Our Principal

Mr John Mason
Dip.Hort.Sci., Sup'n Cert.
(Principal - Australian Correspondence Schools)


Dip. Hort. Sci. (VCAH Burnley,1971),
Supervision Certificate (RMIT, 1977)
B.A (Planning Studies) at F.I.T. 50% completed.
Cert. in Theology 90% completed.
Adv.Cert.App.Management-Publishing & Journalism

Mr Mason has over 45 years experience in the fields of Horticulture, Recreation, Education & Journalism.

He has held positions ranging from Director of Parks & Recreation (City of Essendon) to magazine editor.

He is former State President of the Australian Institute of Horticulture and a current board member of the Australian Garden Council.

John has lectured in Technical & Further Education Colleges (TAFE), and is a well respected member of many professional bodies. He is the author of more than one hundred books, and over a thousand published magazine and newspaper articles. He is a keen photographer, with many of his photographs having been published in books and magazines.



Chartered Institute of Horticulture (CIH) UK Member since 1999, Fellow since 2003

Australian Institute of Horticulture (past State President, State secretary, and national vice president. State committee member 1978-80, 84-88) Fellow since 2010.

Parks & Leisure Australia (formerly Royal Australian Institute of Parks and Recreation) (fellow since 1998, associate since 1984; member since 1974)

International Accreditation and Recognition Council President 2000-2016

International Plant Propagators Society (executive board member '90-95)

Queensland Nursery Industry Association

Australian Nursery Industry Association

Australian Council Health Physical Education and Recreation (since 1977)

International Herb Growers and Marketers Association (member since 1988)

Australian Society of Authors

Australasian Plant Pathology Society ('73-2003)

International Playgrounds Association (Aust. Rep. '77-80)

Royal Horticultural Society (U.K.)

Horticultural Media Association (Australia)

Garden Media Guild (UK)

Institute of Training and Occupational Learning (UK)

Area of Expertise:

Horticulture, Small Business, Education, Writing, Agriculture, Recreation and Management.

Plant identification, landscape design, parks management, nursery management

Hydroponics, herbs, Australian plants, Tropical Plants

Children’s play and playground design, garden design, fitness

Photography, journalism, community participation.

Publishing, Web optimisation, eBooks


Career History:



Graduated after 3yrs of full time study from Burnley Horticultural College

Rotary Youth Leadership Awardee


Self employed Landscaping, garden maintenance and wholesale nursery business.


Technical Officer, Fisons Ltd.


Youth Leader (part time) Baptist Church


Retail Nursery management and landscaping.


Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, Shire of Melton


Established Melton Garden Club(President)

Taught gardening classes at Melton Community Centre.

Wrote gardening column for Melton local paper.


Overseas study tour of children's playgrounds.


Lecturing in short course for Council of Adult Education.


Director of Parks and Recreation, City of Essendon.


Consultant Landscape Designer/Playground Adviser
Playgrounds and Recreation Association of Vic.


0ccasional Writer for "Your Garden", national garden magazine.


Member of National committee for International Year of the Child


Sessional lecturer for:

Footscray Institute of Technology

Burnley Horticultural College

I.E.C.D. (Lincoln Institute)

Philip Institute of Technology

Department of Youth, Sport & Recreation (Victoria)

Designed and conducted elective subjects for F.I.T. in the Associate Diploma in Recreation Leadership.

Jointly lectured 3rd year Landscape Design in Diploma at Burnley.

Lectured on understanding children's play, and playground design to Post Graduate Diploma in Recreation at Philip Institute and to kindergarten trainee teachers (Lincoln Institute).


Established Australian Horticultural Correspondence School.

1979 to present

Design and management of Advertising & marketing for Australian Correspondence Schools


Superintendent of Parks and Gardens, City of Heidelberg


Regular writer for "Grass Roots" magazine.


Self employed nurseryman and landscape contractor.

1985 to present

Developed and managed the AHCS on a full time basis.


Organized of Garden Pavilion at Royal Melbourne Show (50-100 exhibitors). Won awards two out of the five years.
(ie. Best Commercial Display '88; Best Horticultural Display '92)

1989 to present

Editor/Photographer/Writer: Greenleaf Series Magazines and Garden Guide Series Magazines


Regular writer for the magazines: Queensland Homes and Victoria Homes.


Program Organizer, International Plant Propagators Conference, Albury


Study tour/photographing gardens and garden shows in Europe


Wrote & produced five educational videos (using the video production unit of Griffith University, and private facilities in Melbourne).


Wrote Quality Assurance documentation for Australian Correspondence Schools.


Wrote accreditation documentation for Advanced Diplomas in Horticulture, Agriculture and Recreation-Fitness. Achieved accreditation and listing on the National Register for these courses.


Established 9 internet sites for Australian Correspondence Schools, continued developing new courses including computer servicing & ecotourism. (Won awards in mid 97: Pick of the Net from Sofcom, and Majons Select Award)


Editor Your Backyard National Magazine (Australian print media publication –published by Express Publications)

1998 to present

Wrote several books, new courses and developed new web sites

Formal Study:


Diploma in Horticultural Science, Burnley Horticultural College, Vic. (now VCAH, Burnley - Melbourne University) Course completed.


