Garden School:


Garden School:
Teaching this week: Rose maintenance and topiary clipping. Snip! Snip!

Garden School

Nervous about what to do in your garden?

New to gardening?

Not sure about pruning?

Here's your answer:  private gardening lessons in and around Wantage, for individuals and for small groups - real, hands-on, dirty fingernails gardening. This can be on a one-to-one basis for individual help: or for small groups of up to four persons.

Sessions are normally a 3-hour afternoon, from 1pm to 4pm, and will include whatever level of instruction you require - from complete beginners, to those who know the basics but perhaps need a little encouragement or confidence to deal with topiary, roses, etc.

If you have recently taken an interest in gardening, but really don’t know which are the weeds, or how to tackle the roses, this is a good way to learn, at your own pace, in your own garden. Or, you can come to the Garden School (see below), where you have the chance to work in a large established garden with topiary, roses, borders, fruit trees and many other garden features.

A beginners’ session can start with the absolute basics of real gardening: the best tools to use; how to weed; how - and when - to hoe, how to tackle shrubs and climbers, how to prune those roses; and will cover when and why, as well as how. Learn about compost, mulching, propagation, and have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you wish. I can’t guarantee that I will know all the answers, but I will certainly try!

Some of the many subjects which can be included are:
  1. Introduction to your garden: weeding, plant identification, books and tools.
  2. Planting out: soil preparation, choosing good plants, giving them a good start.
  3. Topiary: maintenance, changing shapes, starting out.
  4. Plants for free: teaching you about splitting and division.
  5. Plants for free II: propagating from cuttings, and growing from seed.
  6. Pruning: roses, shrubs, climbers: where to start, and where to stop!
  7. Garden Design: how to focus your ideas.
  8. Vegetables: where to start!
  9. Retrieving a mature garden that has gone back to the wild.
  10. Organic gardening: pros and cons.
Kind and friendly tuition, fully hands-on, with the chance to see how a professional does it, then to have a go yourself.

Who is it for? Complete beginners, or people with a little experience: people who haven’t gardened for while and think they have forgotten how to: or people who are just a little unsure how to tackle specific problems.
What does it cost? £150 for a 3-hour afternoon.
What do I need to provide? Just the location, and whatever tools you already have.
But my garden is small with not much in it: I want to learn about things I don't already have, can we do that? Yes: I have access to a training garden, where you can learn about a wide range of garden features.
Can I choose what subjects you will cover? Of course you can. Just assemble a list of what topics you would like to talk or learn about.
Are you terribly efficient and full of latin words? Well, yes I am terribly efficient, but I won’t rush you, we will go at your pace. I won’t force you to learn any latin, although I might possibly tell you why it's a good idea to learn just a little bit...
Can I have my friend along as well? Of course. The rate is the same for one of you, or for up to four of you. Obviously, the more of you there are, the less attention you each get!
How far will you travel? I am based in Wantage, so anywhere in and around that area.
How do I book you? E-mail me at Enquiries@rachel-the-gardener.co.uk. Tell me where you are, what sort of things you would like covered, whether it’s just you, or a small group, and I will get back to you with a suggested date.

What others have said:

"You've really given me the confidence to tackle these shrubs myself."

"Now I can sharpen my own secateurs!"

"It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words - and seeing exactly how to make the [pruning] cuts has been worth every penny."

"You do realise that after you spent the afternoon with my wife, there is nothing in my garden taller than two feet now?" (nb I think he was exaggerating for comic effect, ha ha, thank you Steve.)

Garden School:

I now have access to a large garden, where I can hold training days in practical gardening.

This is a real, true, practical Garden School, and includes courses for people wanting to become professional gardeners, as well as for people wanting to improve their skills for their own use.

Talking of turning professional, if you have always wanted to be your own boss and to work as a gardener, I have written a book that is just for you!

Like the botany guides, it is available as an eBook from Amazon, so you can download it to your Kindle, Fire, or any tablet with a reader: or you can just view it on your own pc, by downloading the free "app" that Amazon kindly supply.

The book itself is also free to download if you belong to Kindle Unlimited, or Amazon Prime. Otherwise, I'm afraid you will have to buy it, but it's well worth the money (said she, modestly).


To download it for free or to buy it, go to Amazon and follow the instructions.



Getting back to Garden School, as Botany is such an underfunded subject at present, I will also run courses on plant and tree identification, and the use of dichotomous keys

I currently run these courses in Bushy Park, London, for the Field Studies Council, but if you can't get to one of those courses, you might like to book your own private course in Oxfordshire, instead.

It's very important to get young people interested in plants, so I would hope to extend a welcome to local schools and colleges, as well as to individuals.