Want to know more about gardening at home?
Whatever your reason for gardening, this course will help you to garden more efficiently and effectively. Student Testimonial: Pauline Ross, Home Garden Expert
"This is a great course for anyone interested in plants. There is lots of information in each manual, and plenty of time to do each lesson to give it your best shot. The manuals are eally easy to understand, and the lessons are set out clearly. My tutor is very nice, and if need be, you can ring ACS for help. There are lots of avenues for getting information. Students who really want to learn will always find a way."
There are 8 lessons in this course:
Basic Plant Identification & Culture: Plant names, planting, transplanting, tools & equipment.
Soils & Nutrition: Soil structure, nutrition, composting, soil building, drainage, fertilizers.
Pests & Weeds: Identifying problems, sprays, biological control, weed identification & control.
Landscaping: How to design a garden, rockeries, native gardens, traditional (European style) home gardens.
Propagation: Propagating materials, seed, cuttings.
Lawns: Turf varieties, laying a lawn, lawn care.
Indoor Gardening: Hardy indoor plants, container growing.
The Kitchen Garden: Vegetable gardening, fruit trees, herbs.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
Identify plant health problems and know treatments.
Know the plant naming system and how plants are classified.
Understand the effect of soil structure and texture on plant growth.
Understand plant terminology and planting methods.
Understand plant pruning requirements and methods
Know plant nutrition requirements
Understand soil conditions and when they require improvement.
Recognise a range of pests and diseases and the methods of control.
Recognise a range of weeds and know various control methods.
Know a range of garden styles and the history behind them.
Have knowledge of landscape construction techniques.
Understand the elements and processes of landscape design.
Understand various propagating techniques
Propagate plants by various methods
Understand the soil preparation and requirements to establish or renovate a lawn
Know lawn maintenance requirements.
Understand requirements, including environmental and nutritional aspects of growing plants indoors (including hydroponics and greenhouses).
Know how to select plants suited to growth indoors
Develop knowledge of vegetable growing procedures and requirements.
Have knowledge of a range of fruits and berries suited to the home garden
Have knowledge of a range of commonly grown herbs and flowers
What You Will Do
Read notes written and supplied by staff of this school
Watch instructional video
Test and name different soils
Mix inexpensive potting mixes
Make compost and explain how you made it.
Learn how to identify plants effectively.
Explain step by step how you would go about planting shrubs in your own locality.
Explain how to transplant and transport plants from one propertyu to another.
Determine the tools required to do gardening for a property, using a limited supply of money.
Explain characteristics of soil, including: Soil Structure, pH and Nutrient Deficiency
Describe how to fertilize a lawn
Explain how to improve drainage in a soil that is too wet for plants to do well in.
Explain how you would improve a specified soil
Identify a nutrient deficiency
Observe and identify different categories of pest and disease problems in growing plants.
Compile a weed collection with pressings or illustrations of different weeds
Compile a plant collection with pressings or illustrations of different weeds
Describe how environmental problems affect plants
Recommend ways of controlling different types opf problems in plants, using both natural and chemical.
Observe and evaluate different types of gardens.
Survey a garden in order to prepare a garden design.
Apply a systematic procedure to landscape design, in order to produce a concept plan for a garden.
Explain mistakes have you observe in the design and construction of different rockeries
Build a simple cold frame and us it to propagate plants.
Prepare propagating mix which would be suitable for striking most types of cuttings.
Propagate different plants from cuttings.
Prepare a plan for sowing annual flower seedlings over a 12 month period.
Evaluate and explain a lawn seed mix from the packaging of that mix
Observe different lawns and recommend their treatment
Explain how to establish a lawn
Observe and evaluate the condition of different indoor plants.
Recommend the treatment of different indoor plants.
Prepare lists of indoor plants for different applications.
Find an indoor plant which needs potting up & pot it up.
Plant a vegetable patch.
List fruit, nuts & berries most suited for growing in your locality
Observe the way in which herbs are used commercially (eg. in medicine, cooking etc)
Explain why crop rotation is used in growing vegetables?
Learn all You Ever Wanted to Know about Making and Keeping a Garden in Top Condition
Things fall or blow into gardens all the time. It doesn’t matter whether the problem is leaves and twigs dropping from overhead trees, or papers and plastic bags blowing in from the street, no-one likes to sit in a garden that looks really messy.
Fortunately, keeping the garden clean is a lot easier now than in the past. Modern machinery, and a better understanding of garden design, have greatly reduced what was once tedious and, in a large garden, back-breaking work.
There are several, very useful pieces of equipment, which can be bought or hired for quick clean-ups.
These are popular for cleaning driveways, paths and paved areas, by blowing leaves and other light debris out of the way to where it is not such a problem. This might be onto garden beds, or into a pile where you can then easily pick it up and dispose of it appropriately (e.g in the compost bin or garbage bin). Both petrol or electric-powered models are readily available, and there are now some great battery rechargeable versions on the market. Petrol machines will be louder than electric-powered ones. Costs can vary considerably in terms of the quality of workmanship, size of machine and the warranty provided.
