Tom Cole

RHS Level 2: Planting Styles

  • Recommended

    $500

    Includes personal feedback and tuition. More

  • $200

    Learn in an online classroom with no more than 20 classmates. More

Course Description

In the RHS: Planting Styles course we’ll look at how horticulturalists combine their plant knowledge with the ways people interact with gardens and landscapes.

This course is the new syllabus and will be available to start subject to RHS accreditation in September 2022. Some lessons and tutors may change slightly depending on the course and filming structure.

We’ll cover formal and informal garden and planting styles and look at historic garden design characteristics.

You’ll learn how to use the advantages of plants (for example to create shade) and how to combine plants.

This course will also include how horticulturalists can create edible landscapes and grow fruit and vegetables in ways that have a wider social impact.

The course includes RHS student registration fee and exam fees (based on in-person exams). You'll learn the syllabus for the RHS Level 2 exams and RHS Level 2 qualification. Exams are run separately by the RHS.

Course outline

  • Historical contexts

    We’ll look at the key design aspects of historic gardens and landscapes, and the influence on modern garden design and maintenance.

  • Formal Planting

    This lesson covers the role of plant selection and location in garden and landscape design. We’ll look at features of formal planting including geometric shapes and the impact of formal planting on biodiversity and sustainability.

  • Informal planting

    You’ll learn about the features of informal planting, plants which are more suitable for informal planting and the impact of informal planting on biodiversity.

  • Plant associations

    In this lesson we’ll look at how to create plant groupings where each plant enhances the others and how to balance your plant selections.

    You’ll learn to look at plant foliage, heights, textures and flowers and how to combine plants to create the planting design and style.

  • Plant uses

    This lesson looks at the multiple roles of plants in the garden.

    You’ll learn how to choose plants for their role – for example hedges, climbers and trees to create garden structure, and how plant choices can affect the design function.

  • Edible landscapes

    Edible landscapes are growing in popularity, and in this lesson we’ll look at suitable planting styles for edible landscapes.

    You’ll learn how to select fruit, vegetables and herbs for your design style, the principles of growing systems and container gardening.

  • Short-term Plantings

    This lesson looks at planting for short-term displays, how to choose plants for short-term use and the environmental impact of short-term planting.

Choose how you want to learn

Gardening classroom - how it works

  • Start anytime

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors

    Watch video tutorials led by expert tutors
  • Test yourself

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments

    Practice what you learn with inspiring assignments
  • Personal tuition

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors

    Get assignment feedback from expert tutors
  • Share ideas

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

    Collaborate and chat directly to classmates

Meet Tom Cole

Tom Cole - Gardening
Tom has been involved in land-based education since 1991. He was a lecturer at Capel Manor College, which culminated in becoming Head of Horticulture in 1997-2009. This role involved overseeing and leading a team based at 5 sites covering the London area. During 2009, Tom moved to Writtle University College as a Curriculum Manager, overseeing Further Education covering Agriculture, Countryside and Horticulture. During 2010 he became the Head of Faculty.

More recently, Tom has spent much time delivering RHS qualifications at Capel Manor College. He is an RHS Associate and speaker, qualification writer for Pearson/ BTEC and marks RHS Level 2 exams. Tom is also currently expanding a small, but perfectly formed soft landscape and maintenance business. Aside from teaching, he regularly broadcasts on BBC Radio Essex with Ken Crowther and contributes to various garden magazines.

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