Botanic Horticulture was established eight years ago in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn with a focus to provide high end garden maintenance throughout the City of Melbourne and on the Mornington Peninsula.
“We’re about delivering a quality service for beautiful gardens and ensuring they are properly presented all year round,” says General Manager Paul Smith.
The range of services available includes general maintenance services, turf works, irrigation works and also some landscaping.
Botanic Horticulture partners with a number of landscapers and landscape designers in the time leading up to the planting stage, after which the properties are handed over for on-going maintenance.
“Leading designers like to use us because they know they are in good hands,” says Paul.
“We have the expertise to be able to solve problems in the garden whether they be irrigation, or pests and diseases. We know when to prune at the appropriate time of the year and we have fertilising and feeding programs.”
Most of the work is performed at residential properties while commercial premises are beginning to provide some alternative opportunities.
The most typical client is someone who has their garden designed and landscaped by a professional.
Fully qualified horticulturalists are part of the Botanic Horticulture team which works to achieve a much higher standard than the average suburban garden.
“That’s a major part of our business but some clients can have just a lovely garden that they’ve been keeping themselves and want to lift it up to the next level,” Paul says.
Another factor which separates Botanic Horticulture from a standard garden maintenance service is the application of the inherent benefits provided by Renault Master vans.
“We transitioned from using utes and trailers as we found that setup was difficult to negotiate through suburbs such as Toorak where parking can be a challenge,” Paul says.
“The trailers also got beat up because they were driving over kerbs and were probably too heavy as well. Those sort of aspects held that setup back so we moved toward a van which is a much more versatile solution.” Just like an attractive garden, the image and aesthetics of the Renault vans were also key factors in their selection.
“The reason we chose Renault was because they are a nice-looking van and are very well presented. We wanted to stand out from the competition, so we needed a good brand and Renault is a brand you’d associate with quality and class,” Paul explains.
“The common image we saw of garden maintenance services around the suburbs was a crappy old ute with a mower on the back and things such as rakes and ladders appearing to be spilling out of it. We thought this is an industry that could do a lot better with its image.”
Botanic Horticulture now has six Renault Master vans working in the operation and Paul expects to add more at around one per year as the business grows.
“We’re just trying to raise the bar a bit and the Renaults fit into that as well, so instead of just having a non-descript van we wanted something which looked good and had a bit of prestige about it,” he says.
Meanwhile, the decision to apply the company name to the exterior of the vans quickly proved worthwhile.
“They look great and have a real presence on the road and within a month of driving them around we were getting call-outs from people saying, ‘I saw your van’ and referrals started coming in.”
The interior dimensions of the Renault Masters provides adequate and secure space for the equipment which includes mowers, blowers and high pressure washers.
It’s important that each van has the capability to operate self-sufficiently and to have on-board everything which is likely to be required to perform the task at hand.
The roof height accommodates mature sized plants with no damage or loss of foliage. Ladders are safely carried on the roof racks.
It is vital that all of the various tools used are easily accessed and Paul has had van fitout specialists VQuip set up the interiors so everything in in its best location and the design has been developed so there is easy and logical flow from the sliding door at the side to the back doors.
“From that perspective we really want our people to look after our tools, not just dump them into the back after they have finished their service. The guys take pride in the presentation of the various pieces of equipment and consequently look after them, oiling them after use and replacing them in the correct positions.”
The thought and planning which went into the execution of the Renaults’ interior lay-out encourages the proper care of the equipment and extends their serviceable lifetime.
The latest two Renaults have been equipped with a complete array of battery powered equipment with inverters installed for efficient charging.
“We’ve moved that way because battery powered equipment has a quieter footprint. We also like the idea of being clean and green,” Paul says.
Planning and servicing a quality garden has parallels with the planning and maintenance of Botanic Horticulture’s fleet of Renault Master vehicles and the equipment they carry.