Garden School:

Garden School:
Teaching this week: Biting the bullet: when to be brave, and to rip out existing garden features, in a garden which is not giving the owner any joy!


I am available to give talks locally, to any group interested in any aspect of gardening.

There are some subjects which are always popular, and which are listed below, but if your members have a particular interest that isn't mentioned, do ask.  Regular talks include:

-  Garden design and how to apply it to your own garden.

-  Compost - of course - and leaf mould making: what, why, and how.

-  Wildlife gardening: nettles are not essential!

-  Climate change and how it affects gardeners.

-  Wildflower meadows, nectar bars and attracting birds into your garden.

-  Botany for Beginners: Latin is Not Your Enemy!

-  Garden archaeology (bring along your hardcore!).

-  The Scythe: how an ancient implement fits in to the modern world, along with a demonstration - if you have some suitable long grass!

Talking of which, I love to do practical demonstrations: topiary clipping, propagation, specialist pruning of roses, fruit etc, willow work: these require suitable areas to work in, of course, and are more workshops than talks.

In addition I present a one-day workshop based on my book How to be a Successful Self-Employed Gardener, and I have mentored several people into gardening.

For talks, I bring along an old-fashioned flip chart or use a whiteboard if you have one: I also bring along a selection of plants and garden items for sale, subject to the time of year.

Most groups book their talks well in advance, but if you get a cancellation at short notice, I may be able to step into the gap for you.

I am also an Associate Tutor for the Field Studies Council and I run a regular series of one-day workshops for them, in Tree identification. These all occur in London, but if you wanted a similar course locally, I would be happy to oblige. You would need to provide a classroom or workroom - which can be something like a Village Hall - for the indoor parts, and access to a reasonable amount of woodland for the practical sections.

I am also often asked for a one-day course on plant identification: this is usually for teachers or volunteer leaders who are not quite 100% confident of their ability to lead a botany group, and includes the basics of plant ID, recording sheets, jargon busting, how to cheat, how to deal with problems,  and how to make your courses easier for the tutors by use of the dichotomous key ("ooh!") and the famous Cribs. All good fun!

I am based in Wantage, and am happy to travel around the local villages including East and West Hanney, the Hendreds, Letcombe Regis and Letcombe Bassett, Uffington, the Challows, Childrey etc.

I always enjoy talking to local groups, so if you are interested, do please e-mail me to discuss details.

To email me: click on View My Complete Profile and use the link there, or email direct to Thank you!