Unless otherwise noted, all our days run from 10.00 - 16.30, and include morning tea or coffee, a light lunch and afternoon tea.

There will be a limited number of early bird tickets for some events, available until end January.

A limited number of bursaries/assisted places are available for students; please enquire for more details.


APRIL

‘Five Seasons – The Gardens of Piet Oudolf’ supper and film showing Thursday 4th April @ Yeo Valley Organic Gardens, Blagdon, Somerset  

Join us for an early evening stroll in the gorgeous gardens at Yeo Valley in Somerset. After which we will enjoy a delicious supper in the Yeo Valley Canteen, followed by a viewing of ‘Five Seasons – the gardens of Piet Oudolf’, made by New York filmmaker Thomas Piper. This mesmerising movie follows Piet through a working year in his life, featuring his own iconic garden at Hummelo and we see many of his signature public works around the world. 17.30 start £45 Book here

‘Plants Grow in Dirt’ & Propagation Workshop Wednesday 17th April @ Yeo Valley Organic Gardens, Blagdon, Somerset Bob Brown, with Andi Strachan  

Nurseryman Bob will lead with a controversial talk challenging many preconceived techniques and concepts and giving an off-piste review of the good and bad qualities of ornamental plants. This will be followed by a walk around the garden with a commentary on the plants growing here. In the afternoon, Head Gardener Andi Strachan will lead a propagation demonstration showing participants how to increase the numbers of plants in their gardens. £140 Book here

MAY

'The Rabbit's Eye View' – learning about long-term plant performance, Wednesday 1st May @ Trentham Gardens, Staffordshire Noel Kingsbury

This workshop aims at encouraging participants to observe garden plants, focusing on their growth through the year, looking at how they compete with each other, how to assess prospects for their longevity and their suitability for a variety of garden locations. Gardeners and designers can then use their experience and knowledge of plants to plan for the maximum interest. Students are encouraged to get down to see what is happening at ground level to really understand what is going on. A unique workshop that makes people look at plants in a very new way and which has run so far in twelve countries. Head Gardener Michael Walker will also give us an introduction to the gardens. £130.00, Book here.

Working a concept through to completion – a garden design workshop Wednesday, 1st May @ The Coach House, Ampney Crucis, Gloucestershire Annie Guilfoyle

Annie has chosen Mel Tanner’s garden, the Coach House, for this course as it is a really fine example of how a simple and yet bold design works so successfully. Mel’s garden is divided into well-proportioned ‘rooms’, each with a different character with the planting changing from area to area. Annie will focus on working with a concept and explain how to streamline the design process. Time will be spent on the functional site arrangement and how to avoid the ‘blank sheet of paper syndrome’. There will be practical exercises, making this event particularly useful for new designers, students and those wishing to redesign their own gardens. £140, Book here

Lessons in the Landscape - a two-day two location workshop Tuesday, 28th & Wednesday, 29th May @ Col de la Gineste & Méze, France Helen and James Basson & Olivier Filippi

This exciting two-day workshop that brings together plantsman and nursery owner Olivier Filippi together with landscape designers Helen and James Basson.

The first day will be a walk in the Calanques de Marseille. Olivier knows the landscape of Calanques very well and this walk would be focused on the understanding of the history, dynamic and ecology of a typical Mediterranean ‘garrigue’ landscape transformed over the millennia by the action of grazing and burning. The result is a botanically very rich landscape with a strong visual impact. of the plant/mineral balance. Olivier will look on the link between the survival strategies of the plants in a difficult environment and the beauty of species which can be used in dry gardens. There will be a picnic mid-way with dramatic views on the sea.

There will be a two hour drive that evening to arrive at the next venue. The second day will be based at Pépinière Filippi, Mèze. Together with Helen and James Basson where there will be a tour of the nursery and a workshop element in the afternoon.

Please note conditions on our ticketing site regarding terrain, transport and accomodation. €300 Book here

JUNE

Choosing Trees Wednesday, 12th June @ Thenford, Northamptonshire John Grimshaw

Selecting trees for a garden or wider landscape is often a challenge, leading to poor or unexciting choices. John Grimshaw looks at the diversity of trees available for garden and landscape use, considering their various qualities and how these can be used to build up an attractive treescape for any situation. Participants will be asked to consider making tree selections for their own gardens. The day will be a rare occasion to see the impressive arboretum built up over many years by Lord Heseltine. In appreciation of beautiful glasshouses, Alitex recommends this event £160 Book here

Beauty and Biodiversity, Water and Well-Being: Integrating Art and Ecology for Sustainable Gardens Tuesday, 18th June @ Chatsworth, Derbyshire Nigel Dunnett

Mixing artfulness with ecological sensibility can result in gardens that are not only exciting, beautiful, and environmentally-positive, but which also give rise to many layers of meaning and satisfaction beyond the purely visual. Nigel will draw upon his many design projects, his own garden, his research career, and his travels around the world to provide inspirational ideas for how to deliver low-input, high-impact plantings; to promote the whole garden web-of-life; to work creatively with water conservation, and dealing with wet weather and too much water; and to re-purpose waste or left-over materials. There will also be input from the Chatsworth garden team.