These are great in autumn to clean up leaves or after a party. Vacuums work in reverse to the blowers by sucking up the debris into a collection sack attached to the vacuum (just like a vacuum used to clean your floors indoors). They can be bought or hired (like all other machines in this article). Petrol vacuums tend to be more popular as they tend to be more reliable and have a stronger ‘sucking’ force. Collections bags should be emptied when they are no more than one-half to two-thirds full (depending on the model) for best results.
Water under pressure can be used to clean light and heavy debris from surfaces. The blast of water may be strong enough to lift stains and moss from old pavers, bricks and concrete. Water blasters are frequently used to ‘freshen’ up an old garden and the house especially when the owner is trying to sell the property or just as spring arrives. K’A’CHER and Lato Aussie Pumps are two of the best known suppliers of water blasters, and these are usually readily hired from companies like Kennards Hire (see advert in this magazine). These high-pressure water jet cleaners are either electric or petrol-powered. Most utilise cold water, although hot water use is available with some K’A’CHER models.
For an alternative approach, hose and irrigation specialist companies like Moss, have produced simple attachments for hoses that turn the normal water pressure into a fine jet of water under high pressure. Although these can work well for many home duties they are not as powerful as the water blasters produced by K’A’RCHER or Lato Aussie Pumps.
Learn Home Garden Design in this course
The way you design the garden can have a huge impact upon how much cleaning up you will need to do. There following tips will help you to minimise the work you are likely to face:
Around the house
Build fences along the boundaries. On windy days these will catch most of the air-borne material, so that all you need do is a quick clean-up along the fence line after the wind has stopped.
Avoid creating wind tunnels between buildings. Narrow passages between the house, garage and fence are particularly prone to becoming wind tunnels and, as such, are often full of papers, leaves and other debris.
Avoid the use of light-coloured, paved driveways, and grey cement paths and driveways. Oil marks, tyre marks, algae and mildew will show up much more readily on light-coloured surfaces.
Avoid using light-coloured hard surfaces in shady, damp areas, otherwise you’ll be forever battling mould, moss, mildew and algae growth and stains.
Avoid locating gravel paths and driveways near trees, which drop a lot of leaves, seeds or twigs – they can be very difficult to rake out of the gravel.
Don’t use sandstone, light-coloured concrete blocks, or similar materials around barbeques – the grease soaks in, leaving permanent stains.
In the Home and Garden
Use screen plantings along the boundaries to slow the passage of wind and to prevent rubbish blowing in.
Avoid trees that constantly drop leaves and twigs. Although deciduous trees drop lots of leaves in autumn, that only occurs for a short period, and the leaves can be easily raked up and composted. The real problem is those trees that drop small amounts of leaves, bark and woody twigs throughout the year. Eucalypts are especially prone to making a mess, dropping lots of dry woody plant material, which is slow to compost. Similarly, palm fronds can be troublesome to dispose of.
Avoid having plants that produce berries or other soft fruits overhanging lawn, hard-surfaced areas (such as paving), or garden furniture. The fruits can be a real clean-up problem, as well as posing a safety risk if people slip on them. Locate such plants in the middle of garden beds where the falling fruit will not be such a problem.
Avoid having plants that drip lots of resins (e.g. some conifers), saps, or nectar from flowers overhanging hard-surfaced areas.
Avoid planting shallow-rooted and short-lived trees in windy areas. Quick-growing acacias are notorious for toppling over in strong winds, and are potentially a major cleaning-up headache.
In windy areas, use heavier woody mulches, such as bark, in preference to fine light mulches, such as lucerne or deciduous leaves.
Keep the garden well watered. When plants are under stress they drop leaves as a survival mechanism.
Wildlife in the garden (birds/possums etc) can break foliage, make a mess with fruit and berries, and drop faeces on paths and outdoor furniture. Keep trees that attract such animals away from paths, walls and other hard landscaping.
Watch out for insects, which create a mess. Sooty mould – a black powdery fungus associated with scale insects and aphis – can mark hard landscaping features. If possible, treat infestations before they get out of hand, and avoid planting hibiscus, citrus and other plants susceptible to such problems near paths, furniture, etc.
You might be amazed how much time and effort you can save maintaining your garden, by following some of the simple design tips from above, and by using the right equipment to help you clean up when it becomes necessary to do so.
Why Choose This Course
- Unique course materials (developed by our staff) and more current than some colleges (many reviewed annually); as a result, ACS graduates can be more up to date.
- We work hard to help you understand and remember it, develop an ability to apply it in the real world, and build networks with others who work in this field (It’s more than just serving up a collection of information –if all you want is information, buy a book; but if you want an education, that takes learning to a whole new level).
