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Well we made it. We got to the end of the two Certificate in Practical Horticulture courses which we have been running since September. It was nail biting at times, with the Government’s changes to Covid regulations threatening to make us pause the courses as we had to in the first lockdown, but we were able to keep going and last week saw twenty-two students doing the assessments on two relatively dry if cold days. It was certainly very different from the roasting hot day in August when the first cohort did their assessment. But they all kept calm and did brilliantly well. We look forward to a socially distanced graduation picnic in January. The next course starting in late January is already full, but there are places available on both Wednesdays and Saturdays starting late April. It is a great course for keen amateur gardeners who want to hone their skills, for professional gardeners who want a qualification and for career changers who are just starting out as gardeners. Do get in touch if you would like to know more.
In between the assessment days we have been spending time in the Rhino greenhouse pricking out seedlings so that they can put on root growth over winter in the polytunnel. It is important to make sure seedlings are moved on before they begin to develop mildew in overcrowded seed trays. We now have hundreds of Viola seedlings in little plug trays, and they will be joined by other seedlings over the next week.
We have had several lovely festive wreath making workshops this week. The remaining dates are all fully booked, but Sarah Hammond from English Peonies will be back with us to teach the first Cutting Garden course of 2021 in February. This course is filling up, as are the Dahlia workshops and the Peony Masterclass later in the spring and summer. There are more details about all of these courses on our website.
We have a brand new course starting in March. It is a two-day Border Design course and will look at fundamental design and colour principles, planting combinations and styles, and will equip you with the skills to draw up your own border design. Get in touch for more information or to book one of the last spaces.
And if you are looking for a Christmas present for the gardeners in your life don’t forget that we offer personalised gift vouchers.
Upcoming courses with availability:
- Fruit Tree Care – 11th December (one space left)
- Botanical Printmaking (6-week course) – 11th January
- Basic Slab Laying – 16th January
- Renovation Pruning – 22nd January
- Fruit Tree Care – 2nd February
- Border Renovation – 5th February
- Cutting Garden – 9th February
- Your Veg Patch – 12th February
Plant of the Week
Mahonia x media 'Lionel Fortescue'
Mahonia x media ‘Lionel Fortescue' is a statuesque, erect, evergreen shrub with spiny, architectural, pinnate leaves which reach 45cm in length. It flowers in early winter with bright yellow, scented, clustered racemes which can be 40cm in length. The berries which follow in spring are blue-black. It is hardy and easy to grow in any well-drained or moist soil in shade or partial shade and makes a great focal point in the garden at this time of year.