£140 Book here

Keying into context – identifying and enhancing sense of place Thursday, 20th June @ Hillside, Batheaston, Somerset                      Dan Pearson

On a morning walk around the land at Dan’s Somerset home, he will explain how he keys into the context of a site, and how his observations inform and influence his design and plant choices. Looking at topography, light, soil, habitats, native vegetation and local vernacular, Dan will explain how to look for the pointers that will ensure that a design responds to and sits comfortably in its surroundings. This will be followed in the afternoon by an in-depth explanation of the planting design of the garden at Hillside. Dan will talk through the process of plant selection based on a range of different criteria including environment, microclimate, character, performance, longevity, colour and seasonality, and how to combine plants to create distinct environments and moods that are right for the place. Personal observation and open discussion will be encouraged. 9.00 - 17.00 SOLD OUT, and waiting list closed. SORRY!

Keying into context – identifying and enhancing sense of place Friday, 21st June @ Hillside, Batheaston, Somerset                       Dan Pearson

As above
9.00 - 17.00 SOLD OUT, and waiting list closed. SORRY!

An introduction to roses Tuesday 25th June @ East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk Michael Marriott

A look at the world of roses, from the oldest to the newest and from the very small to the very big and all the different ways they can be used in the garden. Michael will talk about all the various aspects of the plants including the delights of their very varied fragrances. He’ll be refuting their reputation for being troublesome, showing how they can easily be cared for. There will be time for participants to have a go at designing a border or garden either purely of roses or mixed up with other plants. In appreciation of beautiful glasshouses, Alitex recommends this event £140 Book here

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JULY

Bury Court through the lens - a photography workshop            Tuesday 2nd July @ Bury Court, Hampshire                     Jason Ingram

  • Using the distinctive contemporary planting schemes of the garden or the workshop, including Piet Oudolf’s first-ever British commission, Jason will discuss how he captures the spirit of a garden in wide and macro detail, understanding the light and how to control it.

  • Technical tips and tricks will be revealed as he uncovers his working practice. He will also discuss how he works with editors to capture a garden for a magazine feature, the important images that work to tell the story and how the design elements within the garden are revealed.

  • Time will be scheduled to give students individual attention.

    £140 Book here

Piet Oudolf Planting - How does he do it? Wednesday, 3rd July @ Vlinderhof, Utrecht, Netherlands Noel Kingsbury

Few people are in as good a position to explain how Piet Oudolf ‘does it’ with plants. Noel takes students on two tracks: one looks at the longevity of the vast majority of the plants Piet uses, and secondly at his plant selection and distribution. As well as looking at the planting in the Vlinderhof, students will examine Oudolf planting plans, counting and mapping plant distribution, and discussing the characteristics of the species used. The aim will be to help gardeners and designers, not to copy what he does, but to be inspired to develop their own characteristic planting palette and mixes. €150 Book here

Working with the meadow aesthetic – designing and managing perennial meadows Friday, 5th July @ Forde Abbey, Chard, Somerset Nigel Dunnett, with Joshua Sparkes

The day will focus on the process of designing and managing perennial meadows. Nigel and Joshua will cover a wide range of approaches from natural meadow creation and management, through to highly designed stylised meadow perennial planting, using principles and guidelines derived from looking at meadows in the wild. Head gardener, Joshua will talk about his long-term plans for the magnificent gardens at Forde Abbey and together with Nigel they will explore the notion of aesthetic perennial meadows and how they can apply to different locations. Note time: 10.30 - 17.00. £150 Book here

Growing Perennials for Cut Flowers Wednesday, 10th July @ Green and Gorgeous, Oxfordshire Rachel Siegfried

A day for enthusiasts, florists and growers who want to find out more about the growing trend in using home-grown perennials in floral arrangements. Perennials are easy, cheap to propagate and can supply cut flowers over a long period. Advice on variety selection will be accompanied by discussion of cultivation, propagation, extending the flowering period, optimum harvesting time and post harvest treatment. You will work on planning your perennial plot for succession and sow some seeds to take home. £140 Book here

‘Five Seasons – The Gardens of Piet Oudolf’ film showing Wednesday, 10th July @ Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Yorkshire

A viewing of ‘Five Seasons – the gardens of Piet Oudolf’, made by New York filmmaker Thomas Piper. This mesmerising movie follows Piet through a working year in his life, featuring his own iconic garden at Hummelo and we see many of his signature public works around the world.

