Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 31 August 2015

Back to School

It was most timely when My Garden School contacted me recently with an offer to review one of their 4-week long courses. I'm disappointed with the range of evening classes at my local college this year and decided not to take one this autumn.

In contrast, My Garden School's list of options is quite extensive, and I swithered for quite a while between Toby Musgrave's Garden History, Michael King's Perennial Planting with Nature, and Noel Kingsbury's Planting Design With Perennials. However, the clincher for me was finding Clive Nichols' Flower Photography Masterclass. I missed out on a day with him and the Garden Media Guild last year as I was ill. I couldn't possibly miss out again, albeit in the virtual world this time.

Each course's listing comes with a little introductory video, so there's an opportunity to get an idea of each course and lecturer to see which one appeals the most. One little niggle to report here - I found the jaunty jangly background music competed too much with the lecturer's introduction. I hope this doesn't happen in the course proper.

The course consists of 4 half-hour long videos delivered on a weekly basis, plus transcripts and access to a virtual classroom. In the latter I can discuss the course with my fellow classmates and Clive. There's a maximum of 20 students per session, so hopefully we won't swamp Clive too much with our questions. We also get weekly homework designed to put what we've learned into practice, and offer it up for critique.

I'll blog about my progress over the next month or so, which will probably take the form of my response to the week's set homework, so you can critique it too. NB: Happy Mouffetard's had the same offer; you can see how she gets on with Noel Kingsbury's course over the next few weeks, and Alison's completed Toby Musgrave's already.

Update: Ronnie Tyler is taking the container gardening course and the link takes you to her first post about it. So too is Andrew O'Brien - you can see his first post here.

Note: 4-week long courses usually cost £145. However, you can have 15% off if you sign up before October 7th and use the code MGSBTS at the checkout. The next set of courses start on September 2nd, and the offer code also covers October's courses (which start on the 7th of that month), if you'd like a little longer to decide. NB I have no affiliate arrangement with My Garden School.


  1. They sound like excellent courses, I shall look forward to seeing how you get on. CJ xx

  2. You will so enjoy it, earlier this year I completed Alex Mitchell's the Edible Gardening Made Easy course. Its so helpful being able to study when it is convenient to you. Definiating use the classroom forum for sharing questions and ideas, I hope your fellow classmates interact with the course it makes it so much more interesting.

    Looking forward to reading your progress.

    Angela - Garden Tea Cakes and Me

    1. Thanks Angela, it sounds like you really got something out of the course, which bodes well for mine :)

  3. How interesting! I think you did well to choose from that list! I look forward to hearing how you get along - no sitting in the back of the class and shouting out. I don't want to read that you've been given a detention ;-)

    1. Boo - that's not fair! I've already promised to pass notes between our desks with Happy Mouffetard ;)

  4. How lovely to be offered the course for free! Hopefully you'll let us know what you think of it all.


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