School of Horticulture: Academic Curriculum | Niagara Parks Canada
All Courses are mandatory. The academic courses at the School of Horticulture build on the practical horticulture experience gained while maintaining the indoor and outdoor plant collections, gardens and landscape features on the 40-hectare Botanical Gardens School campus. Most academic courses are taught from September to March, with the exception of such courses as plant identification and horticultural land surveying. The academic program constitutes 30% of the time the students study in the entire program (70% practical) and comprises 50% of the student's final grade each year.
YEAR 1 *=2 courses, 2 credits
Introductory course in tree care including ropes, equipment, climbing techniques, pruning and types of cuts, cabling and bracing, cavity work, tracing and wound repair, tree removal, chain saw safety, tree diagnosis and value assessment.
An examination of the fundamentals of plant biology, with special emphasis on structure and function of plant systems and their relation to horticultural principles and practices. Subjects of discussion include taxonomy, the plant cell, the root, stem, leaf, flower, seed and fruit.
Landscape Design I - Drafting and Plans*
This two course introduction into the profession of landscape design introduces students to the fundamentals of drafting and the theory of landscape design. In both terms, students become familiar with the tools and techniques required to prepare a landscape plan. The reasoning and history of design is presented and students are encouraged to be constructively critical of landscape design work around them. Fundamental elements and principles of design and the design process are taught. A variety of assignments challenge the students’ abilities and creativity in drafting skill, spatial analysis and small residential design.
Communications I (English Review) (non credit compulsory course)
A computerized, independent study, introductory course designed to improve the students’ written skills through individual exercises and computer tutorials. Topics covered are through test assessment. This course is recognized on the transcript.
An introduction to the study of the insect as a biological organism and its impact on and importance to horticultural crops. Special attention is paid to control measures both biological and chemical.
This course will introduce students to the principles of annual bedding design and use of colour along with techniques for culture and maintenance. Roses, herbaceous perennials, bulbs and pansies are also studied with respect to design principles and maintenance. Reading assignments are an integral part of this course.
Fruit and Vegetable Culture
A practical study of the major cultivated fruit and vegetable crops, with emphasis on cultural practices for both the commercial grower and home gardener. Areas of discussion include botanical classification, site preparation and field crop protection, fruit cultivar and rootstock selection, irrigation, nutrient requirements, pest management and storage requirements.
This compulsory non-credit course is recognized on the transcript and is to ensure that students can solve routine computational problems such as trigonometry, algebra and percentage calculations. Course material is reviewed by independent study and computer tutorials. Topics covered are determined through test assessment upon student’s entry to the School.
Plant Collection (½ credit)
First year students are involved in active and accurate collection procedures. This exposes students to the various stages of plant development necessary for accurate identification.
Plant Identification I and II*
These two courses expose the student to methods of plant identification through outdoor tours and classroom sessions. Plant Identification I and II cover the study of bulbs, perennials, annuals, weeds, broadleaf evergreens and ground covers.
This course is designed to help the students identify some of he most common indoor plants, describe their specific cultural requirements, recognize relevant common pests and diseases and to gain a reasonable proficiency in problem diagnosis. It will also provide an interior plantscape industry overview discussing topics such as: design, installation, maintenance and business management.
This is a further study of trees including: tree selection process, planting techniques, tree care and pruning theory and techniques. Specific site considerations and site alterations and maintaining trees in urban conditions will also be discussed.
This course is designed to help students enhance their oral communication skills. It focuses on interpersonal and group communication and oral presentations.
Further study of important insects and their effect on horticultural crops. Emphasis is on recognition, economic importance and methods of control. Each student will complete an insect collection.
Greenhouse Environment and Production
A study on understanding environmental factors in the greenhouse and their effect on plant growth. The relationship between photosynthesis, respiration, temperature, light, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, water and the greenhouse structure will be discussed.
Horticultural Land Surveying
Field work and theory is presented to students so that they will have field skills, develop proficiency in the use of basic surveying equipment and be able to do surveying necessary for horticulture including such things as plan layout, cut and fill, and locating topographical features.
Introduction to basic construction, use of hand tools, estimating materials, and developing a working knowledge in the construction of retaining walls, patios, fences, decks, walkways, etc.
Landscape Design II
Students will have the opportunity to explore the challenges of incorporating hard landscape features into residential design problems. Features such as fences, walls, decks and walkways will be discussed. Working drawings and details are reviewed to provide the student with a means to detail a specific item in a landscape design. Increased drafting speed is encouraged throughout and opportunities for client/consultant presentations are provided.
An introductory course designed to build the students’ managerial ability through discussions on organization, instruction, planning, directing and communication.
Plant Identification III, IV*
Shrubs, vines and conifers are studied through classroom sessions and outdoor tours.
Plant Pathology I
Students are familiarized with the roles of plant parasites in causing disease and to recognize typical symptoms and methods of control for a specific number of pathological plant diseases.
Practical Equipment Maintenance (non-credit compulsory course)
This 1 day workshop for second year students provides an opportunity to participate in and become familiar with proper operation and preventative maintenance techniques for a selection of equipment commonly used in the horticulture industry.
An introduction to the origin and proper practical management of soil for horticultural purposes. Topics covered include nature, origin and classification of soil, mineral and organic soils, supply and availability of plant nutrients in mineral soils, soil components, physical properties, soil organism, organic matter, irrigation techniques, soil erosion and control.
A further study of soils with emphasis on soil colloids, soil chemistry, soil pit, macro and micro nutrients, as well as fertilizer calculations and management.
This intensive course covers turfgrass culture in Northern Temperate climates. Areas of study include environmental influence, temperature, water, light, edaphic relations, as well as cultural practices of mowing, fertilizing, irrigating, cultivating and establishing turfgrass.
This course is designed to help students develop the skills and strategies required for effective written business communication. It covers memos, letters and reports for routine and special situations as well as résumés and other documents for employment purposes.
Plant Health Care
This course covers classification, safety and proper calculation and application of pesticides in horticultural situations. Current concerns and issues of pesticide use in relation to the environment are discussed. This course prepares the student to attain Ontario Pesticide Exterminator’s Licences.
Landscape Design III (2 courses - 1 credit)
Further development of the students’ ability to design and create solutions to perceived problems. Use of retaining walls, fountains and water systems will be discussed, as will tendering and estimating. This includes computer-aided design.
Management Training II, III*
Two courses building on Management Training I, developing the students’ ability to market, plan, direct, and evaluate a business as well as to understand contracts, labour relations and employment legislation.
Plant Identification V and VI*
These two courses focus on the identification and culture of deciduous trees based on morphological features in summer and winter.
Plant Pathology II
A further discussion of practical aspects of plant pathology by emphasizing symptomatological and diagnostic aspects along with appropriate control measures.
The Plant Propagation course is focused on the principles and practices of propagating horticultural plants, including an introduction to tissue culture.
The purpose is to develop in-depth knowledge of a particular horticulture topic through intensive research and to gain oral presentation skills. It begins with topic selection, research, paper submission suitable for publication and presentation of the topic in third year. The research papers are evaluated by instructional staff for horticultural content, proper grammar and report writing skills. A workshop is held for the students to properly prepare them for this aspect of the course. Instructional staff, first, second and third year students collectively evaluate the 45-minute oral presentation. Another aspect of this course, evaluated by instructional staff and all students, is the 20-minute oral presentation of their internship experience presented at a weekly student assembly.
An in-depth study of selected crops used for floral displays and exhibition. Original production, time, media, environmental conditions, staking and training, fertilizers, diseases and insects will be discussed.