With spring fast approaching, it’s easy to feel out of depth when it comes to facing the garden.
Whether it’s a planter, a balcony or a vegetable patch called a garden, there is always more to learn. Even the most experienced gardeners never stop learning, and for many, that’s why gardening in any form is so time-consuming.
Turn your fear of the unknown into an exciting journey of discovery and take advantage of the wealth of short courses offered by community organizations and independent businesses in the capital.
Here are some of my favorites:
Herbal Hackney, E9
A social enterprise based in east London, Hackney Herbal is running very useful online workshops for us city dwellers short on space, with workshops on growing your own herbs and food growing on a ledge window.
They are also hosting a Community Seed Swap in preparation for the Spring Equinox on Saturday 19th March at Trowbridge Gardens, E9 5LD.
Philipa Craddock, W1
Harry and Meghan’s wedding florist is offering a mimosa arrangement tutorial online for £38, with all proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee’s Ukrainian effort.
South London Botanical Institute, SE24
Go into detail and learn about plant botany at the South London Botanical Institute, founded by botanist Allan Octavian Hume over 100 years ago.
A 10-part online series is about to begin, covering everything from mushrooms and mushrooms to plant biodiversity hotspots. There are also a number of opportunities to explore London’s green spaces with expert botanists.
Calthorpe Community Garden, WC1
Minutes from the madness of St Pancras and Kings Cross Station, Calthorpe Community Garden on Grays Inn Road runs free workshops (donations welcome) in essential gardening skills including composting, sowing of seeds, cultivation and size of tomatoes.
For a small fee, you can upgrade your composting tekkers with their advanced composting course or learn about growing food during their three-week course.
Based in Bethnal Green Nature Reserve on Middleton Street, Phytology runs ‘Rights for Weeds’, a four-part walking workshop on sustainable urban foraging practices.
Find out what you can do with the plants on your doorstep and learn how to pick respectfully. Snacking is allowed and while you won’t be leaving with lunch in hand, you’ll have the skills to forage for food in your own community.
Walworth Garden, SE17
This small but exceptional charity and community garden in south London offers a remarkable range of workshops for gardeners, whatever your level of gardening know-how.
They have a particular focus on eco-friendly gardening, offering workshops in urban composting techniques, gardening for London’s changing climate, pond building and a master class in growing organic vegetables. Lucky residents of Southwark can take many of their courses for free.
Wolves Lane Flower Business, N22
Based in retro, repurposed greenhouses of former North London council houses (more charming than they look, I promise), Wolves Lane Flower Company offers a series of workshops on, you guessed it , the cultivation of flowers. From growing flowers from seed to arranging and styling, there are no multicolored roses here. The ethos of founders Marianne Mogendorff and Camila Klich is one of ethical flowers, free of chemicals and pesticides grown seasonally and dripping with fragrance.
Chelsea Physical Garden, SW3
Discover a new skill within the walls of one of London’s oldest gardens this spring. The Chelsea Physic Garden offers classes in a wide range of subjects from plant propagation for beginners to botanical watercolor classes.
Demystify confusing plant labels with gardener and garden historian Letta Jones, get the whole family involved in making a Japanese kokedama mousse ball, and discover chocolate’s journey from bean to bar.
If outdoor space is limited or non-existent, don’t worry. There’s still a thing or two to learn. Forest run classes from their store in Deptford, which is very fresh and full of plants. In collaboration with London Terrariums, you can learn how to create a bottle terrarium in a boiling flask (they will provide you with the flask, plants and everything else you need). Or if you get stuck when it comes to repotting your houseplants, they regularly host a bring your own plant potting workshop explaining soil pots and all.