Organic Horticulture Specialist Certificate



Whether you are already a landscape professional, just beginning your education, or simply learning for personal enjoyment, this course will give you the knowledge you need to become a better gardener.

You will receive a thorough introduction to the science and practice of organic horticulture, facilitating a profound shift in ecological awareness. Going way beyond the idea of pesticide and fertilizer product substitution, you will understand the concepts of landscape health management as opposed to pest management, building a holistic decision making framework for creating and maintaining vibrantly healthy gardens and landscapes, including turf.

This course prepares you to:

  • Grow fabulous, healthy gardens
  • Gain essential skills to start or enhance your business in the rapidly growing organic land care industry sector
  • Write the SOUL (Society for Organic Urban Land Care) Organic Accreditation exam for land care professionals
  • Earn generous continuing education credits for landscape professionals to maintain industry certifications (ISA/CNLA/BCSLA)
  • Become involved in SOUL (Society for Organic Urban Land Care) and share your knowledge with your community through workshops, talks and other creative ways


Students should meet all the following prerequisites before registering:

  • Have internet access
  • Have an email account
  • Have basic gardening tools (including bypass pruners)
  • Students must arrange their own transportation to off-site events


To graduate, students must meet all the following requirements:

  • Minimum 90% attendance
  • Satisfactory completion of all assignments


This course partially satisfies the requirements of:

  • Gaia College: core course for Diploma in Organic Land Care
  • Royal Roads: core course for Joint Royal Roads / Gaia College Diploma in Organic Land Care
  • Seneca College: core course for Organic Land Care Fundamentals – Level 1 (Seneca College refers to this course as “Fundamentals of Organic Land Care”)

For landscapers, a certificate in organic horticulture will appeal to many customers. Organic gardening practices are becoming a customer priority. Provide the latest, cutting-edge, organic-based services to your customers with the knowledge you gain in this program.


Catherine Dale

After a decade of maintenance work in the horticulture industry, I started to wonder if there were better ways to deal with landscape problems. I realized I was treating the symptoms, not the causes, of the sick landscapes I was supposed to be caring for – that the conventional approach was not working. I began to explore organic principles and realized that the key to landscape health was working with nature, not warring against it. Time for an awakening!

In partnership with the Burnaby School District and Gaia College, I instruct the Organic Master Gardener and Organic Horticulture Specialist programs. I also instruct the Plant Identification course and guest lecture in the Ecological Landscape Design program. These courses are designed for professional and home gardeners to learn how to manage the landscape in an environmentally friendly way.

I also teach the Residential Landscape Technician program – for 20 years! It is an entry-level program to landscapers, many of whom have started their own businesses.

I work with the BC Landscape and Nursery Association, instructing the Horticulture Basics program, preparing and presenting entry-level information to new landscape employees across the province.

Burnaby School District’s Community & Continuing Education Services have been approved by the Industry Training Authority as a Training Provider for the Landscape Horticulturist Apprenticeship, so I coordinate the instructors and learning material in this program. Graduates of this program become trade certified in Landscape Horticulture, a Red Seal program.

Other qualifications:

  • Qualified for my Journeyperson certification in Landscape Horticulture in the early 1990’s
  • Instructor at Capilano College’s Horticulture program in 2005-2006 teaching Soils and Integrated Pest Management
  • SOUL certified in Organic Landcare, 2005
  • Over 30 years of experience in the horticulture industry, working for several municipalities, golf courses, private gardens, restoring heritage gardens and organically managing the GVRD’s compost demonstration garden
  • “Educator of the Year” award from the BC Landscape and Nursery Association, 2004
  • Awarded the City of Burnaby’s Environmental Award for work at the Eagles Estate Heritage Garden on the shores of Deer Lake, 2006
  • Worked as head gardener on the mainland for the Land Conservancy restoring historical and cultural gardens
  • Completed the Provincial Instructor’s Diploma in Adult Education
  • Involved with the Communities in Bloom program
  • Instructing Horticulture programs for Corrections Canada inmates
  • Certified Permaculture Instructor


I just wanted to drop you a note to say how much I enjoyed your class. It was a real eye opener for me and has given me a new appreciation of why organic practices are the only way. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and making the class and outings such an enjoyable experience. I’m so excited to apply the information that you taught us in my own yard!
Registration by phone or in person
Refund policy