ONLINE COURSE Making the most of your garden wildlife sightings

In this course you will learn the best ways to share your garden wildlife sightings, and in doing so make a real contribution to science and conservation.

We have all probably at some point, made at least one or two records of the wildlife we have spotted in our gardens. Perhaps it’s in the form of a picture of the resident squirrel or that beautiful dragonfly visiting our pond, or even simply a running tally of species we’ve spotted visiting our patch over the year. You may even have shared one or two of your best photos on social media with friends.

ONLINE COURSE Incredible edible (and drinkable) plants

Plants are a very important source of food. This half-day workshop explores what plants add to our food and drinks - colour, flavour and texture as well as nutrients and potentially beneficial medicinal compounds. We will also look at why some plants are popular foods and others less so and identify some of the foods which have attracted the attention of criminals. By the end of the morning you'll never look at the plants on your plate or in your cup in quite the same way again!

ONLINE COURSE The Regency Flower Garden

Refinement and quiet revolution as flowers beds reflect the duality caused by the increasing gulf between town and country. Hollyhocks, honeysuckle and lilacs form a genteel backdrop to country life, with sweet smelling jasmines and mock orange or fruit trees echoing the simple delights. Dahlias, cosmos and zinnias bring colour from South and Central America as the cosmos extends the season. Theatres of auriculas and pansies throng the gardens of plant fanciers but the city garden relies on an increasing array of evergreen shrubs to ward off the smoke and smut.

ONLINE COURSE The Edwardian flower garden

Gertrude Jekyll’s designs predominate as art and gardening come together to produce borders inspired by colour and paintings inspired by gardens. Away from the herbaceous borders wild gardening comes to the fore as hardy plants replace bedding, and cottage plants find a home in the stateliest of beds. New plants again flood in with China to the fore, and fill the garden with blooms through the year. Roses on the rise over pergolas and arbours, clematis trail over house and garden and daffodils and lilies explode in varieties.

ONLINE COURSE The chrysanthemum in art and culture

From philosophy to art, ceramics to silks, medicine to death; the chrysanthemum winds its way through ancient Chinese culture into the gardens of French Impressionist painters and onto the pages of a novel by one of America's foremost writers. Often dismissed as the 'showman's flower' it draws its allure from the gold of the sun and the rule of the emperors. Truly a flower that spans the history and art of cultures around the globe.

ONLINE COURSE The Elizabethan flower garden

As the flower garden takes its first steps away from native wildflowers towards a world of exotics drawn from the Americas and Africa, we will look at the impact this has on our flower gardens. The shy natives with their long-standing traditions and uses in the cottage garden are eclipsed in courtier gardens by the sunflower and the love apple. Love-lie-a-bleeding comes face to face with ‘Love Unrequited’ but only one appears in Shakespeare, who in general eschews the exotics for flowers the ‘groundlings’ at the Globe would gave recognised.

ONLINE COURSE Poisonous perennials, toxic trees and wicked weeds

Plants can be powerful poisons and have been used as such for millennia. However, as gardeners we are more concerned with the prevention of accidental poisoning or adverse toxic reactions. Many of the plants that we commonly grow in our gardens could be considered poisonous or toxic in some way but with some knowledge, and common sense, can be grown safely and enjoyed for their ornamental beauty.