Qualification - Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (Herbs)

Course CodeVBS001
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

Learn to Manage a Herb Business

Course Structure

    There are three parts to this course as follows:

    This involves four core units which are common to all streams of this Advanced Certificate C12CN001. These are  Management, Office Practices, Marketing and Business Operations.

    Develops basic office skills covering use of equipment, communication systems (telephone, fax, etc) and office procedures such as filing, security, workplace organisations, etc.

    Develops knowledge of basic business operations and procedures (eg. types of businesses, financial management, business analysis, staffing, productivity, etc) and the skills to develop a 12 month business plan.

    Develops knowledge of management structures, terminology, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.

    Develops a broad understanding of marketing and specific skills in writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling.

    This involves three units as follows:

    Herbs Stage 1

    1. Introduction

    2. Herb Culture

    3. Lamiaceae Herbs

    4. Using Herbs: Herb Crafts

    5. Using Herbs: Herbs For Cooking

    6. Using Herbs: Medicinal Herbs

    7. Harvest & Post-harvest

    8. Producing Herb Products

    Herbs Stage 2

    1. Introduction To Herb Farming

    2. Organic Growing Practices

    3. Liliaceae Herbs: Garlic, chives, etc.

    4. The Mints

    5. Lavenders

    6. Other Significant Herbs

    7. Herb Farming Practices

    8. Herb Farm Layout & Design

    Herbs Stage 3

    1. Compositae (Asteraceae) Herbs

    2. Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) Herbs

    3. Topiary & Hedges

    4. Companion Planting

    5. Herbs In Landscaping

    6. Commercial Herb Preparation

    7. Herb Nursery Management

    8. Marketing Herb Products

    9. Research Project

    A 200 hour research project on a selected aspect of the herb industry. Alternatively, verification of approved work experience may provide exemption from this requirement.

    You can do this part of the course from wherever you live in the world. We offer lots of options. You don't need to travel to another city or country, as you might have to with some colleges in other courses!



    Learn to Create a Formal Herb Garden

    Formal garden style is smart and stylish. It has been developed over many centuries and is still popular in today’s gardens. It's quite a contrast to informal or cottage gardens and is well suited to those who like to be organised.

    The main features of formal gardens are strong lines and geometric shapes, usually set within a framework of hedges, paths and paving. The gardens can be simple or lavish, large or small, and may surround a traditional or modern house. They can incorporate the entire garden or just part of the garden. For instance, you could just separate off an area within the main garden through clever use of hedging or fencing. Even apartment dwellers could have a formal herb garden on a balcony so long as you follow a few basic principles

    What is a Formal Garden?
    Strictly speaking, a formal garden follows a simple geometric design with an emphasis on regular shapes like squares and circles. Often these shapes and lines are duplicated on either side of an imaginary line which gives a symmetrical appearance.

    In a broader sense, any garden made up of uniform plantings and with a strong layout is called a ‘formal’ garden. In a small area you may not have the room to install a hedge around four sides of a garden bed but you could have a solid hedge along one side.  

    Types of Formal Gardens
    If you're really keen you might want to style your garden on one of the traditional formal layouts. These include:

    Parterre: In 17th century Europe, this was a formal pattern of low hedges, with the spaces between filled with coloured gravel.  The concept has evolved and broadened since then.  Today it can include coloured plants, stones, gravels, masonry or virtually anything the imagination can come up with.  

    Create a parterre garden by partitioning the ground into a series of shapes that make up a formal pattern. The different shapes need to be well defined so that they contrast with the space beside them.
    AvenueThis involves two rows of plants either side of a walkway or driveway. The same species of plant is used to create a sense of repetition and symmetry. Popular avenue plants include conifers, such as Leyland Cypress (Cupressocyparis leylandii) or Italian Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens). Avenues of deciduous trees such as white poplar (Populus alba) and lemon scented gums (Corymbia citriodora) have also been used in larger gardens. Avenues don’t need to be large plantsa though. You can create smaller avenues with smaller plants and achieve equally impressive affects.

    Creating a Formal Garden

    Of course, there is no need to stick to these options. To design your own formal garden, all you need to do is clearly define shapes and lines.  Shapes might be made from patches of lawn, garden beds, paving or gravel.  Lines can be defined with walls, fences, hedges, brick edging, edging tiles and low-growing edging plants.  A central line or axis is often used as the basis of a formal garden. Usually this forms the main vista and you can work out where this will be standing outside your house towards the middle of the property and facing outwards towards the garden. Take a look at your garden from as many different angles and positions as you can to work out how you might position beds, containers, paving, and so forth.  
    If you just want to incorporate a small formal herb garden within your garden, then the first thing to do once again is to decide on its location. In most cases you'll want to have it close to your kitchen. This makes it easier to pop out and cut some fresh herbs when in the middle of cooking no matter what the weather is like outdoors. If the area next to your kitchen is particularly shaded, then you may prefer to position your herb garden a little further away because most herbs prefer full sun. Make sure that the soil is good quality. If it is poor then consider digging in some well-rotted manure as part of your preparation.

