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

Please note that the academic year 2020-2021 has been moved back to September 2021 and will begin then. Please see the statement on the academic year for all courses and tours due to start in September 2020 for further details.

Postponed dates

Postponed dates missed from the academic year 2019-2020 will now be caught up on the following days:

  • Thursday 8th April 2021
  • Thursday 6th May and
  • Thursday 10th June

Academic Year 2021-2022

The dates for The Specialist Plant Course are yet to be confirmed.


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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