1. The long term performance of perennials

(otherwise known as 'The Rabbit's Eye View')


* Participants will learn how to make simple observations of perennial growth forms, and link these to long-term performance issues: longevity, rate and degree of spread, levels of self-seeding and competitiveness.

* Participants will be able to make simple predictions of long-term plant performance.

How long will plants survive? Will they spread? Will they seed? This full-day garden-based workshop aims at encouraging participants to observe garden and landscape plants, primarily but not exclusively perennials, 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. Practitioners can then use their experience and knowledge of plants to plan for appropriate levels of maintenance and in particular to plan for the long-term – important for financial sustainability.

Integral to the day is to get participants thinking about how plants are linked to their natural habitats and ecology and how this connects to the way we use them in gardens. Encouraged to get down on hands and knees to get ‘the rabbit’s eye view’, close observation of plant growing habits and lifecycles through the year can greately empower us as professionals.

Full day (5 + hrs contact time). Garden or nursery with a wide range perennials needed, plus projection facilities (i.e. indoor space with screen or marquee/over rain cover with large TV screen which can take a video feed from a laptop).

Max: 20, unless webcam projection available, in which case there is no limit!

This even has proved very successful with Ecological Landscaping Alliance (USA), Dryadas and Seminar Eco-Landscape (Russia), Silva Tarouca Institute (Czech Republic), Landscape Institute (UK) and many more!

2. Structure and foliage in planting design

Flowers are ephemeral. The impact of a garden depends far more on foliage and structure. This workshop is aimed at making gardeners and designers more aware of foliage and plant shape in a variety of garden styles: period and contemporary. The role of foliage, form and texture in planting design, with both clipped and natural shapes being considered, and we also look at the elationships between planting design and environment. There will be a range of small group planting design exercises included.

Format: Can be half-day, or full day if projection facilities included

3. Seasonality and climate

Understanding how plants grow through the seasons in reaction to temperature, light, moisture etc. Various methods of combining seasonal interest are looked at, with an emphasis on layering for maximum interest through the year. The geographical origins of garden plants are looked at, with a view to helping students make appropriate selection and take into account climate change related issues.