Welcome PHC Alumni!

Welcome to the PHC Alumni webpage! Scroll down for job postings and news updates as well as alumni profiles to share and celebrate the successes of our graduates.

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Questions About Your Apprenticeship?

In early June 2018, the ITA sent out a letter to apprentices explaining the upcoming harmonization of the curriculum across Canada. This means that if you are partway through your training, you are strongly encouraged to “train out” and finish all 4 levels before the changes have all been phased in. Please send us an email ([email protected]) if you have questions about the changes and how best to complete your remaining apprenticeship training.


Alumni Profile - Arianne Huene

A Rose in Thyme Landscape Design - Owner & Self-Employed

Graduation Year: Landscape Horticulture Certificate Program 2006

The inspiration to enroll at PHC… 

Plants fascinate me. I am drawn in by the nuances of textures, forms and colours that the endless varieties of flora have to offer, and after years of working in other industries I realized that I what I really wanted was to work with plants. To learn their habits and habitats, their secrets and wisdom. I reviewed the Pacific Horticulture College to see what they had to offer in comparison to other similar programs.

Why PHC? 

The program appealed to me in its time frame and intensity, the practical nature of the education, the hands-on approach and the promise of actual work once I finished the program. I have known so many people who finish their diplomas or degrees and then have a desperate time finding good quality jobs, and wanted to be capable of finding or creating employment once I finished the program. The other great appeal for me was having the Horticulture Centre and gardens as my playground and experimentation plot. I would be able to immerse myself in the gardens throughout the year and see the way they shifted throughout the four seasons.

Program Highlights…

Plant ID. Hours of detailed notes about that particular weeks 10 plants. And it was worth every long hour memorizing and observing the individual plants. I still remember Mahonia x media ‘Charity’ and to this day feel familiar with every plant I made a recipe card for. These days there are so many online tools, apps, and databases that the opportunities to learn about plants are endless. But having an instructor take you out and show you the plants individually and be able to learn their nuances through interaction and observation is so helpful for a real world job.

Practical Skills. Weeding. Hours. Hauling. Hours. We were the muscles and the brawn for the various specialty gardens at HCP, and we worked hard. It was exactly the experience I needed to prepare me for working with an actual landscaping crew, and I learned the tricks of the trade in a controlled environment, with guidance and direction. Classroom work can only offer so much. You need to get your hands dirty to really learn about landscaping, and there was no shortage of opportunities with the amazing volunteers at HCP.

Landscape Design. This was the course that was the hardest for me but most valuable in the end, because it was the one that combined the practical with the creative and made me use the knowledge I had gained during the rest of the program. It was challenging to channel the information from a site and put it into a useful form, and also to envision the end result before it was built. Meeting a client and discussing their project was intimidating at first but the program helped to give me the knowledge to address the client’s needs and communicate my ideas to them in a constructive and well defined manner.

After PHC… 

There is no better way to learn plants than to directly work with them, no matter how many hours you sit in a classroom. We spent so many hours working with the invaluable volunteers at the gardens, and doing so much digging, hauling, weeding and planting that when I finished I was confident to start my own landscape maintenance business, and also to collaborate with others in the industry on larger design and installation projects. The surprise for me was that I enjoyed working with my clients just as much as I enjoyed working with the plants. Being my own boss and setting my own hours and taking responsibility for myself as a business owner was a big challenge, but it worked.

After having kids and moving to the Comox Valley, I wanted to take my skills in another direction, and so created A Rose in Thyme Landscape Design, which focuses on residential landscape design in mid-Vancouver Island. I create evocative, functional and responsible outdoor living spaces and am passionate about quality design that endures. Organic practices, permaculture, natives and drought tolerant species are all important factors that play a large role in my designs. I now work with CAD based landscape design software to develop my concepts and create 3D digital renderings to communicate my designs to my clients.

PHC was the right choice for me, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in a career in the landscaping industry.