18.30 - 9.00 £25, student discount 50% Book here

Sketch with confidence – developing drawing skills for garden designers Thursday, 11th July @ Sheffield Botanical Gardens, Yorkshire Liz Ackerley

Set within the fabulously sketch-able Botanical gardens in Sheffield, the day will include discussion and the demonstration and practice of sketching techniques and their application in the design process. Included will be: º Key Materials and the importance and approaches to the keeping of sketchbooks, º Composition, º How to measure scale and proportion when drawing a scene, º Creating layers and depth, º Techniques including contour drawing, texture studies, adding darks and colour-first technique will be demonstrated and practiced.   º Top tips for sketching buildings; plants and people. In appreciation of beautiful glasshouses, Alitex recommends this event £130 Book here

Plants for a purpose – right plant, right place Tuesday, 23 July @ The Walled Garden, Scampston, Yorkshire Rosy Hardy

Join the renowned plantswoman Rosy Hardy, founder of Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants, in the walled garden at Scamspton. Rosy will be talking about how to deal with the mid-summer perennial gap and how to plant with your site conditions in mind – the right plant, right place philosophy. There will be an opportunity to ask Rosy about her recommendations for your garden. The day will also include a tour of the Piet Oudolf designed garden here, noted for its careful selection of plants for a ‘cold, dry’ situation as well as impressive contemporary formal hedging. £140 Book here

AUGUST

Contemporary Planting Design : Contemporary Art Wednesday, 21 August @ Whitburgh House, Midlothian
Elliott Forsyth

Elliott will share his experiences of developing the striking contemporary naturalistic plantings at Cambo House, informed by a deep knowledge of plants and their growth in the Scottish climate, but also using design principles derived from art practice (his wife Susan is a landscape painter). Participants will be encouraged to analyse plantings in the garden at Whitbugh House and discuss their relevance for their own gardens. There will also be a tour of the notable contemporary garden created here by Elizabeth Salvesen and gardener Vincent Dudley and of the collection of sculpture in the garden and grounds. In appreciation of beautiful glasshouses, Alitex recommends this event £130 Book here

SEPTEMBER

A collaborative approach to design and planting                              Monday, 2nd September @ Bury Court, Hampshire          with Hugo Bugg and Charlotte Harris

From concept to delivery: In this session, Charlotte and Hugo will share current and recent studio projects including residential, show and public garden spaces. Exploring the journey from conception to delivery, they will cover their approach to concept, design, detailing, planting and construction using visualisations, examples and work in progress.                                           Effective collaboration: Taking a look behind the scenes at their practice, Charlotte and Hugo will share some of the challenges of working in a design partnership; how they have (or haven’t!) resolved them; practical  solutions to working apart and together; how they manage a team of landscape designers in those circumstances; and what to consider if you are thinking of working collaboratively with someone, of whatever design discipline.      £140 Book here                                                                                                    

The Plantsman’s Year - a guide to seasonal interest in the garden & propagation workshop Monday 9th September @ Parham House, Sussex                                     Marina Christopher and Tom Brown  

Both Tom Brown and Marina Christopher have both written the Plantsman’s Choice pages in Gardens Illustrated recommending their choice of plants throughout a gardening year. For this masterclass they will come together to share their knowledge and advice on selecting plants that will provide interest through all the seasons. Set in the stunning house and gardens of Parham, where Tom is the head gardener. During the afternoon Marina will be running a propagation workshop where you will be able to sow seeds and take cuttings enabling you to learn how to create multiples of the plants that do well for you or which you want to try out. £140 Book here 

Designing with Colour Tuesday, 10th September @ East Ruston Old Vicarage, Norfolk Nick Bailey

Discover the secrets of attaining year-round garden colour on any size of plot. Packed with information about growing techniques, unusual plants and stunning combinations the course gives a broad insight into grouping colours for dynamic seasonal effects. Focusing on proven techniques Nick has developed over 25 years a course that combines the art and science of growing for year-round colour. Initially focusing on the fascinating science of how plants have evolved to make and use colour it goes on to explore the role of colour in the garden and how gardeners can employ simple artistic ideas,to inform their plant groupings across the seasons. Not limited to flower colour Nick also explores the impact of foliage. In appreciation of beautiful glasshouses, Alitex recommends this event £140 Book here 

