Live online courses

Live online course – Planting a garden for interest in all seasons with Sally Gregson

Ref: SCW11033

Suitable for all

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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.

Delivered in a live session via Zoom on the date shown.

Course Description

This course will introduce you to the planning and planting of a garden to achieve interest throughout the year, and create a space you want to use through the seasons. 

You will learn:
• The principles of planning and planting a garden in order to make it suit you and how to use your garden throughout the year.
• How to choose plants that will perform well in your garden, growing in your conditions.
• How to combine plants to create a good effect throughout the year.

Main topics covered:
• Planning the garden for all year interest.
• Introduction to the principles of planting design.
• Structural planting.
• Seasonal planting and successional planting.
We will also refer to the soil structure and pH in each of your gardens with reference to your own soil samples.

Teaching methods:
• Illustrated talks.
• Group discussions.

Session 1: Introduction to designing a garden for winter
Session 2: Introduction to designing a garden for spring, summer and autumn.
Both sessions will particularly reference successional planting, layering, and mixed, tiered planting schemes.
Session 3: The horticultural requirements of plants – soil type/pH/aspect. Getting the spacing right and working out numbers.
Session 4: Drawing up a plan to scale with graph paper/A3 pad and triangulation to locate existing trees etc.

09.00 – 09.30 All students to join via Zoom
09.30 – 10.45 Session 1
10.45 – 11.00 Break
11.00 – 12.45 Session 2
12.45 – 14.00 Lunch
14.00 – 15.45 Session 3
15.45 – 16.00 Break
16.00 – 17.00 Drawing up a plan to scale, plenary and next steps

Course Materials

What you need

Please read and familiarise yourself with the Zoom joining instructions emailed to you with your course confirmation before the course starts. Be ready to start at 9am on the day with your computer set up and ready as detailed in the guidance notes emailed to you with your booking confirmation.

You will also need to have:
1. Brief description/photo of the garden to show other students and Sally.
2. Note of the aspect of the garden (north, south, east, west) and direction of prevailing wind
3. Soil sample/s – from at least 15cm (6”) deep of the area/s to be studied.
4. pH test – one that does not use water, such as Gardener’s Mate/Gardman soil kit. Use it on the soil of the area/s to be studied and bring along the results.
5. Take a look through the list of plants on the handout supplied with the Zoom link for the course of the recommended plants, to see if the growing requirements might suit your garden, and of course whether you’d want to include any of them in your planting list.

Separate i-pad if available for looking up plants/nurseries etc. (ensure that the sound is turned off to avoid interference)

Pens, pencils, A3 paper/graph paper and a notebook

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


What skill level do I need to take a course?
Our online courses are each given a level of study to ensure you pick the right course for you;
Beginners - Suitable for those with little or no experience of the subject
Intermediate – If you have taken a related course or have existing skills
Suitable for all - With content that can be engaged with on different levels.

What format does the course take?
Our online live-streamed courses run each day from 9am-5pm.

After admitting all students to Zoom between 9am-9.15am, the tutor will introduce the course at 9.15am promptly and give a demonstration or warm-up exercise with a chance to ask questions before independent study with tutor support.  This pattern is followed throughout the day as additional tasks are introduced, concluding in the final session with a round up and discussion on next steps.

Is the course taught live?
Yes, the course is taught live via Zoom.

Will the course be recorded?
No, the course will not be recorded.

How many people will be on the course?
There are a maximum of 10-12 places for most courses, depending on the subject. Some lecture courses may take more students.

How do I sign up for a course?
Follow the online booking process to sign up for a course.

Can I use a College gift voucher for online courses?
Yes, simply enter the gift voucher code at the online checkout.

How do I access my course?
You will receive a link and password to access the course email, typically within two working days.

What do I need to set up or prepare before the course starts:
Find yourself a quiet place to work, away from background noise and distractions during the core teaching times. Prepare a workstation, ideally with a good sized work-surface or table, adjacent to your computer, and with enough space to layout your assembled materials and tools ready for the start of the day. Also assemble any materials listed on the course details which will not be supplied in any materials kit sent to you, if included in the course. (If your course includes materials, this will be clearly stated in the course materials section above).

