A Year in the Garden
Part-time course
Next start date: september 2024

“Really enjoyable course which I would recommend to anyone wanting to really understand how to get the best from their garden and make it look attractive the whole year round. Lots of useful advice, tips, etc, and an  inclusive friendly atmosphere  pitched at just the right level.”

Pete, Current Student  (Year in the Garden 2022-23, Herne Hill)

course outline

A part-time horticulture course following the gardening year while teaching the key skills and knowledge you need to become a better gardener
Aimed at the keen amateur gardener, including those new to gardening, it is also a useful foundation course for those interested in exploring a horticultural or related career.
 
This student-centred course is designed to
  • enhance your understanding of the theory of horticulture
  • actively increase your plant knowledge
  • improve your gardening skills
All while keeping you one step of your garden if you have one (though you absolutely don’t need to have your own garden to take the course).
 
The course includes:
  • weekly classes with small class sizes in friendly, relaxed settings
  • detailed and robust horticultural teaching combined with wider discussion including students’ real-life gardening queries throughout the year
  • practical sessions and field trips
  • seasonal maintenance planning and guidance
  • home study tasks to supplement classroom learning
  • preparation for our Foundation Certificate qualification
The course runs for a year with groups starting in September and in January.

what you will learn

Key Topics

Plant science

Basics of plant science; health & nutrition; propagation & care; pests & diseases; lifecycles & nomenclature

Skills

Soils; seeds; cuttings; propagation; planting; pruning

Gardens

Design principles; styles; garden planning; soft & hard landscaping

Maintenance

Annual planting; pruning; soil improvement; wildlife management; seasonal gardening

While some lessons do tackle specific areas of the syllabus, all of these topics are woven into the theory and practical sessions throughout the year, always with an eye on what the home/amateur gardener will (or should) be doing in their garden that week.

Core Fundamentals

The following core teaching will underpin all of our lessons and topics.

Plants, plants and more plants ...

Our rigorous and comprehensive plant identification programme aims to significantly increase students' plant knowledge. Students will learn the names and habits of hundreds of the most common plants encountered by the London gardener in the course of the year.

Sustainability

All of our topics and lessons are strongly rooted in a commitment to sustainable, resource efficient practice.

Practicals and Field Trips

This is a classroom-based course though with plenty of plants and practical sessions both in and around the classroom.  There are also termly field trips to local public or private gardens in SE London and other places of interest.  

Experts and Guest Speakers

A wide range of specialist guests and tutors are regularly invited to join lessons and share their expertise.  Recent guests have included experts in propagation, fruit & vegetable growing, bees and pollination, trench composting and garden design as well as the owner of a popular local garden centre.  Recent trips have also included exclusive talks from professional gardeners such as the head gardeners of the Horniman Museum Garden and the Sky Garden in central London.

Assignments and Assessments

There will be regular assessments to ensure learning outcomes are being met.  You will also be expected to complete one short assignment each term.

At least one assignment over the three terms will be a practical one based in students’ own gardens although there is lots of scope for this to be undertaken in a friend’s garden or other borrowed space.  

Qualification

The course is not exam-based but there will be opportunities throughout to test knowledge and to demonstrate understanding and competence.  Satisfactory attendance and participation,  completion of the assessments and assignments and demonstration of plant knowledge and practical competence will qualify you for the London School of Horticulture Foundation Certificate.  The curriculum is designed to be accessible and inclusive whatever your educational background, not to trip you up,  and full support will be given to help everyone meet the requirements of the Certificate.

what our students say

Comments from current students ...

"I am close to completing ‘A Year in the Garden’. I have learnt so much in the 9 months. What a fantastic course. I have enjoyed every moment. Designing a garden, planting a lasagne of bulbs, testing soil, learning what gives pleasure in the garden in each season. I’ve learnt Latin names of plants. How to build a pond and be environmentally friendly in my gardening efforts. I could go on …."
student taking leaf cuttings
Lucy
Current Student, A Year in the Garden, Herne Hill (daytime course)
"Really enjoyable course which I would recommend to anyone wanting to really understand how to get the best from their garden and make it look attractive the whole year round. Lots of useful advice, tips, etc, and an  inclusive friendly atmosphere  pitched at just the right level."
student preparing to take leaf cuttings
Pete
Current Student, A Year in the Garden, Herne Hill (daytime course)
"I have really enjoyed the course. It was just what I was looking for. Being a busy mum and working part time it went at the right pace for me. I like the fact there are no exams but a few tests/homework assignments which work with my timetable. I liked the people who attended the course who have lots of interesting ideas and comments which add to the lessons. I like the casual, relaxed and welcoming style and will be sad when it is finished."
student's hands dividing plant
LHD
Current Student, A Year in the Garden, Herne Hill (daytime course)

entry require-ments

entry requirements

There are no formal entrance requirements: the course aims to enhance students’ enjoyment of gardens and build up useful knowledge without intimidating them, whatever their previous academic or horticultural experience.  However, it is not advisable to try to tackle the course without having at least the following:
Interest in Gardening

You do not need any previous training or horticultural qualifications to undertake this course, we all started somewhere and an interest in gardening is a great starting point.

