Gardening Course
horticulture course prospectus
“It is the most reputable and professional home learning course I could find online and the tutors are very attentive.”
Thomas, Reading, United Kingdom
My tutor has been very supportive and responds very quickly to my submitted work with positive, constructive criticism.
Antony, Devon, United Kingdom
“It is perfect that there is no time limit, you can study at your own pace.”
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I love the flexibility of being able to complete my course work at my own pace.
Kyle, United States

Accredited Diploma in Horticulture

The 20 Gardening Course Modules


1. Introduction

- Entering for the examination
- Examination results
- Course study
- Duration of the course
- What you’ll need
- Readiness for the exam

2. Lawns and Grasslands - Part 1

- Lawns
- Seed or turf
- What to look for in turf
- Site preparation
- Levelling
- Making slopes
- Preparing for sowing
- Ideal conditions
- Grasses
- Types of lawn
- Problem areas
- Wet shade
- Methods of sowing
- Care of the new lawn and maintenance
- Rolling and mowing
- Dealing with weeds
- Sports lawns
- Fertilising

3. Lawns and Grasslands - Part 2

- Annual maintenance
- Aeration
- Top dressing
- Floral meadows
- Lawn weeds
- Treating weeds
- Moss
- The non-grass lawn
- Ground cover plants
- Initial work for ground cover plants

4. How Plants Work

- Cells
- Roots
- Different root types
- Stems
- The vascular bundles
- Modified stems
- Leaves
- Buds
- Flower buds
- Leaf buds
- Other structures

5. Vegetables

- Siting vegetables
- Soil and fertility
- Green manuring
- Drainage
- The vegetable garden
- Pottaging
- Climate
- Intercropping
- Successional crops and catch cropping
- Undercropping
- Cut and come again crops
- Crop rotation
- Seeds
- Sowing vegetables
- Planting
- Protected cropping
- Sowing indoors
- Routine cultivation for vegetables
- Weeds and vegetables
- Mulching
- Feeding
- Organic feeding methods
- Crop protection

6. Ornamental Plants and Propagation

- Annuals
- Biennials
- Perennials
- How to select plants
- Herbaceous plants
- Colours
- Propagation
- Seed dispersal
- Vegetative propagation methods
- Cuttings
- Selecting plant material for cuttings
- Leaf cuttings
- Layering
- Grafting
- Budding
- Micropropagation and tissue culture

7. Soil

- So what is soil?
- Importance of assessing the horticultural potential of a site
- Types of soil
- Indicator plants
- pH
- Soil structure
- Topsoil and subsoil
- Soil profile
- Air and water
- Improving the soil
- Mulching
- Organic mulches
- Mulches, benefits and drawbacks
- Inorganic mulches
- Manures, fertilisers and lime
- Major plant nutrients and trace elements
- What the major plant foods do
- Applying manure
- Garden compost
- General soil improvements
- Soil life

8. Trees and Shrubs

- Trees
- Forms
- Soils
- Buying trees
- Feeding trees
- Pruning
- Root pruning
- Lopping
- Planting a tree
- Staking
- Shrubs and hedging plants
- Hedge trimming
- Roses
- Climbers
- Ground cover shrubs

9. Flowers

- Structure of flowers
- Sepals and petals
- Stamens
- The Carpel
- Ovary
- Ovules
- Style and stigma
- Flowers on plants
- Types of inflourescence
- Plant groups
- Nectaries
- Pollination
- Wind pollinated flowers
- Insect and animal pollinated flowers

10. Pollination and Fertilisation

- Avoiding self pollination
- Self pollinators
- Animal pollinators
- Fertilisation
- The importance of seeds
- The formation of fruit
- Types of fruit
- Dry fruit
- Fleshy fruit
- Propagation by seeds
- Hybrids and the F1 factor
- Which plants to grow from seed?

11. Fruit

- Types of fruit
- The importance of rootstock
- Tree forms
- Planting and cultivation
- Soils
- Pollination compatibility
- Choosing plants
- Feeding
- General care
- Mulching and fertilising
- Supports, stakes and ties
- Pruning and training
- Trees
- Cordon, spindles and espaliers
- Bush fruit
- Weaving
- Dispersal of fruit

12. Pests, Diseases and Disorders

- Damage caused
- Modes of attack
- Minimising the damage
- Identifying problems
- Overview of controls
- Controls in detail
- Biological control
- Organic control
- Examples of good management
- Timing and stock
- Cultivation
- A large pest: rabbits
- Mollusc: snails
- Insects
- Insects with complete metamorphosis
- Insects with incomplete metamorphosis
- Mite
- Nematodes
- Fungus
- Virus
- Bacteria
- Environmental disorder
- Nutritional disorder
- Integrated pest management (IPM)

13. Plant Physiology

- Photosynthesis
- Factors necessary for photosynthesis
- Respiration and photosynthesis
- Factors affecting respiration
- Photoperiodism
- Commercial importance of Photoperiodism
- Artificial control of light
- Nutrient cycles
- The carbon cycle
- Plant nutrition in general

14. Plant Protection and Artificial Environments

- Plant protection
- Floating cloche
- Greenhouses
- Other types
- Siting the greenhouse
- Considerations in choosing materials for protected structures
- Controlling the environment in the greenhouse
- Watering
- Greenhouse staging
- Artificial environments
- Feeding plants in containers
- Non-soil growing mediums
- Making composts
- Standard potting composts
- Containers
- Hydroponics (water culture)
- Nutrient film technique (NFT)

15. Water

- The roles of water
- Transpiration
- The guard cells
- Water uptake by plant roots
- Conduction of water
- Relative humidity
- Turgor
- Water in the soil
- The water table
- Availability
- Soil field capacity
- Soil structure and water
- Salinity
- Imbibition
- Dormancy
- Inherent and non-inherent dormancy
- Vernalisation

16. Weeds

- What are weeds?
- Characteristics
- Native weeds
- Uses for weeds
- Cultivated plants as weeds
- Destructive weeds
- Native wildflowers
- Types of weed
- Preventing weeds
- Weed control

17. Ecology and the Environment

- Brief background
- Changing agricultural practices and their effects
- Green farming
- Conservation in the garden
- Chemicals
- Encouraging wildlife and ‘green’ practices
- Setting aside special areas
- Native plants
- Safe pest control
- Sourcing of plants
- Avoid peat
- Recycling in the garden
- Water
- Plants
- Encourage birds
- Butterflies
- Maintaining a sense of proportion
- Large-scale environmentally friendly practices
- Conservation headlands
- Where to get advice

18. Garden Planning – Part 1

- Introduction and a brief history of design
- The importance of safe, healthy and environmentally sustainable practices
- The choice of materials and plants
- Site appraisal and data collection for planning purposes and recording the information
- Climate
- Shelter
- Rainfall and humidity
- The soil
- Triangulation
- Scale
- Offset measurements

19. Garden Planning – Part 2

- The skill of designing
- Horizontal elements
- Patios and decking
- Arranging plants
- Planting for borders and beds - Information sources
- Plants for particular problem positions
- Plants for acid soil
- Plants for alkaline soils
- Plants for shady areas
- Plants for sunny and dry areas
- Plants for focal points
- Plants for ground cover
- Flowers for scent
- Climbing plants
- Schematic planning
- Foliage for colour
- Plants to define areas
- The garden in winter
- Attracting wildlife
- Herbs and weeds
- Children in a garden
- Play areas
- Safety in the garden
- Structures in the garden

20. Preparing for the Exam

- Before the exam
- At the Exam
- Tips
- Additional points

Read more: What you'll find in the pack