Simon Holloway, VegePod

Simon grew up on a hobby farm on the far north coast of NSW and has always been an avid gardener. He jumped at the opportunity to join Vegepod founder, Matt Harris, five years ago and has not looked back since.

As a co-owner, one of Simon’s main responsibilities has been to drive the Accessible Gardening and Community Programs arm. 

After entering into a formal collaboration with the federal government and Southern Cross University, Simon and the team have exhibited around the globe promoting accessible gardening and therapeutic horticulture, including Chelsea.

Simon Holloway

Richard Herring, Bunnings Ashfield

Richard Herring is New Zealand born and came to Australia in the early 80’s. He has an Associate Diploma in Applied Science (landscape) and qualified as a horticulturalist at Ryde TAFE.
Self-employed as a landscaper in the Blue Mountains for 10 years, Richard worked on construction and maintenance projects which included several Sorensen gardens being restored.
Richard has spent 15 years in local government managing open space assets and constructing capital works. He had a special focus on sports grounds and turf management and was on the committee of the Sports Turf Association.
He was also contracted for a year managing the parliamentary triangle grounds in Canberra which included the National Rose Garden at old parliament house.
For the past five years Richard has been a horticulturalist at Bunnings dealing with people’s practical problems with maintenance and design. He runs successful garden workshops as well as featuring in Bunnings new online Garden Diary series.


Richard Herring

Natalie Ciccio, Inner West Neighbour Aid – 5 Senses Garden

Natalie joined Inner West Neighbour Aid to bring together her background in social work and her love of gardening. She has worked in community mental health for over seven years and attained a qualification in Horticulture as an extension of her passion for gardening and plants. She also took part in the first therapeutic horticulture course in NSW.

Natalie will be talking about the 5 Senses Garden, an inclusive community green space developed by City of Canada Bay and Inner West Neighbour Aid within Rhodes Park, Concord West. The Garden is a place that brings together the young, the elderly, people from all walks of life, cultures and abilities. People participate in activities and workshops while enjoying the beauty of the garden and its surroundings.  The space is wheelchair accessible and allows visitors to engage with all their senses in the different areas of the garden.

Come along and join Natalie as she shares some of the stories and experiences of the people who attend the weekly workshops at the 5 Senses Garden.



Natalie Ciccio

Angie Thomas, YATES

Angie Thomas is a horticulture consultant to Yates, providing educational and inspirational gardening information to Yates staff, customers, consumers and the media. She frequently runs gardening workshops at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and Centennial Parklands and is a guest speaker at garden clubs and shows. Angie has written for several gardening and lifestyle magazines and websites and regularly appears on local and national radio shows to talk about gardening.
She is a member of the Horticultural Media Association and also sits on the expert technical panel of the Smart Approved Water Mark, which is an independent international water efficiency scheme that certifies products and services that saves water.
Angie’s love for plants began with a Bachelor degree in Agricultural Science from the University of Sydney. She’s passionate about the health and well-being benefits of gardening, growing food for her family (and neighbours and friends), filling her house with indoor plants and teaching and inspiring people how to start gardening or achieve better success from their gardens. She also loves sharing her enthusiasm for gardening with her two young sons.


Angie Thomas

Mary Farlie-Cuninghame, Royal Horticultural Society NSW Inc.

Mary has been a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Floral Art Group of NSW, for approximately five years. She was awarded the Norma Luke A Grade Encouragement Award in 2017.
Mary is a whirlwind of activity, teaching Floristry at TAFE NSW in three locations, and working part-time in a local florist shop in Crows Nest - she has floral creativity oozing from every pore. She has an abundance of enthusiasm for all things floral and will share some inspirational ideas and provide some useful tips on how to create art with flowers. 

Mary Farlie-Cuninghame


Jeff Smith, TAFE NSW Ultimo

Having worked in his mother’s florist shop from a very young age, Jeff also learnt from the legendary late Bernie Gadd which has strongly influenced his style and approach. Jeff is a part time teacher at TAFE NSW - Ultimo, and works in industry.

He is now emerging as a demonstrator and tutor and as part of that pathway, competition floristry provides him with a platform to expand his skills and knowledge.

Jeff has won 1st Place in the NSW/ACT Florist of the Year 3 years in a row. 

Jeff Smith

Elzbieta Wakeham, TAFE NSW Ryde and Hornsby

Elzbieta Wakeham is the Head Teacher at TAFE NSW Floristry Ryde and Hornsby.  She has been delivering the TAFE Floristry courses for almost 15 years.

Prior to teaching, Elzbieta owned a successful retail floristry shop in Drummoyne for 18 years, as well as an events and functions business.

Her passion for flowers started in her family’s floristry business in Poland and this passion continues to date with her constant involvement with industry, in addition to her endless commitment to her TAFE NSW teaching team and students.

Elzbieta strives to involve her students in as many real-life industry activities as possible, to develop their creativity, skills and confidence to ensure they are job ready on completion of their course.  Her students take part in many TAFE NSW and industry events including the Royal Easter Show, NSW Training Awards, Sydney Olympic Park events, Regional and National World Skills Competitions and the bi-annual Floristry Showcase held at TAFE NSW Ryde and Hornsby, which is held specifically to highlight her students’ achievements to industry and community guests.


Elzbieta Wakeham

Amal Awad, writer, journalist and author

Amal Awad is a Sydney-based writer, journalist, author and screenwriter. Amal is a regular contributor to SBS Life and has written for such publications as ELLE and Frankie, and online portals like Daily Life, Sheilas and Junkie. Amal is also a casual producer for ABC Radio National.

Amal frequently writes and speaks about issues of society, religion and popular culture. She has addressed festivals, universities, youth groups and community organisations and has appeared on national radio.

Her latest book, Friday with my Folks highlights the subject of ageing and illness from her perspective as an adult daughter grappling with a parent’s decline.

Amal Awad

Sydney Flower School

Mother & daughter team, Judith and Kylie Browne, co-founded Sydney Flower School in 2013 with the long-term aspiration of providing Sydney with a premier, inclusive, inspiring, educational, supportive, collaborative, creative go-to space for all floral loving folk.

Having worked in the Sydney floral industry for over four decades, all students of Sydney Flower School, whether casual, aspiring or professional, are gifted Judith’s extensive industry experience, skills and knowledge along with her broad network of floral industry contacts.

Utilising these contacts, along with Kylie’s background in design, they have assembled a team of passionately skilled floral educators and continually strive to inspire their students via both on-trend and historically referenced, industry recognised techniques.

With a priority to showcase locally grown products it doesn't matter what time of year you choose to attend a class, workshop or event at Sydney Flower School you will only work with the freshest seasonal materials, providing endless hand-on opportunities to gain the necessary skills and confidence to master any design, any flower, any foliage.

Judith Browne

Kylie Browne

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