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The Art and Craft of Gardening

A six-session course (one morning per week) looking at the basic principles for creating and maintaining a beautiful garden. For details of course content, click here.

Cost £70 (refreshments provided).

One-off morning courses by request:

One-off morning courses are available on request. These run from 10 am to 12.30 pm and the cost is £12 per person. If you would like to get a group together for this, you will need to find a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 8 participants. Refreshments are provided.

Titles of one-off courses on offer:

Gardens through History - A look at garden-making through the ages with a particular focus on gleaning ideas for our own gardens

Sucessional Planting - keeping the borders full throughout the growing season

The Winter Garden -
choosing plants to makes exciting winter garden pictures, as well ensuring that the garden looks good even in the depths of winter

Learning from Gertrude Jekyll -
applying the teachings of this great gardener to our own gardens

Preparing the Garden for Spring -
the necessary tasks such as pruning, feeding and mulching.

Right Plant, Right Place -
choosing the best plants for our gardens from an aesthetic and ecological perspective

Choosing roses for the garden -
this course is offered in the second half of June only, so we can study roses in situ as well as analyzing their scents

Choosing Perennials
- choosing perennials based on aesthetic and ecological factors as well as their growth habits, life-span and easue of maintenance.

Food from your Garden
- learning how to grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs.

The Potager
- creating a decorative vegetable, fruit and herb garden.

A Shrub for Every Situation
- selecting appropriate shrubs for an interesting, well-structured, low maintenance garden.

Description of Courses
Gardens through History

An understanding of garden history not only makes garden visiting much more exciting and meaningful, but also gives us a framework in which to consider the options for the development of our own gardens.

We will examine gardens from the ancient world up to the present day, considering garden design and planting styles. This may well inspire our own creative efforts and have a beneficial effect on the way we garden.

Fountain of the River Gods, Villa Lante, Italy
The garden at Peckover House, Wisbech
The Winter Garden

Winter can be an exciting time in the garden. This day course recommends plants which bring beauty and colour to winter days and suggests ways in which they can be used to create pleasing winter vignettes.

It has been said that the true test of a garden is how it looks in February, and the course will consider too how we can create gardens which pass the February test.

Right Plant Right Place
Choosing appropriate plants for the garden can be confusing. This course aims to provide guidance on making the correct plant choices both from an aesthetic and ecological point of view.

We will explore those plants which are suited to hot dry situations, particularly relevant to East Anglia

We will look at other conditions and examine the plants which might be suited to them whether this be damp areas, or that most difficult of planting situations - the dry shade under trees.

We will look also at selecting plants from an aesthetic point of view, so that the plants we choose help create the look we want to achieve.

Beth Chatto's Dry Garden
Beth Chatto's Water Garden in winter
Learning from Gertrude Jekyll
We study the garden teachings of Gertrude jekyll, probably the greatest gardener England has ever produced. Still today there is much we can learn from her on how to make our gardens places of beauty and peace. She described herself as an 'artist-gardener' and turned gardening into an art form. In this course, we shall look at her teaching on colour, successional planting, border composition, drift planting, the importance of foliage, craetive use of roses and transition planting, amongst others.
The Great Plat, Hestercombe
Rose arches at The Manor House, Upton Grey
The Dutch Garden, Hestercombe
Preparing your Garden for Spring

Late February is the time to get back into the garden and get it ready for the growing season.  This day course focuses on gardening tasks such as pruning, planting, feeding, mulching and dealing with pests and diseases in order to produce an abundance of flowers and lush exuberant planting.

. . . . and in Summer
The Art and Craft of Gardening

The aim of this course is to enable you to create and maintain a beautiful garden. We will be looking at:

  • Assessing your garden
    Basic principles of garden design
    Choosing plants appropriately on aesthetic and ecological principles
    Soil care and plant nutrition
    Creating a healthy garden ecosystem
    Weeds, pests and diseases
    Container gardening

…and each week we will be examining a plant group, e.g. trees, shrubs, perennials, bulbs, exploring the range of species available and the factors which will help us in our selection, as well as discussing how best to use them in the garden and their care.

Sucessional Planting

Keeping the border going right through the summer can be difficult, and no gardener likes to have gaping holes during the growing season. In this morning course we look at how gaps in the border can be avoided by good border composition and successional planting, as well as suggesting some tricks which can be used should a gap appear.

Choosing Roses for the Garden

Roses are the glory of the summer garden and nothing creates an exuberant romantic picture like a well chosen and well grown climbing or rambling rose. But rose choice can be tricky. In this course we examine the various rose groups and look at the particular characteristics of different roses which affect their suitability for certain sites. Each rose has its own personality which will determine where it will be best used and how it can be trained and pruned.

This course is available in June only as my garden will be full of roses and their wonderful fragrance then. We will be able to study the roses in situ and experience and analyse their scents.
Choosing Perennials

There is a bewildering number of possible perennials from which to choose for use in the garden. Many gardeners base their choice on flower alone, but there are other equally important considerations. In this course we examine the range of available perennials and the factors involved in their selection, and in particular we look at their growth habit and how this impacts on their behaviour and use. We examine too how the various perennials are best placed in the garden as well as ways of pruning them to achieve the desired effect.
Food from your Garden

'Growing your own' is becoming increasingly popular. Producing food in this way is deeply satisfying, but it has its pitfalls and can be disappointing. This course outlines the basic principles of growing fruit, herbs and vegetables whether this be in an allotment, a dedicated kitchen garden, or tucked into various places in the beds and borders and in containers. We will look at siting, crop choice and crop rotation, growing herbs and vegetables from seed, crop protection and harvesting.
The Potager

'Potager' is a French word for an ornamental fruit and vegetable garden, which combines edible and non-edible plants to create an area of beauty as well as producing food from the garden. The idea of a potager has a long history, but is still relevant today, especially in our small gardens, where we want to get the most out of our space. In this course we will look at possible designs for a potager, as well as examining which vegetables and herbs are most suited for inclusion. We will consider too companion planting and the choice of plants which make a special contribution both visually and in helping to create a healthy eco-system. Various methods of growing fruit, including trained forms, will be suggested.
A Shrub for Every Situation

Shrubs have had a chequered history, and over the last twenty years perennials and grasses have overtaken them in popularity. But the shrub is making a come-back.

Shrubs provide permanent, often year round presence and structure in the garden and are low maintenance and easier to manage than perennials. There is a shrub for every situation. This course examines the range of shrubs and how they can be used to create an exciting but low maintenance garden.