The best horticultural and floral design schools in the UK

John Horsey Horticulture

His defining purpose being to make his students happy, Horsey’s diploma in horticulture and courses in garden history are designed to provide detailed, working knowledge without the stress of examinations, assessments or assignments, but with the emphasis on conservation, sustainability and ecology.

His students are known to return and repeat courses – just for pleasure. John, having mastered the complexities of Zoom, is delighted to discover that even his more mature students appear to have embraced it.

There are still spaces on the garden history course, starting September. John also has an informative (free) YouTube channel which he presents wearing a fetching array of floral shirts, accompanied by that gardening accessory essential, a camera-friendly golden retriever.

The Crafty Gardeners

The Crafty Gardeners offer floristry and garden workshops for busy people with not much time and not enough flowers either in the house or in the garden. Courses are interactive and hands-on – there is always something to take home. Numbers are kept deliberately small and classes are held in a range of inspiring venues.

Bowood, Westonbirt and Mells are all within easy reach of Bristol and Bath. Courses can be selected to suit timescale and needs, but roll from one to the next, from Creative Garden Plans, through posy making workshops, to Wildlife Gardens. All are accompanied by shedloads of socially distanced tea and cake. Courses are limited this year because of Covid but will be up and running from 2021.

The Walled Garden at Mells

Alongside a programme of gardening workshops, this nursery, in the safe and secure setting of an enchanting walled garden in Mells, Somerset, has recently been developing a social and therapeutic programme, providing low-cost workshops specifically aimed at making gardening accessible for the more vulnerable.

Plants grown and sold in the nursery go to fund this programme. There is currently a high demand here for “grow your own” and generational workshops bringing grandparent, parents and children together to garden.

And for 2021: Arne Maynard…

The award winning garden designer at Allt y bela, Usk, has created some of the most beautiful gardens – none more so than his own. Just wandering around this sublime garden is a workshop in itself. Should you wish to sign up for his Four Seasons course, you’ll have to wait until next year. But it will be worth it.

…and The National Botanic Garden of Wales

A range of courses take place in the surroundings of this remarkable botanic garden near Carmarthen, Wales, from gardening workshops in Growing the Future, to photography, willow basket making, painting and even keep fit. Unfortunately due to Wales’s Covid rules these are all on hold. But I am assured they will be back.

And that’s when, not if. In the meantime the garden runs a terrific horticultural apprenticeship scheme – now in its fifth year, and worth perusing by anyone considering a career in horticulture.

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