Rockledge Gardens launches fourth certification prep class

Announced in a press release, the Rockwell Gardens will begin its fourth six-week preparatory course to help their FNGLA (Florida Seedling Growth, Farmers and Landscape Association) designate Florida Certified Gardener (FCHP). The 60-year-old family-owned garden center is part of an ongoing effort to grow a team of gardeners in Central Florida who can help with all of their gardening needs.

The program was launched in In early 2019, Amanda Rose Newton, a West Florida State College part-time information and education specialist and full-time science professor, is expected to share some of Rockfield Garden owners Theresa and Kevin Riley. Helping employees gain knowledge and professional credentials.

“My lifelong goal is to work with people, plants, and insects and I am fortunate to have found so many ways to pursue this desire,” Newton said. “The green industry is essential to provide food, biodiversity and happiness and to provide students with the tools to succeed in this demanding field, both locally and globally,” he said.

Although the first class was well received and well received by the staff, only two of those who took the class took a certification test with FNGLA. Many were afraid or unwilling to go through the test. This is when Liz Lark-Riley, managing director of Rockfield Gardens, decided to promote the program. She worked with Newton for the Improvement Course Program for all those who took the first course, and then gave participants a 30-day deadline to take a one-day free PTO full-time certification test and pass the certification test. (Paid Vacation).

The PTO bonus incentive and deadline worked well and the rest of the class took the test and by December 31, 2019, the number of FCHPs in the Rocket Garden had increased to 10 staff.

Since then, Rockfield Gardens has hosted two additional preparatory courses for new and existing staff and is proud of its current staff of 18 certified horticulturists in Florida. The fourth preparatory course taught by Newton began Monday, May 17, and with nine team members enrolled, the historic Garden Center hopes to increase the number of FCHP staff to 27.

Newton’s love does not stop at FCHP to educate members of the Rocklist Garden team. She taught FNGLA Florida, a certified landscaping technician, to Dane Dernier, a former Rockwood gardener and current Brevard native landscaping course. This certification requires a rigorous performance test with FNGLA. All four members of the RG team who passed this test are proud to have passed their certification with high marks. Newton plans to certify the best management practices of the green industry developed by IFAS and FDACS.

“It’s important to me that this is not just a job for the people who work here,” says Lark-Riley. “I want our team to feel supported, challenged and happy as we grow as professionals. Amanda Rose is endless in her contribution to education and generosity. ”

For more information about the Rockledge Gardens career development program or careers in the Rockies Gardens, please contact Liz Lark-Riley at or visit

You can see Liz Lark-Riley speaking at the Garden Center Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida! Make room for your missed session, “Story-telling tips from Theater Ner: How retail is theater and it’s time to play!”

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