HOME STUDY - HORTICULTURE COURSE- DISTANCE LEARNING
GAIN A UK ACCREDITED HORTICULTURE CERTIFICATE
A highly desirable certificate for both amateurs and professional gardeners and horticulturalists. The course is comprised of four units:
Became an internationally recognised Gardener
UK certificate, awarded by the RHS, one of the worlds most recognised horticultual organisations
100 hrs, self paced course.
Learn to identify over 100 plants
Gain a fundamental understanding of how plants grow and develop; and the most critical techniques used by professional gardeners, to propagate and manage plants in gardens and plant nurseries
This course is one of a new generation of certificates being launched by the RHS to replace older qualifications.
Accredited in the UK
Awarded by the Royal Horticultural Society
Study Online; or using CD or printed notes : your choice
100 hourse study where and when you want, from anywhere in the world, and complete the course as fast or slow as best suits you
The course is broken down into 4 units:
- The Plant Kingdom (Unit 1)
- Plant Nutrition, The Root Environment (Unit 2)
- Pests, Diseases and Weeds (Unit 3)
- Sexual and Asexual Propagation (Unit 4)
Course Content and Duration
There are 10 lessons in this course:
- Classification of Plants and the Plant Naming System
- Botanical and Horticultural Nomenclature: common names, scientific names
- The Binomial System
- Botanical Classification levels
- Horticultural Groups
- Plant Families and their distinguishing characteristics
- Species, Hybrids, Varieties, Cultivars
- Review of significant Dicotyledon and Monocotyledon families
- Plant Lifecycles
- Stages in Plant Development
- Plant Collection Reviews
- The Internal Structure of Higher Plants
- Plant Cell Structure
- Cell Components
- Cell Division; mitosis and meiosis
- Types of Plant Cells; Parenchyma, Collechyma,Sclerenchyma, Xylem, Phloem, Epidermal
- Internal Structure of Dicotyledon Stems: Epidermis, endodermis, cortex, vascular bundles, etc
- Structure of Monocotyledon Stems
- External Differences between Monocotyledons and Dicotyledons
- Anatomica features of leaves and stems in cross section
- Plant Tissues
- Primary and Secondary Growth
- Botanical Keys and their use
- The External Structure of Higher Plants, Roots, Leaves, Stems and Buds
- Stems; the framework, functions of the stem
- Stem modifications
- Functions of leaves
- Respiration, transpiration and photosynthesis
- Leaf shapes
- Compound leaves
- Leaf modifications
- Buds: adventitious, apical, flower, vegetative
- Root Structure
- Types of Root Systems
- Root Modifications
- Morphological Changes due to Maturation
- Identification and Function of the Reproductive Parts of the Plant
- Parts of a flower: Sepals, Petals Staemens, Carpel
- The Inflorescence
- Flower Structure
- Types of Fruits
- Fruit and Seed Terminology
- Modification of Fruits -dry fruits, succulent fruits, composite fruits, false fruits
- Key to Main Fruit Types
- Pollination and Fertilisation in Higher Plants
- Pollination Processes
- Self Pollination, Cross pollination
- Pollination Mechanisms
- Fertilisation, Embryo and Seed Formation
- Post Fertilisation
- F1 Hybrids
- Genotype versus Phenotype
- Male Sterility
- Hybrid Seed Production
- Seed and Fruit Development
- Seed Structure
- Seed Germination
- Fruit Set, Growth and Development
- The Fundamental Physiological Processes in Plants, Plant Growth and Developmental Relationships
- Importance of Photosynthesis
- The Light Reactions
- The Dark Reactions
- Chloplasts in Photosynthesis
- C3, C4 and CAM Plants
- Rate of Photosynthesis
- Chemistry of Respiration
- Rate of Respiration
- Stages of Respiration
- Aerobic versus Anaerobic Respiration
- Transpiration and Translocation of Water
- Mechanisms of Nutrient Uptake
- How Water, ions and metabolites move through a plant
