The Specialist Plant Course

For the student who already has a good knowledge of plants

This course aims to provide a deeper understanding of current planting ideas and plant combinations. A proportion of the days on this course involve visits to well established gardens and plant collections. National plant collections and notable private gardens are visited to look at both the plant species and the many cultivars available to garden designers and gardeners. Each visit is hosted by either holders of plant collections, garden and nursery owners or head gardeners who share their expert knowledge on their plants.

Calycanthus raulstonii ‘Hartlage Wine’

The Syllabus

The course covers the following subjects over a total of 10 days.

  • Plant identification, plant families and plant naming as stipulated by The Royal Horticultural Society with reference to the gardens and plant collections visited
  • Choosing the right plant for the right place
  • Gardens with historical links
  • Understanding relevance of National Plant collections
  • Plant hybridizing
  • Importance of plant conservation and native garden worthy plants
  • Seasonal plants with the best species and cultivars available
  • Herbarium visits and understanding plant recording
  • Plant hunters and plant collecting

There are a series of eight homeworks based on plant families designed to extend the range and understanding of topics covered during the course. These are assessed, marked and contribute towards the final course marks. They are expected to take between ½ to 1 day each. There is a project which runs during the course.

Course dates

The course runs on the following Thursdays:


Thursday 12th September 2019, 10th October, 14th November, 5th December, 9th January 2020, 13th February, 12th March, 9th April, 7th May, 11th June.


Thursday 10th September, 8th October, 12th November, 3rd December, 7th January 2021, 11th February, 11th March, 8th April, 6th May and 10th June.


This is not a certificate course but course work will be set and assessed. Students wishing to enrol for this course must have previously been on The Plant Course or a similar course and show that they have attained a good level of plant knowledge.

Course Fees

The fees for the course are £1195.00 and are payable in full before the beginning of the autumn term. A place is confirmed on the course by sending a non-refundable deposit for £100.00 together with the completed Plant School course application form.

Application Form

The application form for joining this course can be downloaded by clicking on the following link. Please complete the form and return it either by email or post.

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