Lose your fear of pruning Tuesday, 10th September @ Stillingfleet Lodge, Yorkshire Timothy Walker

Many people worry about pruning the plants in their garden.  Timothy Walker, who has a reputation as one of the country’s best gardening lecturers, is determined to make us feel more confident about the process, “the fear of pruning can be dispelled if you follow basic 10 rules” he says; enabling gardeners to shape plants in the way they want and to maximise flowering.  This masterclass will look at understanding the growth habits of plants as a background to the practice of pruning a wide variety of ornamental trees and shrubs.   £140 Book here 

'The Rabbit's Eye View' – learning about long-term plant performance, Wednesday, 11th September @ Borde Hill, Surrey Noel Kingsbury

This workshop aims at encouraging participants to observe garden plants, focusing on their growth through the year, looking at how they compete with each other, how to assess prospects for their longevity and their suitability for a variety of garden locations. Gardeners and designers can then use their experience and knowledge of plants to plan for the maximum interest. Students are encouraged to get down to see what is happening at ground level to really understand what is going on. A unique workshop that makes people look at plants in a very new way and which has run so far in twelve countries. £140.00, Book here

Gardens through the lens - a photography workshop            Thursday, 12th September @ Wildegoose, Shropshire                       Jason Ingram

Using the garden and nursery at Wildegoose and illustrated by photographs taken through the seasons, Jason will discuss how he captures the spirit of a garden in wide and macro detail, understanding the light and how to control it. º Technical tips and tricks will be revealed as he uncovers his working practice. º He will also discuss how he works with editors to capture a garden for a magazine feature, the important images that work to tell the story and how the design elements within the garden are revealed. º Time will be scheduled to give students individual attention. £140 Book here

Planting design for the public realm – creating resilient and characterful planting for urban, public spaces Friday, 13th September @ Arvensis Perennials, Wiltshire Giacomo Guzzon and Ton Muller

Ton and Giacomo Guzzon will discuss the design and management of planting schemes in the public realm. The focus will be on how to create resilient and aesthetically pleasing plant communities in the city while considering and amplifying the character, mood and genius loci of each site. They will look at experimental ways of layering plants in public spaces in Europe and abroad, and the importance of taking a big-picture approach that considers all elements of a project. They will also consider the relevance of biodiversity, extreme weather conditions, maintenance, and community acceptance to the creation of successful urban planting. £140 Book here

'The Rabbit's Eye View' – learning about long-term plant performance Wednesday, 24th September @ Great Dixter, Sussex Noel Kingsbury, with Fergus Garrett

See above under 11th September.
With an introduction to the garden by Fergus Garrett. £140.00, Book here.

The Ultimate Kitchen Garden Thursday, 25th September @ Yeo Valley Organic Gardens, Somerset Mark Diacono & Lia Leendertz

Mark and Lia are perhaps uniquely placed to share a day of ideas, practicalities and inspiration to help you create your own ultimate kitchen garden. Mark knows all there is to about the best of the familiar, the finest forgotten flavours and the most delicious unusual edibles, while Lia is a long standing allotmenter and gardener.  Both will share their expertise in a day dedicated to flavour and beauty. There will be unfamiliar plants to see, different flavours to try and if you laugh in all the right places you might just get a garden cocktail taster or two. Whether you are a beginner, someone looking to take their garden to another level, whether you have acres or just a few square yards, this inspirational day is for you. Note time: 11.00 – 18.00, £140 Book here

Creative Containers for Seasonal Impact Monday, 30th September @ Iford Manor Gardens, Wiltshire Troy Scott-Smith

The day will begin with a tour of the beautiful terraced garden where we can draw inspiration from Iford’s many pots and their skillful positioning as focal points or moments of pause within the garden.  During a lecture and discussion session Troy will share a wealth of ideas for planting combinations through the seasons and provide tips and techniques to ensure you get the best from your display. The day will end with a practical demonstration and an opportunity to ask questions. Course notes will be provided. £160 Book here

OCTOBER

Growing under glass - edibles and ornamentals Wednesday, 2nd October @ Alitex, South Harting, Sussex Sarah Wain

Sarah, formerly Gardens Supervisor at West Dean, will talk about the plants and crops that can be grown in greenhouses and conservatories, and therefore greatly extending the season in which fresh produce can be had and plants and flowers enjoyed. She will also talk about the general care and maintenance of glasshouses, including pest and disease management. The day will be based at Alitex headquarters and will include a factory tour and the opportunity to see and discuss a variety of glasshouse designs. £130.00, Book here.

