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Discover Horticulture courses at CAFRE

March 2, 2022

What is horticulture? What opportunities does a course in horticulture offer? 

Ciaran Mulholland, Lecturer at the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) demystifies the term horticulture for school leavers, career changers and for those influencing the career choices of family and friends, ahead of CAFRE’s Horticulture Virtual Open Event, on Wednesday 9th March.

Ciaran explains that ‘horticulture is a science, combining biology and the environment with a huge range of opportunities for those studying this profession’.

Horticulture is the study and cultivation of plants for use by us humans in our everyday lives.  You’re wearing a cotton tee-shirt; that’s horticulture.  You’re eating a side salad of lettuce and tomato with a veggie-burger; that’s horticulture.  You’re planting young tree saplings as part of a school environmental project?  Those young saplings came from a tree nursery; that’s horticulture too.  You’ve got a headache?  If you take Aspirin, that’s from plants too; more horticulture.

Horticulture is made up of many different subjects.  Within the horticulture industry there are four main areas. These are; sports turf, ornamental horticulture, food horticulture and landscaping.  The easiest way to describe each of these is that sports turf means looking after football, rugby, hockey, Gaelic games, golf courses and pitches.  Ornamental horticulture means growing plants that we think a pretty and would buy from a garden centre.  Food horticulture means growing plants for food and drink.  Landscaping means designing, building and looking after parks and gardens for people to enjoy.

Horticulture courses right up to Degree level are delivered in Northern Ireland at CAFRE’s Greenmount Campus, Antrim.  Subject to entry requirements students join the two year Foundation Degree Horticulture course, after which they can progress on to the final year of the BSc (Hons) Degree in Horticulture. Both degree programmes are validated by Ulster University. Further Education Level 2 and Level 3programmes in Horticulture for post GSCE entry are also available at the campus.

Specific course details can be found here. For the opportunity to hear from staff, students and alumni and to see campus footage join the Horticulture Virtual Open Event on Wednesday 9th March at 8pm on DiscoverCAFRE Facebook Live. We are hosting on-campus tours on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th March, click here to book.