What We Do

Our Diploma in Horticulture and Garden History courses are designed to give you a detailed and working knowledge without the stress of examinations, assessments or assignments. The emphasis is very much on conservation, sustainability and ecology within the environment.

The Diploma in Horticulture

This Diploma covers the full range of Gardening, Garden Design and Horticultural topics.  It has a strong emphasis on the Conservation of the Ecology of the garden, showing how to garden well whilst still preserving the natural environment and encouraging wildlife.  It strongly supports the principles of sustainability and organic growing.


The full Diploma covers three years and starts in September but students only need to make an annual commitment of one day per week for 25 weeks plus study tours over the academic year.  The course fee for each year is £595.00.

The course is highly successful and most of our students return to complete Years Two and Three.

Course days always start with a discussion of topical tasks for the week, a look at any news articles such as new legislation, plant varieties and appropriate pests and diseases.  There is sufficient flexibility in the schedule to allow discussion on any topics or problems which might be relevant to you at the time.  Each week we look in detail at a group of specific plants to aid with their identification and cultivation.


We also look at a range of garden plants and techniques by visits to other Gardens in the South West and beyond including study tours which frequently travel abroad.


The Diploma in Horticulture | Modules for Year One

Horticultural Skills

An Introduction to the Basic Horticultural Skills of Plant Identification, Site Assessment, Cultivations, Planting, Pruning and Propagation

Plant Knowledge & Botany

Plant Identification Features, Life Cycles, Classification, Structure, Function, Reproduction and Breeding

Soil Management

Soil Formation, Composition, Structure, pH, Nutrients, Fertilizers, Manures and Management

Plant Propagation

Propagation Techniques from Seed Sowing, through the Range of Cuttings, Division, Layering, Budding and Grafting with Post Propagation Care

The Diploma in Horticulture | Modules for Year Two

Garden Design

The Process of Design from Customer Consultation, Site Assessment, Measurements, The Production of a Range of Plans through to the Installation of Hard and Soft Landscaping

Ornamental Trees and Shrubs

The Range of Trees, Shrubs, Conifers, Hedging Plants, Climbers and Wall Shrubs and their use in Garden Design

Decorative Horticulture

The Range and Use of Herbaceous Perennials, Annuals, Ground Cover Plants, Bulbs, Aquatic and Alpine Plants, Herbs, Turf, Ornamental Grasses and Container Grown Subjects

Plant Protection

Control and Identification of Plant Pests, Diseases, Disorders and Weeds with An emphasis on Organic Control Measures and Natural Predators

The Diploma in Horticulture | Modules for Year Three

Fruit and Vegetables

The Cultivation of the full range of Vegetables, Soft and Top Fruit. The different Techniques and Alternative Growing Methods

Organic Growing

Alternative Growing Methods, Companion Planting, Organic Principles, Cultivation, Plant Protection, Organisations and Standards

Conservation & Wildlife Gardening

Conservation History and Legislation, World Biomes, Ecological Principles, Protected Species, Creation and Management of Wildlife Ponds and Woodland Edge, Conservation Programmes and Identification of Native Species

Amenity Horticulture

Plants for Winter Interest, Shade and Drought. The use of Mediterranean, Japanese, Prairie and Gravel Gardens and their Plants

Garden History Certificate

This course traces the development of gardens through history looking at styles, people, influences and plants.  It starts with the First Gardens in the Fertile Crescent and the Mediterranean; Persian, Egyptian, Moghul, Islamic, then Greek, Roman and Moorish Renaissance Gardens are examined through Italian Influences then investigating French, Dutch and other European Styles.


Early English Gardens cover the period to 1700 and include Mediaeval, Tudor, Dutch and Early Formal Gardens, gardens from other areas of the world include Chinese, Japanese and American.

The Development of the English Landscape Garden covers the work of Bridgeman, Kent, Vanbrugh, Burlington, Gibbs, Pope and Lancelot Brown.

Eighteenth Century Gardens investigate the Ferme Ornée, Rococo, Gardenesque, Picturesque and Regency Styles.

The More Recent Gardens examines Victorian, Edwardian, Arts and Crafts, Modernist, Plant Collectors and Modern Gardens.

This course includes visits to a range of historic heritage gardens at home and abroad.


Saturday Workshops




20th October - Planting Winter Containers and other Tasks for Autumn

We will be planting containers to give a colourful display of flowers, foliage and bulbs throughout the winter and into spring.  We will also be looking at those other autumn jobs to prepare your garden for a bright and colourful display next year and to produce a bountiful harvest of fruit and vegetables.

24th November - Winter Pruning and other Jobs for November

We will look at the mystery of winter pruning which is more straightforward than often thought.   We will explain how to successfully prune your fruit trees and roses to give a lovely yield of fruit and flowers next year.

23rd February - Pruning throughout the Year

This workshop will explain the practice behind pruning to show you how to successfully prune your garden plants throughout the year to keep them in shape and under control for that glorious display.

23rd March - Planting for a Colourful Summer Garden

The spring is a good time to plan your colourful floral displays for the summer.  We will show you which herbaceous plants, bulbs and annuals to sow for that colourful summer garden spectacle.

27th April - April Tasks for Productive Fruit and Vegetable Plots

April is one of the busiest months of the year and for this workshop we will guide you through all the tasks you need to do for a tidy garden with particular emphasis on productive fruit and vegetable plots.

25th May - How to make your Garden Wildlife Friendly

We all love to see wildlife in our gardens.  Today we will concentrate on which plants you need to plant in your garden to encourage not only birds, bees and butterflies but also other wildlife which will help you keep down pests and protect your plants.

If you have a question about one of our courses, please do get in touch.