Availability

You will need to be available to attend lessons one day per week at one of our SE London centres

Spoken/written English

You will need to have good enough English language and written skills to follow a certificate level course including some short written tests and a final assessment

Study time

You will need a commitment to completing 'homework' assignments between lessons and to learning the names and characteristics of a short list of plants every week during termtime.

If you have concerns about whether you will be able to take the course we are very happy to discuss with you to help you decide.

days & times

Daytime Courses

Herne Hill (Rosendale)

Tuesdays 10.30am – 2.30pm

Telegraph Hill

Fridays 10.30am – 2.30pm

Evening Course

Herne Hill (Station Hall)

Mondays 5pm – 7pm

Our shorter evening classes follow the same core syllabus as the daytime courses with some of the broader content condensed and with fewer practical sessions (and no field trips except in summer).  This is reflected in the lower price for the evening class.   All essential material is covered, though a commitment to undertaking all the homework and self-study tasks is important on this pathway in order to reach Foundation Certificate level. 

dates

Daytime Courses

Herne Hill (Rosendale Rd)- Tuesdays 10.30am – 2.30pm

NEXT START: September 2024

Telegraph Hill – Fridays 10.30am – 2.30pm

NEXT START: September 2024

Evening Course

Herne Hill (Station Hall) – Mondays 5-7pm

NEXT START: September 2024

We have three terms of 11-12 weeks, with Christmas and Easter breaks of 4 weeks.

Click here for 2022-23 dates.

Click here for 2023-24 dates.

Each term includes a half-term ‘home-study break’ where there will be no in-person class but there will be a study assignment to be completed and submitted from home (you will be able to choose online or on paper).  These study breaks co-incide with the school half terms.  In line with the local secondary schools, the study break will be two weeks in the autumn term and one week in the spring and summer terms.

tutors

This course is led by our Director of Studies Dr Mima Taylor, with some topics covered by specialist guest tutors

photograph of Dr Mima Taylor

costs

2023-24 fees are shown here as an indication.  2024-25 fees are expected to be in the same range and will be confirmed in Spring 2024.

By registering you will be signing up for the full year and can choose whether to pay termly (three further payments) or to get a small discount by paying annually in two further instalments with the last one due in October

Pay by the Term
£150 registration deposit
plus fees:
Daytime Courses
Evening Course
£730
per term
£475
per term

Deposit payable on enrolment. Fees payable termly, due before the beginning of each term.

Full Year
£150 registration deposit
plus fees:
Daytime Courses
Evening Course
£2,110
per year
£1,375
per year

Deposit payable on enrolment. Fees payable in two instalments with the last one due before the first half term break.

All bookings must be confirmed with a deposit payment of £150*.

* Deposit fully refundable if the course is cancelled or does not go ahead as advertised (eg due to Covid).  It is non-refundable if the course goes ahead as advertised but the student chooses to cancel, although it may in exceptional circumstances be transferrable to another or later course.

costs

Fees shown for 2023-24

(entry September 2023)

Pay by the Term
£150 registration deposit
plus fees:
Daytime Courses
Evening Course
£720
per term
£455
per term

Deposit payable on enrolment. Fees payable termly, due before the beginning of each term.

Full Year
£150 registration deposit
plus fees:
Daytime Courses
Evening Course
£2,160
per year
£1,365
per year

Deposit payable on enrolment. Fees payable in two instalments with the last one due before the first half term break.

All bookings must be confirmed with a deposit payment of £150*.

* Deposit fully refundable if the course is cancelled or does not go ahead as advertised (eg due to Covid).  It is non-refundable if the course goes ahead as advertised but the student chooses to cancel, although it may in exceptional circumstances be transferrable to another or later course.

locations

Herne Hill (Rosendale)
Rosendale Allotments Community Building

Rosendale Allotments
227 Rosendale Road,
London SE21 8LP

Herne Hill (station hall)
Station Hall
above Herne Hill Station

Railton Road,
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0JW

Telegraph Hill
The Garden Room at Telegraph Hill Centre

Telegraph Hill Centre
Kitto Road,
London, SE14 5TY