Updated 18th May 2006
Deletions for consideration by manager
Outdoor ferns: job description

This job description should be read in conjunction with:
(a) Guidelines for staff in charge of a section
(b) Guidelines for buyers
(c) Bulleen Art and Garden Environmental Weed Policy

The fern section incorporates potted ferns, stags & elks, native orchids and bromeliads.
It is a section that requires a high standard of detail and regular attention to watering and fertilizing.


At present our primary supplier is from Bruce from Gibbons Nursery (0359646402), with whom we have developed a Sale or Return agreement. Bruce assesses the section on a regular basis and provides us with addition stock as required. He may choose to remove certain stock himself but you have the authority to return any stock you feel are of poor quality or are not selling fast enough for the space they occupy. Always check any invoice before pricing or putting away stock.

The agreement between Bulleen Art & Garden and Gibbons Nursery is that they can supply our entire range of ferns except for Button fern and Autumn fern. Although Bruce does stock these, we have found a more regular supply elsewhere; we must therefore order these ourselves if needed. The agreement also allows us to purchase stock from elsewhere if for any reason they cannot supply what another supplier has to offer. Care must be taken however as this agreement is of advantage to us, and unless there is a drastic change in their quality, price or service, we do not want to ruin it. With regard, especially to watering, sale or return only works if we keep stock in good condition. Regularly check the section and report to the manager if it has dried out.

Other suppliers

Peter from Ferndale (97379326) is our secondary supplier who supplies us with; Stag & Elk ferns, Button ferns, Autumn ferns, Some Birds Nest ferns

Australian Ferns & Orchids (97521922) supply; Native orchids
Some advanced ferns
Some Stag & Elk ferns

Renée from Buddha’s Garden supplies our Bromeliads (0356681667)


When restocking always allow space between stock and ensure that all labels face forward.

(1) Inadequate watering is the major cause of our stock losses. Check your plants regularly and report any problems with watering to the nursery manager. Even after lots of rain the tree ferns can by dry because they are sheltered.

(2) Fern fronds are continually dying back; they therefore must be continually pruned. Make sure you have your secateurs whenever you are working the ferns.

(3) Ferns are more sensitive to sprays therefore check with the nursery manager before using a spray that you are unsure of. General spraying of the nursery should be monitored for any adverse effects in your area.

(4) Some use of sprays is going to be essential, it is important that you rectify a pest or disease problem as soon as it appears, keep a sprayer with an insecticide which will not damage the ferns (such as pyrethrum) somewhere convenient.

(5) Return labels to the pots as soon as possible and re label ferns where the label has been lost. Unlabelled plants will not sell.

(6) Snails and Slugs can become a problem especially in spring so pellets should be positioned around the section and checked on a monthly basis. Always be aware of the danger to children when applying the bait.

(7) The benches will generally need scrubbing down every six months.

(8) Ferns thrive on liquid fertilizers such as nitrosol and a monthly fertilizing program should be put into practice in all months.


As with all other areas of the nursery the manner in which the ferns are grouped and displayed will have a major impact on sales. Currently ferns are grouped into small pots on one bench and large pots on the other. This is obviously only the first step in solving customers problems and it is your responsibility to further divide the section into groups to guide customers through the decision making process.

Although alphabetical order within groups makes the ordering process easier, most customers are not interested in botanical names but are instead looking for what effect they may achieve in their own garden. Blockings of the same plant will definitely create impact but you must also arrange them in a manner that either accentuates their form or shows how they can be combined with others to create a desirable effect.

Signage and information within the section will inform the customer and help them to choose the right plants for their garden.


All plants should be clearly priced, if a customer cannot easily see the price of a plant they will either not buy it or they will take up valuable staff time finding out.

Currently a general mark up of 105% on pre-GST price, (plus 10% GST added to this marked up price), is put on all stock within the fern section. Care must be taken to ensure that we are never priced above our nearest competitor The Greenery, although if you can get stock that is considerably superior &/or cheaper than our usual stock, you should take advantage of the opportunity and increase margin accordingly.

Regular specials in the section are encouraged as they can not only draw some customers into the section but also will also tell customers that we are competitive and provide good value for money. Due to the size of the section only one type of fern should be on special at a time unless there is an advertised sale period.

Environmental issues

Bulleen Art & Garden will only stock plants that have been propagated in a wholesale nursery. Many suppliers may have stock that has been legally taken from forests but we do not support this activity. It is your responsibility to ensure this stand continues. This is the reason we do not sell tree ferns with developed trunks as they are cut from the forest. Instead we sell spore-grown stock that will develop trunks with time.

Safety at BAAG is more important than customer service!

Electric tractors
There is a risk of a serious accident with the electric tractors. These tractors can pull five-ton and so could crush a leg or a toddler’s head. BE VERY CAREFUL. Do not let your legs hang out the side, take keys out and switch off when not in use AND NEVER SPEED, A TODDLER COULD COME OUT FROM BEHIND A BENCH.

Lifting and bending
Be sensible with your lifting and bending. It is continuous, so talk to senior nursery staff for techniques for lifting and to minimise bending. Straighten your back regularly and spend the time to get in the best position. Use your free arm to support your body when reaching. Never lift anything that you find too heavy and do not hesitate to ask for assistance. When full of plants the large plant trolleys should be towed into the nursery with an electric tractor. If this is not possible, a heavy trolley should always be pushed by two people. It is too heavy for one person to push.

Personal safety
Be aware of and reduce or communicate (with signs if appropriate) hazards to you and customers associated with handling plants, eg. climbers and other staked plants and deciduous trees in winter- historically every few years someone in industry loses eye.

Tools and safety
Put your tools away and always roll up your hoses. We have a lot of elderly customers but anyone can break a limb tripping over a hose or rake left carelessly lying around.

Your responsibility and duty
As in all sections of the nursery safety comes first. If you see a hazard it is more important than anything else, including customers, and you must do something about it straight away. The new laws make you now individually responsible and it is surprising how easy it is for a serious accident or a death to occur in the workplace. You must all contribute actively and positively to the health and safety of other staff and our customers.

Materials Handling
If anything in this job description is unclear, appears outdated or requires some training for you to perform, please let your manager or supervisor know.
As you become familiar with this job it is your responsibility to suggest ways that we can make it safer, more efficient and better able to work in with other people’s tasks. Please communicate any suggestions to managers or put them in the suggestion box.

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