Learn the basics of watercolour on this one day course in the garden. John Wiltshire will introduce you to watercolour technique with simple and effective demonstrations which lead to your own painting in the gardens.

Suitable for all abilities

This morning course is aimed at those with some previous experience of either general biology or of horticulture, who would like to learn more about the hows and whys of flowers. We will begin with a brief discussion of participants’ previous experience, to ensure that the course is pitched at an appropriate level.

What is your experience of speaking out? What does it feel like to be heard or unheard? What does it feel like to be hidden or silenced? Spend a creative afternoon at the Whipple Museum of the History of Science getting hands-on, and exploring your experiences of power. 

Zine making is an exciting and accessible tool that can be used to record personal experiences giving agency to the maker and can represent acts of resistance against power. Zines have been used to protest, resist and encourage collective activism.

Succulents are fleshy, water retaining plants that come in a variety of colours and growth patterns and many different species.  We shall visit the glasshouses to see some of them, whilst also studying and drawing a selection of them in the classroom. Starting first with pencils we shall study their growth structure and then paint them in watercolours. Throughout the course Penny will be on hand to provide individual help and advice as needed, or further group demonstrations as required.

The course is suitable for all abilities.

Are you a tippler of tea or a consumer of coffee? Or perhaps it depends on the time of day which you would choose as your botanical beverage of choice? This course will explore how the plants that provide us with our favourite botanical beverages, coffee and tea, have become global commodities. We will follow the journey from wild species through domestication and cultivation to commercial production. How each plant fits into its eco-system, and how humans have interacted and exploited the plant will be considered.

Session 1: Wed 3 May, Session 2: Wed 17 May, Session 3: Wed 31 May, Session 4: Wed 14 Jun

Join Paul Herrington, who will share his top tips and skills to help you to make a start designing your own garden. Across four sessions you will explore design principles, ideas and inspiration, simple surveying and scale drawing, planning for the right plant in the right place as well as developing a layout plan for your own garden and how to ensure year round structure and interest.

Travelling through the seasons we will explore the history, folklore and culture of three wild plants in bloom (or at least in foliage!) that month. The session will encourage you to search out plants in all seasons and enjoy the history in folklore and culture, and their use for medicines, cooking as well as the many and varied traditional names which help us trace that history.

Botanical illustration can be all about the flamboyance of a brightly coloured bloom or fruit, but nothing comes to life without the addition of leaves.  On this course, we will concentrate on leaves alone, because they are so beautiful when studied and recorded in detail.   Depending on the size of your chosen leaves, it will be possible to complete two, three or even four.  You will then be equipped to complete the remaining ones in your own time.  Before the class it would be a good idea to look at lots of leaves, so the ones you choose are all different.  Look at the shades of green so

The more you draw from reality the easier it will be to develop your own style and compositions. Using the garden and greenhouses as our starting point Karin will give creative prompts to get us started and introduce new materials and techniques each week. Looking carefully at plants and drawing from observation will be our starting point, gradually introducing elements of imagination, memory and found materials. A sketchbook is a place to experiment and develop ideas.

Alpines are sometimes thought of as fussy plants that are difficult to grow well, but the truth is these ‘brave’ plants cope brilliantly with extreme conditions; you just need to understand the growing conditions they are used to.  Join Simon Wallis, senior horticulturist here at the Garden, for a myth busting introduction to growing alpine plants. With Simon as your guide there will also be the chance to see the beautiful and diverse collection of alpine plants we cultivate and care for here at the Garden.

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