Ensure you read and familiarise yourself with the Zoom joining instructions emailed to you with your course confirmation before the course starts. We recommend doing this several days in advance to avoid technical issues on the day.

What computer set-up will I need to take a course?
You can join a zoom meeting on a computer or laptop – Mac, PC – with Internet connection, a webcam, microphone and speakers (usually in-built). You need high speed Wi-Fi with full bars signal that doesn’t drop out Internet connection and a modern internet browser (see "What Web Browser do you recommend" below).

You will need an email account to sign up for a course and an up-to-date web browser.

To join the course simply click on the link in your confirmation email and follow the instructions on the screen. You can access Zoom via the web browser or app. For help joining a meeting see Zoom support here

It is also useful to have the following close to hand - a secondary device to join via the Zoom link is recommended if possible to assist sharing your work in progress during the day (eg a smartphone with in-built camera or ipad/tablet), if possible.

Some of the course resources may be presented as PDF files, which will require a PDF viewer such as Adobe Reader.

What web browser do you recommend?
PC users – Chrome 30+, Firefox 27+, Edge 12+, Internet Explorer 11+ are supported.
Mac users – Chrome 30+, Firefox 27+, Safari 7+ are supported.

Please be sure to keep your browser updated. If you need to upgrade your browser, go to your browser manufacturer's website and download the most recent version.

Phones and tablets – download the Zoom mobile app from the App Store (iPhone) or Google Play (Android).

What do I do if I experience technical issues?
Support setting up Zoom, including helpful videos can be accessed on their website here and support centre here.

We recommend setting up and testing Zoom a few days in advance of your course to ensure you do not have problems on the day. If you have checked the technical requirements above and are using a suitable browser but the problem persists, email (Monday-Friday, and for courses held on Saturday or Sunday, 8.45-9.15am only) with the details of your problem (including a screenshot if useful) for advice.

I’ve lost my login details, what do I do?
If you have deleted your login information please contact (Monday-Friday, and for courses held on Saturday or Sunday, 8.45-9.15am only).

I’ve changed my mind and no longer want to do this course, what can I do?
Please contact immediately if you have changed your mind, within 14 days of booking. Please also refer to our Terms and Conditions when booking. If your course includes multiple units, by booking you are committing to attend all unit dates listed in the course description, no alternative dates or refund can be offered for any that you are unable to attend. For any other queries about online courses please contact

For courses that included a posted materials pack: (this will be stated clearly in the course materials list above). Please only book this course online if you live on the UK mainland.  The costs included in the course fee do not cover areas outside of the UK mainland.  See note below.

Can I do this course if I live overseas?
If you live overseas (including Northern Ireland, Scottish Highlands and Islands, Channel Islands, Isle of Wight and Isle of Man), please email the Bookings Office with your address and contact details, do not book the course online.  Our team will then ascertain whether we are able to post the materials to you and, if so, the additional cost.  We will then let you know and you can decide whether or not to go ahead with the booking.  Please note that delivery of the materials box to an overseas address may also take longer.

What is included in the materials pack?
Included materials are listed in the ‘Course materials’ section above.

When should I expect to receive my materials pack?
Your pack will be posted to arrive 1-2 days before your course starts. It will be delivered by courier. Boxes are usually larger than letterbox size and the courier may contact you via email with delivery information. Currently, these can only be posted to mainland UK addresses - please see note above if you live overseas.

Who do I contact if I haven’t received my materials pack or it is missing an item?
Please contact (Monday-Friday) within two days of the course start date. If the original delivery is failed or refused and returned to the College, you will be responsible for paying any additional charges for re-delivery. 


Sally Gregson

Sally has been tutoring gardening courses at West Dean for over five years. She trained professionally at Hadlow College, and runs Mill Cottage Plants in Wookey Somerset.

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