Planting a garden for interest in all seasons with Sally Gregson

Garden courses

Ref: S1D11487

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About this course

Discover how to create a garden that bursts with interest all year round. You will learn the principles of structural and seasonal planting design, selecting plants for their foliage as well as flowers.

Course Description

This course will introduce you to the planning and planting of a garden to achieve interest throughout the year and to extend a garden’s use through the seasons.

What you will learn:

• The principles of planning a garden in order to make it suit the user and also to encourage people to use the garden throughout the year.

• How to choose plants that will perform well in the garden.

• How to combine plants to create a good effect throughout the year.

Main topics covered:

• Planning the garden for all year use.

• Introduction to the principles of planting design.

• Structural planting.

• Seasonal planting.

• How to choose and combine plants for all year interest.

Teaching methods:

• Illustrated talks.

• Group discussions.

• Group exercises.

Session 1:

Introduction to designing a garden for all year interest:

Garden layout – planning the layout or changing an existing layout.

Structural planting – trees/hedges/evergreen shrubs to position first.

Seasonal planting – planting for winter interest in particular.

Session 2:

Introduction to planting design:

The horticultural requirements of plants – soil type/pH/aspect.

Getting the spacing right/working out numbers.

Mixed, tiered planting schemes, practice some planning in groups.

Successional planting in practice.

Sessions 3 & 4:

After lunch there will be a walk in the garden to look at seasonal planting.

A group workshop, choosing plants for a selected border at West Dean. You will be divided into groups and each group given a season, working with this you will select appropriate plants.

At the end of the day you will present your ideas to the class and swap information.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Old gardening magazines for cutting up during the workshop
  • Pritt stick glue and scissors would be useful
  • Nursery catalogues for sourcing plants
  • Pens, pencils, notebook
  • Camera

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Plain paper or sketch book to draw on
  • Basic drawing equipment
  • Basic colouring pencils
Advisory booklist: RHS New Encyclopaedia of Plants and Flowers, Dorling Kindersley (This is a thick tome and expensive, but useful for anyone who is interested in learning about different types of plants for use in the garden.) Perfect Plant Perfect Place by Roy Lancaster, Dorling Kindersley (A good book for choosing the right plants to suit your garden conditions.) Plants for All Seasons by Ursula Buchan, Mitchell Beazley Successional Planting for Adventurous Gardeners, Christopher Lloyd.Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above. Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals. You may need safety boots, if specified above.


Sally Gregson

Sally has been tutoring gardening courses at West Dean College for over five years. She trained professionally at Hadlow College, and often gives talks to gardening clubs and societies.

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