Simon Leake awarded Australian Horticulturist of the Year 2016

In December of last year our director and founder Simon Leake was presented with the AIH Award of Horticulturist of the Year, a distinguished award for outstanding contribution to the Australian industry of horticulture. Below is the citation from the Australian Institute of Horticulture outlining the purpose of the award and Simon’s distinguished contribution to the industry. SESL Australia along with the rest of the Australian horticultural industry are proud of Simon’s achievement and congratulate him on his award.


The Award criteria:

The AIH Award of Horticulturist of the Year (HOY) is an annual event offering a unique opportunity to publicly recognise an outstanding AIH member. By profiling the excellence of AIH members in this way it is hoped to both inspire and challenge horticulturists in their practice and to promote their skills and achievements to the public. This Award is to be presented for their outstanding contribution to a horticultural project of merit, including horticulture education or horticulture media



Simon Leake

Simon began his industry career back in 1981 having graduated with first class honours in agricultural science majoring in soils science.  Even though Simons first choice was a joint Horticulture and Soil Science major being keen to follow Production and Amenity Horticulture the university would not allow him to do a joint major and so soil science won out.

After nine disillusioned months of a PhD in an analytical chemistry laboratory he established the Sydney Environmental and Soil Laboratory in 1984.

Providing much needed testing and scientific advice to the amenity horticulture industry; landscape architects, nurseries and potting mix manufacturers Simon soon built a sound reputation for the diagnosis of plant ill-health and causes of failure.

Simon’s most recent project was providing the detailed design and technical advice and practice for the highly successful plantings at Barangaroo, Sydney.

Some of his other major projects include Darling Harbour, Sydney Olympic Park, Millennium Parklands, Dubai Island World

His work as a writer and lecturer in the soil sciences is in demand and is regularly invited as a guest speaker at TAFE and Universities, Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra botanic gardens, industry magazines, garden clubs’ television and radio.

Simon is co-author of the book that won the 2015 AIH Secretary’s Literature Award ‘Soils for Landscape Development’, a book dedicated to improving the technical specification and manufacture of landscape soils. 


Fitzpatrick & Insurance Brokers are sponsors of the Australian Horticulturist of the Year Award.

(Citation used from The Australian Institute of Horticulture Inc. 2016)