Certificate in Theology : Sydney Anglican Theological College, by Correspondence 90% completed.


Rotary Youth Leadership Award (approx. 40hrs) Course completed.


YMCA Detached Youth Workers Course (approx. 30 hrs) Course completed.


Bachelor of Science R.M.I.T. -Sociology & Chemistry, incomplete.


Supervision Certificate (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) (2 years part time distance education).
Subjects passed include:

Supervision 1A, 1B, 2A and 2B

Parks Administration A, B.

Communications and report Writing


Bachelor of Arts (Planning Studies) Footscray Institute of Technology course 50% completed.
Subjects passed include:

Urban Studies 1A, 1B

Planning Studies 1A, 1B

Sociology 1A, 1B

Overview of Recreation

Recreation Leadership Methods


Bachelor of Science, Latrobe University, -Zoology, incomplete.


PADI Open Water Divers Certificate, Aussie Dive, Gold Coast.


Training Skills I, II & III


RPL granted for stream studies in Instructional skills in Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (approx. 250 hrs)


Advanced Certificate in Applied Management -Publishing & Journalism (approx. 700 hrs)

Short Courses:

Various, including:

Detached Youth Work Course (6 months, YMCA, 1970)

Rotary Youth Leader Award (1971)

Major Conferences:

(Note: These are only a selection. There are many other seminars and minor meetings not listed which have been attended, organized, conducted by or lectured at by John Mason).


Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation National Conference, Adelaide, (5 days) -delegate


International Association for the Children's Right to Play Triannual Conference, Milan Italy, (7 days) -delegate


Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation, National Conference, Melbourne, (5 days) -delegate


Royal Australian Institute of Parks & Recreation, National Conference, Brisbane, (5 days) -organizer of childrens play and playground segment


Recreational Landscaping Course -Course Coordinator for Burnley Horticultural College (Designed, and managed 3 day course and was main lecturer for two consecutive years)


Technological Advances in Parks Maintenance -designed, coordinated and lectured at 2 day course jointly with Elaine Murphy, Senior Lecturer (for Footscray Institute of Technology)


Plant Materials 1980 -designed, coordinated and lectured at 2 day course jointly with Elaine Murphy, Senior Lecturer (for Footscray Institute of Technology in conjunction with Burnley Horticultural College)


Play Safety Conference, Melbourne -Speaker


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Sydney, (3 days) -delegate


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Hobart, (3 days) -delegate


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Perth, (3 days) -delegate


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Canberra, (3 days) -delegate


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Ballina, (3 days) -delegate


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Albury, (3 days) -conference program organizer (designed lecture program and coordinated all speakers)


Attended International Garden Festival, Stuttgart, Germany and Hampton Court Flower Show, London, U.K.


International Plant Propagators Society, National Conference, Twin Waters, Sunshine Coast (delivered one of the introductory session papers).


International Plant Propagators National Conference, Adelaide 1995 Study Tour of Hawaii (August) -Botanic Gardens


Study Tour of New Zealand (November) -Ellerslie Garden Show & Open Gardens


Study Tour of Britain and Germany(June/July -4 shows/exhibitions, over 40 gardens, numerous industry meetings.


Study tour of USA & Canada West Coast


Tour of UK & Netherlands (4 weeks) visiting shows (Hampton Court & Floriade), gardens, meetings with colleagues, photography etc.)


International Society for Horticultural Science –Horticultural Education Symposium Perth, W.A. Key Speaker

Chairman, International Accreditation & Recognition Council


Established affiliation (licensing) agreements with a number of institutions including Pershore College(UK), Writtle College (UK), Learning Cloud, Warnborough University, Academy of Distance Learning, Lifestyle Learning Direct (Australia), NEEF (India), Pacifica (USA)

 2013- present Established ACS eBook publishing business - overseeing writing and publishing of over 140 titles 2013-2017 Principal writer and editor of Home Grown Magazine 2016- present Director and board member of the Australian Garden Council 2018International Society of Horticultural Science - International Beverage Food Crops conference (China) - Key speaker 

Published Work:

Printed Books

Fun and Fitness Trails, Victorian Dept. of Sport and Recreation, 1978

Starting a Nursery or Herb Farm, Night Owl, 1983 (revised 1994)

