Making a start

  • Does your garden need a design makeover?
  • Do you long to know how to plan and grow beautiful borders?
  • Do you love plants but lack confidence in your gardening ability?
  • Does pruning defeat you, do your lawns languish and your cuttings keel over while you wage war with weeds?
  • Are you keen to go green and organic?
  • Would you like Private Tuition or a Garden Consultation?

Whatever your garden needs, I can offer you a course to suit your requirements

Garden Design & Management

My three-term garden design courses are held one morning each week. They take place at my home in the rural hamlet of Shepherd’s Patch, Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, which is close to the world famous Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and borders the peaceful Gloucester-Sharpness Canal.

My cottage garden provides the ideal studio for these courses, at the conclusion of which beginners on the Design your own Garden course will have produced designs and planting plans for their own and their fellow students’ gardens, as well as simple 3-D drawings.  These are stimulating beginners’ courses for up to 6 people, held in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, and there are no exams.  No previous drawing ability is required.

In the term on Border Planning, one session is held at a local garden centre.  Here students select a variety of plants and arrange them to their best effect based on plant shape, texture and colour.  This is a very popular, confidence-building exercise, as it allows students to plan an instant border without lifting a spade and to see how well plants look grouped together as they would be in the garden.  Plants may then be bought from the garden centre, at a discount, if desired.

In the Garden Design courses, Second Year students build on the knowledge gained in the previous year by producing complete garden and border designs for clients in the locality.  Advanced students continue to work on special design projects and garden management.  These courses take place on Wednesday and Thursday mornings each week.


These cover:

  • Pruning shrubs and roses (Spring)
  • Pruning shrubs, roses and perennials (Summer)
  • Growing and Training Fruit in Small Spaces

These are held either at May Cottage or in students’ own gardens locally.

Examples of Year II Practicals

Planting seeds

Get an early start by planting seeds. Learn which methods reward the least effort and which planting composts to use.


Learn how to propagate cuttings using various techniques

This is my square foot veg bed which I have made as an introduction to growing vegetables for beginners. It is so simple to do and I have loved creating it. The squares are in fact 15 inches rather than 12 and highly productive.

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