    Using Herbs in a Formal Garden

    Typically, plants that feature prominently in formal gardens have compact habits meaning that their stems or branches are closely formed. This makes them easy to prune into regular shapes. Many also have smaller leaves which allow them to be trained into solid forms.   
    When it comes to herbs, some lend themselves very well to formal planting. The bay tree (Laurus nobilis), for instance, makes a wonderful topiary or standard tree and can be used for taller hedging. It also grows well in large containers either side of an entranceway or on balconies. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) can be tightly clipped for a smaller hedge used to segregate garden beds, as borders, or to create patterns in beds.
    Generally speaking, many other herbs can be used to fill in garden beds once they have been set out formally. To keep in with the formal theme, you could have groups of different plants. You might like to set up a square shaped bed and divide it into four smaller squares using low hedging. In each smaller square you could have a number of plants of the same species. For instance, in each of the four smaller square beds you could have sage (Salvia officinalis), lavender (Lavandula officinalis), oregano (Origanum vulgare), and parsley (Petroselinum crispum). If you were to plant the sage and lavender diagonally opposite you would create another layer of formality by having alternating beds of grey and green foliage in a chequer board type effect.

    Where to Put a Formal Garden Bed

    Provided that you stick to uniform shapes, you can position formal garden beds in a variety of ways and still retain a formal feel, such as:

    •     In the middle of a lawn
    •     Down either side of a garden
    •     In the middle of a driveway
    •     In a courtyard
    •     Below a window, veranda, terrace or deck
    Formal garden beds look best when viewed from above. If you have a sloping garden, terraced garden or more than one storey in the house you'll be able to appreciate the full impact. If you're using the front of the house for your formal herb garden then you might want to keep a low hedge or wall at the front so that the garden can be fully appreciated when approaching the property.
    If the ground is very heavy or prone to flooding then you could always opt for raised brick or stone beds. This will give you an opportunity to set out pathways in between and design beds in formal shapes. You might choose pathways in the shape of a cross set between four raised rectangular brick beds, for example. However you set out the beds, if they are going to contain herbs you'll need access to all sides for harvesting otherwise you risk trampling on the plants.

    Hedged Beds

    Adding clipped hedging to garden beds will increase the formality of the garden. Popular hedging plants are Lavenders, English box (Buxus sempervirens) and Japanese box (Buxus microphylla). Alternatives are dwarf lilly pillies (Syzgium spp.), Santolina spp., box honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida), or even dwarf sacred bamboo (Nandina domestica nana). If you want to sue herbs for hedging then as already mentioned, rosemary is an obvious choice but others such as lavenders or cotton lavender (Santolina chamaecyparissus) are other possibilities.   

    Simple Formal Gardens

    Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how to create your own formal herb garden:

    • A circle divided into quarters, perhaps by two intersecting paths. Each quarter circle might be planted with exactly the same type of plant.
    • A square divided into quarters, either diagonally or vertically/horizontally.
    • A paved area intersected with small squares of ground cover plantings.
    • A pair of matching urns either side of a path.
    • An arched walkway covered by one type of plant.
    • An avenue of trees or shrubs along a garden path.  
    • A square or rectangular lawn area surrounded by raised garden beds.

    Tips for Good Formal Garden Design

    • Keep the main planting simple.
    • Formality is enhanced when the plants you use are not too variable.
    • If using hedges to define lines, use the same variety of hedging plant throughout.
    • The plants within the garden beds can be more variable but for the best effect, lay them in geometric patterns and repeat the planting patterns in adjacent beds.
    • Keep taller growing herbs towards the back of garden beds where they meet the garden boundary.
    • For circular and rectangular beds which you can walk around place taller growing plant in the middle.
    • Make sure you can easily access herbs for harvesting from pathways.
    • Build the garden around a focal point in the centre or at one end, such as a statue, seat, topiary, or water feature.


    Learn from our Experience

    Our principal and staff have decades of experience in  the herb industry in Australia, the UK and N.Z.
    If you already work with herbs, we can help you polish and extend your skills, take a fresh look at the industry and move your business or career to the next level.
    If you have a passion for herbs and a desire to start a business or find employment in the industry, we can help there too.
    The herb industry is constantly changing in today's world. It offers wonderful opportunities for employment and business; but to have the best chance of success does require a certain level of technical knowledge coupled with business skills in just the right way. This course is rather unique because it offers an opportunity to learn both; from experts who have knowledge and experience in both.



    • Managers or owner operator of herb businesses, herb farmers
    • Anyone in this industry or looking to join this exciting field handling herb products (eg. dried or fresh produce, oils and essences, crafts, medicines).
    • Those want to develop  skills needed to manage a herb business, and knowledge about identification, growing, processing and marketing herbs and herb products.


    More from ACS