Joshua Taylor became interested in horticulture from a young age after being inspired by family members who were avid gardeners. From there, a dream blossomed.

When Joshua Taylor was a little boy, he became interested in growing vegetables.

His mum, dad and nan were all green thumbs and Joshua followed in their footsteps. “That’s where the spark ignited,” says Joshua. “It wasn’t long before I started mastering some indoor plants. Soon, all of the rooms and balcony filled up with hundreds of different plants.”

In Year 10, Joshua did work experience at a wholesale nursery close to home, Southern Advanced Plants, and got a taste for working in horticulture.

“I was thrilled and knew that’s what I wanted to pursue,” he says. “It was a bit daunting because of the scale of what they’re working with, but it was really good experience.”

At 16, Joshua started his Certificate III in Production Nursery apprenticeship through Peninsula Growers and Chisholm.

He admits the transition of going from high school to the workplace so young was intimidating, but he applied himself and blossomed.

“School wasn’t really for me,” says Josh. “I didn’t have much of an interest in it. Horticulture is where my passion is and I haven’t looked back.”

Working in a propagation nursery, Joshua and his team’s job is to ‘start the plants off’. The process is quite involved and takes a lot of skill and careful nurturing.

They have a mother stock garden, from which they take cuttings. The propagation teams are responsible for more than 120 different species and varieties of plants, each of which has to be cut in a very specific way.

“We have books and there’s a lot of trial and error,” says Joshua. “That’s one reason I love the field so much.”

After the cuttings have been done, they go into propagation houses, which are clean, sterile, controlled environments with mist and heating beds.

Eventually the plants grow roots – sometimes in as little as a week; other varieties can sit around for three to four months. In some instances, the plants don’t grow roots at all.

From there, the final piece of the puzzle is to pot the plants. Once they have grown a little more, they are sold to wholesale nurseries, who then replant them and sell them on to big stores like Bunnings.

One of the reasons Joshua is so good at his job is because he connected so well with his teacher at Chisholm and grew a thirst for knowledge.

“My teacher was a great bloke who really knew his stuff,” says Joshua. “That inspired me to go on and learn more. I wanted to be all-knowing, not that you can be all-knowing about plants, because you’re learning every day – and that’s another reason I love it.”

Among his achievements were winning Apprentice of the Year with Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria in 2021 and being nominated as Apprentice of the 2022 Year at the Chisholm Education Awards.

Outside of work, Joshua is just as passionate about plants. His home is teaming with them, in fact, it’s about to burst, says Josh with a laugh.

“I reckon I’ve re-landscaped every single garden, ripped them all out and replanted them how I want them to be planted,” says Joshua. “We’ve run out of garden beds, so I’m building more and I’ve started planting down on the nature strip, which I don’t think you’re really allowed to do. I need a big barn – that’s what I need.”

Joshua’s dream is to be head grower at Peninsula Growers and to one day have his own nursery.