- Start whenever you want, study at your own pace, study anywhere
- Don’t waste time and money traveling classes
- We provide more choices–courses are written to allow you more options to focus on parts of the subject that are of more interest to you; a huge range of elective subjects are offered that don’t exist elsewhere.
- Tutors are accessible (more than elsewhere) – academics work in both the UK and Australia, 5 days a week, 16 hours a day. Answering emails and phone calls from students are top priority.
- We treat students as individuals –don’t get lost in a crowd. Our tutors communicate with you one to one.
- Extra help at no extra cost if needed. When you find something you cannot do, we help you through it or will provide another option.
- Support after you finish a course –We can advise about getting work, starting business, writing a CV, etc. We can promote students and their businesses through our extensive profile on the internet. Graduates who ask will be helped.
- Support from a team of a dozen professional horticulturists, living in different parts of the UK, and in both temperate and tropical climate zones of Australia.
ACS was started in 1979 by John Mason, who at the time was a gardening author, horticultural consultant and lecturer in horticulture at several colleges across Melbourne (in Australia). Over the summer that year John discovered that there were thousands of applicants going to be turned away from horticulture courses at Burnley Horticultural College (now Melbourne University). There were simply too few courses being offered for the number of people wanting to study horticulture in Australia. This situation prompted a move to establish a correspondence course at Burnley; but after months of unsuccessful lobbying for support from government; John wrote a course, and with help from a colleague at Council of Adult Education, marketed it.
Standards were originally set in line with what were seen to be the standards of Australia's top horticultural college; and over the years, those standards have never been reduced. This makes our courses longer and more demanding than some other colleges; but it has also led to us building a credibility that stands tall in the horticulture industry across the world.
In the early 1990's John started visiting the UK and becoming involved with the horticulture industry there. Around the mid 1990's ACS began offering RHS courses, and in 2003, John was formally recognised for his contribution to British Horticulture by being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture. ACS, as a school, established an office and staff in the UK in 2001, and has expanded considerably since then. Today it is formally affiliated with five other colleges in the UK (including Warwickshire College); all of who license and deliver ACS courses.
A team of leading horticulturists work for the school's horticulture department, including 12 faculty members in both the UK and Australia
How You Study
- As soon as you enroll, we send an email to explain it all.
- We direct you to a short orientation video (downloadable over the internet) to watch, where our principal introduces you to how the course works, and how you can access all sorts of support services
- You are either given a code to access your course online, or sent out a CD or course materials through the mail (or by courier).
- Work through lessons one by one, each lesson typically having four parts:
- An aim -which tells you what you should be achieving in the lesson
- Reading -notes written and regularly revised by our academic staff
- Set Task(s) -These are practicals, research or other experiential learning tasks that strengthen and add to what you have been reading
- Assignment -By answering questions, submitting them to a tutor, then getting feedback from the tutor, you confirm that you are on the right track, but more than that, you are guided to consider what you have been studying in different ways, broadening your perspective and reinforcing what you are learning about
- Other - Your work in a course rarely stops at just the above four parts. Different courses and different students will need further learning experiences. Your set task or assignment may lead to other things, interacting with tutors or people in industry, reviewing additional reference materials or something else. We treat every student as an individual and supplement their learning needs as the occasion requires.
- We provide access to and encourage you to use a range of supplementary services including an online student room, including online library; student bookshop, newsletters, social media etc.
- We provide a "student manual", that is a quick solution to most problems that might occur
- ACS has a highly respected international profile: by employers and academics alike. People are more aware of us than many other distance education schools –just do a search for “horticulture distance education courses” and see what comes up on the internet; or search for ACS Distance education on Facebook or Linked in, and see how many connections we have compared to other colleges.
- Recognised by International Accreditation and Recognition Council
- ACS has been educating people around the world since 1979
- Over 100,000 have now studied ACS courses, across more than 150 countries
- Formal affiliations with colleges in five countries
- A faculty of over 40 internationally renowned academics –books written by our staff used by universities and colleges around the world.
Extra Books or Reference Materials
- The course provides you with everything that you need to complete it successfully.
- Assignments may ask you to look for extra information (eg. by contacting nurseries, visiting gardens or searching the internet), but our school's resources and tutors are always available as a back up. If you hit a "roadblock", we can quickly send you additional information or provide expert advice over the phone or email; to keep you moving in your studies.
- Some students choose to buy additional references, to take their learning beyond what is essential for the course. If a student wants to buy books, we operate an online bookshop offering ebooks written by staff at the school. Student discounts are available if you are studying with us. The range of e books available is being expanded rapidly, with at least one new ebook being written and published by our staff every month. See www.acsebook.com
The ACS bookstore has many books to help you...
... Establish your garden
... Choose plants
... Propagate your own plants
... and much more! Click on the following link for more information.
The ACS online bookstore