Sunday, October 04, 2015

Perennial planting: My Garden School weeks 3 and 4

And so, my course with MyGardenSchool draws to an end. I've very much enjoyed the learning journey along the way.

It has been rather difficult to keep up with the assignments, especially as I've just started a doctorate and had to read half a dozen research papers on research paradigms over the past two weeks, as well as complete assignment for the perennials course. This has meant that I haven't been able to devote quite as much time as I'd have liked to my assignment this final week.

Last week we looked at perennials for difficult places and this week at seasonal use of perennials. I found this particularly interesting, as it allowed  me to rethink my use of perennials for winter structure. Over the past couple of years, I'd cut back the dead perennial stems, for purely practical reasons. With a small child, it meant I could definitely get the garden work done before new growth started in spring. So, from a time management point of view, it was fine. From a garden interest point of view, it was less of a success. The front garden, in  particular was pretty devoid of interest until spring bulbs came out. This year, then, I will leave attractive stems, and just plan a couple of garden days in spring for the clear up.

As with my previous report, Noel has provided excellent feedback - correcting where I've made mistakes, but with positive suggestions and alternatives, as well as positive feedback. He has also commented in the online discussions between students, which were a very interesting part of the course.

So my verdict? A very useful and interesting course. As I mentioned in my first post on the course, you do have to consider the price (£145 for four weeks, though, as I said, I was offered it for free in return for an honest review). In that first post, I also suggested that it would probably equate to the cost of a day's course with an expert, as part of a group. There are advantages to either way, but this route is  more accessible to many, as it doesn't require you to travel, just make time at your desk, or on the sofa. Not everyone enjoys learning online, but having taken a number of MOOCS, I found the interface easy to use and the small numbers of participants meant very personal, useful feedback. Over the long term, it will, no doubt save me quite a lot of money through more effective buying and use of plants in the garden, and an understanding of how they grow. Only you will know if you think this is an appropriate price for you.

Thank you to MyGardenSchool and to Dr Noel Kingsbury for this learning experience.

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