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Stuart Elder

Horticulture at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan

Stuart was first introduced to horticulture when he was gardening and mowing for neighbours as a young child and shortly afterwards landed an apprenticeship at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan at the ripe old age of 17.

During his cumulative 21 years at the Botanic Gardens, Stuart has worked across the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney in the Tropical Centre, Domain, Palace Garden, Government House grounds and then resumed his career at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan 2015 as the Supervisor of the horticulture displays.


What is your favourite plant or plant group and why?


The Rutaceae family of plants, commonly known as rue or citrus, have always been my favourite. My late father introduced me to Crowea spp (amongst many other fascinating plants) and I’ve been interested in them ever since. They can be quite fickle to grow and getting one to thrive in your home garden is a great challenge.     

Why Horticulture?

I have always been interested in gardening as a child. I grew my own veggie patch and watched Dad tend to his beloved and extensive Cymbidium Orchid collection. My Grandfather was also a career gardener after farming and studying at Ryde School of Horticulture in 1956.

What is your most memorable moment at work?

I had great mentors during my apprenticeship and worked with people who were hugely influential at the start of my career that helped me shake off being a shy and at times naïve young boy.

Also preparing Government House grounds for the APEC Leaders’ Summit in 2007 was a career highlight. It was a busy week and the place was buzzing with Vladimir Putin’s entourage watching my every move.       

What do you like to do outside of work?

I’m a motoring enthusiast and an active member of the 1972-1982 Ford V8 and Cobra owners club. Although opposite parallels to horticulture I think it’s important to have a completely different outlet.

Also of course spending time with my little family and getting home to play with my son is an absolute joy - he is a little miracle.


See more from the Horticulture team below