Whether you’re looking for professional horticultural training or would simply like to get more out of your own garden, check out our series of one-day gardening courses starting this September.
You can pick and choose from the Saturday sessions or come along to all eight, which together make up a Certificate in Practical Horticulture.
The courses are taught in Cornwall at the Eden Project gardens and its nearby plant nursery, but the internationally recognised qualification has been put together with the help from experts at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Taught as one-day self-contained courses, each Saturday session begins with a short theory session followed by a chance to put into practice what you’ve learnt – and to get your hands dirty. The topics range from propagating seeds to recognising pests and diseases to understanding the botany behind plants.
Starting a career in horticulture
Megan Lodge completed the course this summer and has now set up her own gardening business. Having previously worked in an office she decided to combine Eden’s course with three other gardening courses to learn everything she possibly could about horticulture.
‘The way the staff pass on their passion is contagious,’ she says. ‘To see plants celebrated at the Eden site is great as a gardener, and to work at the nursery where all the magic happens is so inspiring. Anyone interested in gardening will naturally light up there.’
She particularly liked the nursery’s tropical plant quarantine. ‘I’m a geek, I know, but I loved seeing all the biological controls and trying to guess what disease is what.’
After a stint volunteering with a garden maintenance company that was overwhelmed with jobs, she ended up working directly for clients herself. ‘It was definitely Eden which gave me that confidence,’ she says.
Steve Pearson, who completed his Certificate in 2011, agrees: ‘The tutors really encouraged us to have a go. They lit the touch paper for us.’
Having worked as a geological surveyor Steve had no formal horticulture qualifications but simply loved tending his own garden. He enrolled on the Eden course to help turn his hobby into a career.
Today he’s running his own gardening company and says it’s great to be able to offer a skilled service. ‘People are crying out for gardeners who can do more than cut the grass.
Steve says it was the practical nature of the course that sold it for him. ‘Some horticultural courses are too theoretical. This one lets you get out there on the ground, snipping things off and digging things up; it’s a great foundation.’