I love learning. This is a good thing, as I have a job which involves learning, and then passing on that learning in easily digestible chunks (if I’m doing it right). I’ve always loved learning. When the nights started to draw in, and mornings started to get a little bit chillier, I was pleased to be able to climb back into my uniform and go back to school. I realise that I’m lucky to have had an enjoyable learning experience throughout my life.
And so I carry on learning. The climbing back into school uniform is no longer required, but this week sees my return to college. I’ve completed half of the RHS Level 2 Certificate (the old style qualification) and return to college to complete the other half – the ‘first’ part. I really enjoyed the part I’ve just completed, which covered :
It’s a theory-based qualification, but the tutors do a great deal to make it relevant to the students, and made the whole experience really enjoyable. My main triumphs after studying this half are a lawn that actually looks rather good for once (and will hopefully look even better after this autumn’s scarification, aeration, top dressing and feed), and a better understanding (and recognition) of pests and diseases.
This semester’s topics see us studying:
and I’m really looking forward to propagation, as I’m not very good at this. I have to admit that I studied one year of undergraduate Botany as part of my Zoology degree, so am hoping that I might have a bit of a head start on the Plant Kingdom unit, but I’ve forgotten it all, except for some esoteric facts about plant evolution around the Cretaceous period. Probably not of much use.
I enjoy learning theory and facts (although SomeBeans probably enjoys it less so – I think by the end of the revision session and me reciting plant names at him, he could also have passed the exam). I am less good at practical things, which is why I’m looking forward with more trepidation to a new course I’m starting tomorrow – Advanced Certificate in Garden Design. I did do a 10 week ‘leisure course’ on garden design last September and thought I’d like to take it a bit further this year. I have no illusions – I don’t have the imagination or artistic flair to take garden design further, to a career, and there are plenty of designers around without me trying to make a living at it. But if I can improve my own garden, make useful suggestions to improve areas of my family’s gardens, and have a better understanding of what makes a good design so that I can more critically look at other gardens, then that will be enough for me. I’d like to be able to understand what history lies written in gardens, why some designs work, and why others don’t. I’m quite nervous – I love art, but had to give it up at school as I couldn’t study both art and physics. I'm not sure I’ll be very good at accurate measurements, nor at designing something that will look good and be practical. We shall see.
And so it is back to school. And I’m very excited.
* Title quote is from Arthur K Bulley, creator of Ness Botanic Gardens.