The Environment of Play, Leisure Press, New York, 1982

Herb Review, self published, 1987

Landscaping with Herbs, self published, 1988

The Native Plant Expert, self published, 1989

Let's Grow Gardens, self published, 1990

Growing Ferns, Kangaroo Press, 1990

Commercial Hydroponics, Kangaroo Press, 1990

Growing Vegetables, Kangaroo Press, 1991

Growing Herbs, Kangaroo Press, 1993

Nursery Management, Kangaroo Press, April 1994

Tropical Gardening, Bay Books, October 1994

Yates Guide to Pests & Diseases, Angus & Robertson, February 1995

Growing Pelargoniums & Geraniums Hyland House 1996

Farm Management Kangaroo Press 1996

Growing Australian Natives Kangaroo Press 1997

Starting a Nursery or Herb Farm (Revised ed) Kangaroo Press 1997

Sustainable Farming Simon & Schuster (Kangaroo Press) Spring 1997

Growing Tropical Plants Simon & Schuster (Kangaroo Press) 1997

Starting a Landscape or Garden Business Kangaroo Press 1998

Aqua Aerobics Kangaroo Press 1999

Growing Conifers Kangaroo Press 1999

Profitable Farming Kangaroo Press 1999

A Beginners Guide to Orchids Hyland House

Aerobic Fitness Kangaroo Press

Trees & Shrubs for Small Places Kangaroo/Simon & Schuster 2000

Propagating from Cuttings Kangaroo/Simon & Schuster 2002

Sustainable Agriculture 2nd ed (Landlinks/CSIRO) 2003

Nursery Management 2nd ed (Landlinks Press) 2004

Growing & Using Vegetables & Herbs (Simon & Schuster) 2005

Commercial Hydroponics 2nd ed (Kangaroo/Simon & Schuster) 2005

Growing Australian Natives 2nd ed (Kangaroo/Simon& Schuster) 2005

Many others since



Your Garden (contributor)

1980 to present

Grass Roots (contributor)

1987 to present

Garden Guide Monthly Magazine (contributor),

2000 to present

Garden Guide Monthly Magazine (Editor)

1992 to present

Queensland Homes (contributor)

1992 to present

Victoria Homes (contributor)

1993 to present

South Australia Homes (contributor)

1999 to 2003

Your Backyard National Gardening Magazine (principal author & editor)

2005- 2007

Garden Guru’s Newspaper –Victorian edition feature writer

Queensland Outdoor Living Magazine –principal feature writer

Occasional contributor to more than twenty other publications.

Garden Guide Specials (author/photographer/editor of the following titles):

Gardening with Herbs

More Gardening with Herbs

Cottage Garden Landscapes

Backyard Landscaping Ideas

101 Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping Your Backyard

Your Guide to Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs

Your Guide to Natural Gardening

Better Backyard Ideas

Landscaping with Australian Plants

Landscaping Ideas for Shaded Areas

Better Garden Ideas

Controlling Garden Pests & Diseases

Backyard Ideas and Garden Care 90-91

Backyard Ideas and Garden Care 91-92

Landscaping with Ferns, Palms and Orchids

101 Natural Gardening Ideas

Maintenance Free Backyards

Greenleaf Specials (author/photographer/editor of the following titles):

Herbs from Your Garden

The Better Backyard Guide

What to Plant Where

Colourful and Fragrant Gardens

Other Special Magazines (author/editor of the following titles):

Creative Landscaping Ideas

Beautiful Landscaping Ideas

Landscaping Your Garden

Country & Cottage Landscapes


Editor and principal writer of monthly Gardening-Lifestyle magazine (YOUR BACKYARD) for Express Publications in Sydney, Australia


Editor and principal writer of Garden Guide monthly magazine

2001 to present

Editor/owner of Gardening ezine ACSgarden.com

2010 to presentOwner/Manager of ACS Ebooks publishing business 2013- Garden Editor for Home Grown Magazine (National quarterly glossy  magazine for green living and self sufficiency)


Wrote, presented and produced the following videos since 1994:

Plant Identification

Herb Identification

Designing a Garden

Plant Propagation

Australian Native Plants

Garden Style

Identifying Tropical Plants

Identifying Trees & Shrubs

Identifying Bulbs & Perennials

Careers in the 21st Century


COURSES organized or conducted by J. Mason:

Melbourne Council of Adult Education and Community Centres (averaging 4 classes a week for more than a decade from 1973)

Main author of over 600 correspondence courses (curriculum documentation, study guides and course notes), Australian Correspondence Schools) including hobby, certificate, advanced certificate & diploma.

Principal author of curriculum documentation for five VETEC (Qld) and/or nationally accredited courses:

Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (C12CN001)

Certificate in Horticulture (C12CN002)

Advanced Diploma in Recreation-Fitness (C12CN003

Advanced Diploma in Horticulture (C12CN004)

Advanced Diploma in Agriculture (C12CN005)

Designed and conducted hobby courses for Council of Adult Education, Victoria from 1974-81.
These courses included:

Self Sufficiency


Landscaping Bush Gardens and more.

Designed and conducted hobby classes for various community centres including Melton, Box Hill, Knox, Hawthorn, and Essendon (1974-81)

Designed and conducted one week workshops (twice annually), and shorter seminars (3 hour to 1 day, at least twice annually) for the Australian Horticultural Correspondence School and various professional Associations between 1986 and 1995.

Sunday school teacher 1970-75, 1978-79

Organized and conducted Youth Worker Training Programs for church 1971-73

Various play leader training programs for Department of Youth Sport & Recreation (Vic), and other authorities, 1976-82 (organizer/lecturer).

Occasional lecturer at courses, seminars and conferences -ongoing since 1973

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