ith spring fast on the approach, it’s easy to feel out of depth when it comes to facing the garden.
Whether it’s a window box, a balcony or an allotment that you call a garden, there is always more to learn. Even the most experienced gardeners never stop learning, and for many it is the reason gardening, in whatever form it takes, is so all-consuming.
Flip your fear of the unknown into an exciting journey of discovery and make use of the raft of short courses from community organizations and independent businesses across the capital.
Here are some of my favorites:
Hackney Herbal, E9
A social enterprise based in East London, Hackney Herbal are running some really useful online workshops for us city dwellers short on space, with workshops on growing your own herbs and food growing on a windowsill.
They are also running a community seed swap in readiness for the spring equinox on Saturday 19th March at Trowbridge Gardens, E9 5LD.
Philipa Craddock, W1
Harry and Meghan’s wedding florist is offering an online mimosa arranging tutorial for £38 with all profits donated to the International Rescue Committee’s Ukraine effort.
South London Botanical Institute, SE24
Get down with the details and learn more about the botany of plants at the South London Botanical Institute, founded by botanist Allan Octavian Hume over a 100 years ago.
A 10-part online series is about to commence covering everything from fungi and mushrooms to the hotspots of plant biodiversity. 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 snappy free (donations welcome) workshops on essential gardening skills including composting, seed sowing, tomato growing and pruning.
For a small fee you can level up your composting tekkers with their advanced composting course or get to grips with food growing on their three-week course.
Based in the Bethnal Green Nature Reserve on Middleton Street, Phytology are running ‘Rights for Weeds’ a four-part walking workshop on sustainable, urban foraging practices.
Discover what you can make with the plants on your doorstep, and learn how to forage respectfully. Nibbling is permitted, and although you won’t be leaving with lunch in hand, you’ll have the skills to forage 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 no matter your level of gardening know-how.
They have a special focus on gardening with the environment in mind, offering workshops on urban composting techniques, gardening for London’s changing climate, building ponds and a masterclass on organic vegetable growing. Lucky Southwark residents go free on many of their courses.
Wolves Lane Flower Company, N22
Based in retro, repurposed ex-council greenhouses in North London (more charming than it sounds, I promise), Wolves Lane Flower Company offers a series of workshops on, you guessed it, flower growing. 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 that of ethical flowers, free from chemicals and pesticides grown seasonally, and dripping with fragrance.
Chelsea Physic Garden, SW3
Pick up a new skill within the walls of one of London’s oldest gardens this spring. The Chelsea Physic Garden offers courses in a broad 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 moss ball, and discover the journey of chocolate from bean to bar.
If outdoor space is limited or non-existent, don’t worry. There is still a thing or two to learn. Forest runs classes from their painfully cool, plant-filled Deptford store. In with London Terrariums you can learn how to create bottle terrarium in a collaboration flask, (they’ll provide the flask, plants and everything you need). Or if you’re stuck when it comes to repotting your houseplants, they run a regular bring-your-own-plant repotting workshop explaining soil pots and everything in between.