Qld.
Despite being a very hot day, it was an extremely informative program with all participants able to listen to present day diagnostic problems facing nurseries today, as well as having the opportunity to discuss personal problems facing their own nursery with experienced entomologists Andrew and John.

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Member Profile - The Green Life Soil Co

In 2001, horticulturists Linda & Paul Mitchener were looking for a tree change and stumbled across an old permaculture and environmental site on Farrall Road, Midvale. Within a short period, trading began under the name the Swan Garden Centre and whilst the range of plants and products they carried did increase, the soil supply side of the business also evolved and expanded. They started by making customised soil mixes for particular needs and specific plants at the customer's request. Over time, this evolved and was refined to the range of soils they now produce, and it was decided in early 2008 to change their name to reflect the emerging nature of the business - and thus The Green Life Soil Co. was born.

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NEW MEMBER: Aquaponics WA and Hydroponic Xpress

Welcome to Delia and Neville of Aquaponics WA and Hydroponic Xpress who have recently joined as NGIWA members. 

Hydroponic Xpress and Aquaponics WA is Perth's largest hydroponic shop and aquaponic warehouse and display centre. They have qualified and knowledgeable staff to answer all of your hydroponic and aquaponic questions and carry a range of Aeroponics, Aquaculture turbo tank hydroponics, Hydroponic Systems, Hydroponic Kits, Hydroponic Lights, Pumps, Air Pumps, Air Stones, Filters, Nutrients, Additives, Grow Rooms, Grow Tents, Fans, Filters, Pots and Growing Media.  Visit them at

Retailers Night - All The Dirt

Over 30 members headed to Dawson’s Garden World in Forrestfield for our spring Retailers Night last week with special guests from ‘All The Dirt”, Deryn Thorpe & Steve Woods.   The evening kicked off with a presentation from Gemma McQuade and Jeff Doyle from Yates, who kindly sponsored the evening. Yates are a household name when it comes to gardening and it was terrific to see some of their favourite products like Dynamic Lifter being rebranded and made more appealing to our garden centres for sale.
Steve and Deryn from the podcast "All The Dirt" provided a thoroughly entertaining presentation and demonstrated how by thinking outside the box, anything is achievable in connecting with the information-hungry, gardening public.

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NEW MEMBER: Plantrite

Welcome to Plantrite who joined as NGIWA members today.  NIASA accredited, Plantrite is a family owned business, specialising in the propagation and growing of Western Australian plants.  Their plants are grown for various revegetation and landscape projects throughout W.A., along with the ‘Garden Starter’ and ‘Proven Performer’ range of plants for the retail market.

NGIWA Awards Of Excellence 2017

As part of this year’s State Conference, members of NGIWA were invited to attend ‘The Awards of Excellence’ breakfast which was kindly sponsored by the Water Corporation.

The awards acknowledged the hard work of many of our members and are deemed an important part of our membership. A simple pat on the back says it all. Whether you are a winner or a second placer, NGIWA and its members embrace and acknowledge everyone from the small achiever to the innovator who promotes and strives for a better industry for everyone to work in.

Full list of winners can be found in the August edition of eNews (refer Archive).

NextGen Tour - The Seedling Factory

On Wednesday the 2nd of August, NGIWA NextGenners and member growers converged upon The Seedling Factory for an inside look around their production and growing facilities in Hope Valley and Olbury.

With the tour starting off at the outdoor growing area in Olbury, proprietor Ben Funnekotter led the enthusiastic group through the different growing areas, with vegetable seedlings as far as the eye could see. Producing up to 56 million seedlings per annum to many of the state's farmers, Ben spoke in great detail about just what it takes to run a nursery of such size, including irrigation management, glasshouse climate control, fertigation, and the use of automation in both his growing area in Olbury and the Hope Valley production nursery.  Ben made mention of the fact that the use of automation, although having its benefits can also be quite costly and time consuming to maintain, and sometimes the 'back to basics' approach can work out for the best.

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