Niagara Parks School of Horticulture student first Canadian invited to International Garden Show

Staff
4 Min Read

The Niagara Parks School of Horticulture proudly announces that one of its students has been invited as the first-ever Canadian to design a garden at the upcoming Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show in Australia. Elissa Astorino, a third-year student at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, was handpicked to showcase her creativity and expertise on a global platform alongside other top international garden designers.

Astorino will travel to Melbourne, Australia, this month for the prestigious event to be hosted at the iconic World Heritage UNESCO site of Carlton Gardens and The Royal Exhibition Building. Making her mark on the international landscape of the horticultural industry, Astorino will design her own exhibit and contribute her expertise as part of a team led by renowned Irish garden designer Peter Donegan.

Through her design, Astorino aims to raise awareness for dementia, a condition her late grandmother had. The garden tells a story of unconditional love between a mother with dementia and her daughter, illustrating that even when the sun has set and the sky at times clouded, there are always stars to brighten the night.

Mentorship Success
Astorino’s involvement in this prestigious event stems from her proactive engagement in the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture Mentorship Course. The third-year Cap Stone course encourages students to forge connections within the industry. Astorino, driven by her passion for design, sought to establish a mentorship with Donegan, recognizing him as an international leader in the industry. Donegan encouraged Astorino’s talents and dedication, supporting her inclusion in the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2024. This collaboration represents a significant milestone for both Astorino and the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture Mentorship Course, underscoring the program’s commitment to nurturing talent and fostering international partnerships.

The required components of the Diploma in Professional Horticulture program at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture include experiential learning opportunities through internships, mentorships, and apprenticeships, alongside academic coursework. The school’s emphasis on practical experience and real-world projects equips students like Astorino with the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the competitive horticulture industry.

Garden Design for a Cause
Community involvement has been integral to Astorino’s education and she proudly uses her garden design talents to fuel her fundraising efforts for various charitable organizations. Astorino is currently raising funds for the Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County and Dementia Australia, two charities that focus on dementia. For more information and to donate to Astorino’s community fundraiser in support of the Dementia Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County, visit here.

“This opportunity is a testament to the invaluable mentorship and support provided by the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. I am thrilled to represent Canada on such a prestigious platform and look forward to showcasing our collective creativity and expertise,” said Niagara Parks School of Horticulture Student Elissa Astorino

“We wish Elissa the very best as she embarks on this monumental milestone in her career to attend and design a garden at the esteemed Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. Her success is a reflection of both her passion and dedication to her chosen career path, as well as the quality of education and opportunities made available to our students at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture. Congratulations, Elissa, and best of luck!” said Niagara Parks Chair April Jeffs

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