'The Rabbit's Eye View' – learning about long-term plant performance Thursday 3rd October @ Wildegoose, Shropshire Noel Kingsbury

See above under 11th September. £140.00, Book here.

Garden evolution – a design workshop Thursday 10th October @ Forde Abbey, Somerset Annie Guilfoyle & Josh Sparkes

A garden is never a finished article, but more like a chapter that is constantly being written, re-written and edited to shape the flow and style of the narrative. Head Gardener Joshua Sparkes joined the Forde Abbey team in the spring of 2018 and is working closely with the Kennard family to develop and shape the gardens into an exciting new phase, one that will respect the 900 years of past history but also introduce new thinking into the garden management and horticultural practice. This long-term plan encompasses many aspects such as soil management, sustainable practice and ecological planting. Join Joshua and Annie for a garden design workshop, where participants will be asked to discuss certain areas at Forde Abbey and work on innovative ideas to develop the design and planting. This workshop will include some drawing. 10.30 - 17.00 £140.00, Book here.

Using grasses and perennials in the modern garden Friday, 11th October @ The Horniman Museum, London Neil Lucas

Spend the day with the UK’s leading authority on ornamental grasses as he explores the use of grasses and perennials in the modern garden to provide stunning design, easy maintenance and hugely enjoyable green spaces. This event sees him expand upon his specialist subject to include the major role that perennials can play in the garden: their vivid colour and vital food for pollinating insects providing the perfect foil to the tactile nature, movement and lithe beauty of grasses. This day will provide practical advice and inspiration as participants come to understand how grasses and perennials can form a near perfect partnership, providing robust planting schemes able to suit most growing conditions and mimic nature to spectacular effect. Neil has designed part of the garden here. £150.00 Book here.

Contemporary gardens in an historic setting - a design workshop Monday 14th October @ Beningbrough, Yorkshire Andy Sturgeon

Award winning garden designer Andy Sturgeon has been working closely with the National Trust team at Beningbrough Hall for the past three years, designing and developing areas of the garden. His brief was to integrate a contemporary style into an historic setting, over a period of time.  This masterclass offers the opportunity to spend a day with Andy in the splendid gardens of Beningbrough.  He will discuss his approach to working within the historical context and developing a garden over a period of time. There will be a tour of the garden and a hands-on garden design workshop, where participants will spend the afternoon working on a concept design for an area at Beningbrough.  The day will conclude with informal presentations and a critique of these designs with Andy. £150. Book here

Developing the garden narrative – a garden design workshop Thursday, 17 October @ Adderstone House, Northumberland Annie Guilfoyle and Sean Murray

This masterclass is held in a private garden belonging to one of Sean’s long-term clients, where together they have been developing a garden narrative and working as a team, developing a thread or ‘narrative’ connecting the different spaces and allowing for each area to have a sense of place and the whole to be coherent.  Annie will join Sean for this event and together they will describe their working practice and approach to design and planting. There will be a workshop element to this day, where Annie and Sean will be asking the participants to observe and analyse particular areas of the garden, as well as sketching and group discussions, making this event particularly useful for new designers, students and those wishing to redesign their own gardens.  £140 Book here

‘Five Seasons – The Gardens of Piet Oudolf’ film showing Friday 18th October @ Hospitalfields, Arbroath, Angus

Supper, followed by a viewing of ‘Five Seasons – the gardens of Piet Oudolf’, made by New York filmmaker Thomas Piper. This mesmerising movie follows Piet through a working year in his life, featuring his own iconic garden at Hummelo and we see many of his signature public works around the world. 18.30 - 21.00 £45 Book here

Beauty and Biodiversity, Water and Well-Being: Integrating Art and Ecology for Sustainable Gardens Saturday 19th October @ Hospitalfields, Arbroath, Angus Nigel Dunnett

Mixing artfulness with ecological sensibility can result in gardens that are not only exciting, beautiful, and environmentally-positive, but which also give rise to many layers of meaning and satisfaction beyond the purely visual. Nigel will draw upon his many design projects, his own garden, his research career, and his travels around the world to provide inspirational ideas for how to deliver low-input, high-impact plantings; to promote the whole garden web-of-life; to work creatively with water conservation, and dealing with wet weather and too much water; and to re-purpose waste or left-over materials. Nigel is currently working on an exciting new scheme for the historic walled garden at Hospitalfield and during this day he will be explaining his design and revealing the project. £150 Book here

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One of Liz Ackerley’s drawings of a Noel Kingsbury workshop at Stillingfleet Lodge Nursery, September 2018

Banner image courtesy of Valfredda, Italy. Noel Kingsbury and Annie Guilfoyle workshop September 2017