Robyn Lush, 47, has been growing plants since she could walk and decided to ditch her office job two-years ago to pursue her passion, opening Mountain View Nursery in Moruya.
Despite her experience, she decided to enroll in a Certificate III in Horticulture at TAFE NSW Moruya in 2020, and got so much out of the course she has since enrolled four of her staff.
"Growing up in Moruya, I was always passionate about the outdoors and nature," Ms Lush said.
"My dad had always said to me, 'if you want to do something in life, just got for it', and I was feeling a bit bogged down in my indoor job.
"I just had one of those life-changing moments where I realised I wasn't really living and decided to follow my passion for plants."
In July 2019, during a crippling drought and just months before bushfires ravaged the region, she opened Mountain View Nursery, which specialises in unique and new varieties of plants.
It comes amid new data from Greenlife Industry Australia that has shown plants sales are growing at about 10 percent annually, with 2.2 billion plants sold nationwide in 2020 at a combined value of $2.59 billion.
Mountain View Nursery has given away hundreds of plants to people affected by the bushfires, helping the bush regeneration effort.
I just had one of those life-changing moments where I realised I wasn't really living and decided to follow my passion for plants.Robyn Lush
Ms Lush, who also holds a degree in equine science, said the Certificate III in Horticulture helped solidify and build on her existing knowledge. She encouraged others to consider studies.
"It's such a great all-round course when it comes to chemicals, propagation and identifying plants," she said.
"It's a great way to get started in the horticulture industry and the teacher Gabi is so knowledgeable and passionate, it's easy to learn from her."
TAFE NSW Moruya horticulture head teacher Gabi Harding hoped more locals would consider a career in horticulture, saying it was a growth industry that offered flexibility, independence and intense job satisfaction.
"With a qualification under your belt, you can do anything from working in a nursery or starting your own garden maintenance business, to working in local government or with national parks," she said.
"A lot of our graduates start their own business; things like mowing services, weed and plant management, helping people create new gardens or plant advice. It also allows you to work outdoors and after the year we've had with everyone locked down, it's great to get out in nature and rediscover yourself."
For more information about enrolling in a course visit the TAFE NSW website.