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Want to learn more about gardening? We look at some courses to help you get started.

it's a great time for garden planning and a perfect opportunity to think about honing the gardening skills you may be missing or want to perfect. Whether you are a beginner gardener or an accomplished plants pro, or even want to swap careers for one in horticulture, there's a wealth of courses out there to help you on your way. You can learn how to make compost, create beautiful flower borders or grow your own vegetables, as well as propagation, soil science and garden design.

"When it comes to enhancing your skills and knowledge with a course, then the game-changer in choosing the right course for you really comes down to your interests and passion," says Suzanne Moss, head of education and learning at the RHS.

"It should be something that interests and motivates you to ensure you get the most from the learning experience. RHS short courses and workshops (run over a couple of hours to three days), delivered at all RHS Gardens, range from pruning to propagation to art, photography and garden design.

"Another key factor is your end goal - what do you want to achieve? Are you looking for a course that captivates your personal interest or wanting to turn a huge passion for gardening into a career? If you are looking to grow your own curiosity, then a shorter course may be the ideal start and a great way to meet like-minded individuals with the same passion."

Of course costs, time you are able to commit and location are other key factors to consider, she observes. Here are just a few of the courses available in 2022:

For grow-your-own fans

No-Dig Day Course (charlesdowding.co.uk) selected dates from March 19, Homeacres, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, £195

Plantsman and grow-your-own expert Charles Dowding shows the basics of his 'no dig' principles, a method where you can grow edibles without having to do any of the back-breaking digging of old.

You'll learn how to grow more food in less time, the principles of compost making using examples of Dowding's composting process, ingredients and proportions as well as how long you need to leave it and whether turning it helps.

He'll also show visitors the progress of experiments including beds of dig/no dig produce, show what can be done under the cover of polytunnels and in the greenhouse, and offer time-saving tips on watering, weeding and plant care. The course includes lunch with produce from the garden.

For learning about sustainability

Ecology and sustainability in your garden workshop (rhs.org.uk) Apr 1, RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, £61 for RHS members, £75 non-members

This is just one of a new range of sustainability workshops introduced by the RHS to encourage planet-friendly gardening. The one-day session looks at ways we can 'reduce, re-use, reclaim and recycle', reviewing our use of plastic, going peat-free, managing water and helping plants cope with too little or too much.

Other RHS workshops through the year will include subjects such as Bokashi composting and fermentation which breaks down meat and dairy for use in the garden, and learning to scythe. For details visit rhs.org.uk/education-learning/courses-workshops.

For future garden designers

Inchbald Diploma Garden Design (www.inchbald.co.uk), Inchbald School of Design, London, from £7,015

This course - whether you choose to do it for one, two or three years, on campus or online - should set you in good stead for a career in garden design. Modules covered include design, design analysis, planting design and construction, while teaching is given by professional designers who help students gain spatial awareness and visualisation skills and an understanding of design as it relates to the garden. Online courses start on April 19 - visit the website for further details.

For wildlife lovers

Gardening for wildlife with Andy McIndoe (learningwithexperts.com); online, start when you like, four-week tutor access for personalised assignment feedback and coaching, £125

This online course is ideal for gardeners of all abilities who want to make their garden wildlife-friendly but still have the garden they want, not just a wilderness. Chelsea gold medal-winner Andy McIndoe offers advice on attracting wildlife, whether you have a huge garden or a tiny plot, while keeping the garden beautiful. He'll cover plants which attract wildlife, wildlife-friendly habitats, what to do and what to avoid and the importance of pollinators.

For propagation learners

Skills for propagation (charlesdowding.co.uk) April 5, Homeacres, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, £75

This new afternoon course is perfect for people who want to learn about propagation. There will be practical guidance on how to sow seeds and the different methods used, selecting the right compost for the job, pricking out techniques, watering, plus when and where to sow. Visitors will be shown what is growing in Homeacres greenhouse, and take a look at vegetables which have been propagated and transplanted.

For wannabe professionals

The RHS offers several options for individuals to kick-start a career in horticulture.

"Our regulated RHS Qualifications at Level 2, delivered part-time by approved partners nationwide, are highly regarded by employers and are the ideal starting point," says Moss. "These qualifications are also hugely popular with leisure learners and we have seen a significant increase in interest following the pandemic.

"Our full- time Level 2 work-based horticultural apprenticeships delivered at all RHS gardens provide an excellent opportunity for people with little or no experience to grow their skills and knowledge working alongside RHS horticulturists. Apprentices are employed and therefore paid whilst learning and we are currently accepting applications to start in August 2022 (applications close Mar 1)."

For details visit: rhs.org.uk/education-learning/courses-workshops.



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