- Tropisms; Phototropism, Geotropism, Thigmotropism, etc
- Chemical Growth Modification; Auxins, Gibberellins, AA, Ethylene, Cytokinin, etc
- Effects of Chemical hormones
- Light factors in plant growth
- Artificial Light
- Soils and the Root Environment
- Soil Profile
- Importance of Soil
- Soil Composition
- Structure and soil types
- Soil Horizons (A, B, C and R)
- Naming the Soil
- Improving Soil Structure
- Soil Sampling
- Improving Fertility
- Organic Matter
- Benefits of adding Organic Matter
- Soil Water and it's Value to Plants
- Water Loss from Soils
- Improving Water Retention
- Hygroscopic Water, Gravitational Water, Field Capacity and other terminology
- Rate of Watering
- Plant Health and Drainage
- Symptoms of Poor DrainageImproving surface and sub surface Drainage
- Soil pH
- Nutrient Availability and pH
- Calcifuges and Calcicoles
- Adding Lime
- Adding Acidic Materials to Lower pH
- Conservation Issues: Peat
- Plant Nutrition
- Soil Life: Earthworms, Mycorrhyzae, Nitrogen Fixing
- Nitrogen Cycle; Ammonification,Nitrification, Detritrification, Nitrogen Loss
- Forms of Nitrogen
- The Nitrogen Cycle
- The Carbon Cycle
- The Nutrient Elements
- The Major Elements
- The Minor Elements (Trace Elements)
- Total Salts
- Diagnosis of Nutrient Problems
- Types of Fertilisers
- Applying Fertilisers
- Natural Fertilisers
- Manures, Rock Dusts, Seaweed
- Composting Methods: sheet composting, Indore method, 14 day method, compost bins, trench composting, etc
- Green Manures
- Mulch and Mulching
- Cultivation Techniues
- Cultivation Tools and Equipment
- Improving Water Infiltration into Soil
- Non Dig Growing Method
- Soil Problems
- Soil Rehabilitation
- Properties of Growing Media
- Potting Media: Components and mixes
- Choosing Growing Media
- Air Filled Porosity
- Hydroponics defined
- Plant Health Problems
- Factors Affecting Plant Health and Growth
- Types of Problems
- Conducting an Inspection
- Determining and Recommending Treatments
- Responding to Difficult to Diagnose Problems
- Plant Pests -major groups
- Pest Treatments - Sanitation, Physical control methods, Resistant varieties, Biological controls, Chemical controls, Soil drenches
- Insect Biology; structure, lifecycles, etc
- Review of Major Pests and their Treatments
- Review of Major Diseases and their Treatments
- Review of Environmental Problems and their Control
- Types of Weeds
- Identifying Weeds
- Weed Control Methods; suffocation, burning, cultivation, grazing, mowing, solarisation, chemicals, etc
- Plant Propagation Principles and Practice
- Sexual Propagation
- When to Sow Seed
- Why Some Seeds Don't Germinate
- Dormancy Factors in Seed -Hard Seed Coat, Chemical Inhibitors, Undeveloped Embryos etc
- Difficult to Germinate Seeds
- Treatments to Break Seed Dormancy
- Seed Sources
- Seed Saving; Seed Storage
- Sowing Seed Indoors
- Seed Sowing: Germination, Temperature Control Hygeine
- Seed Propagating Media
- Sowing Seed Outside
- Handling and caring for Seedlings
- Potting Up
- Propagation after care
- Propagation from Cuttings
- Succeeding with Cuttings
- Types of Cuttings
- Softwood, Semi Hardwood and Hard wood Cuttings
- Variations on Cuttings: nodal, heel, tip, etc
- Leaf Cuttings, Leaf bud cuttings, Root Cuttings, Bulb Cuttings, etc
- Stock Plants for Cuttings
- Propagation from Specialised Stems and Roots; Offsets, Division, etc
- Propagating Tools: Secateurs, How to Cut, Knives
- Propagating Plants in a Greenhouse
- Cold Frames
- Heated Propagators
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.
Describe the classification of higher plants
Describe the internal structure of higher plants
Describe the structure and functions of roots, leaves, stems and buds.
Describe the functions of the reproductive parts of the plant
Describe the process of pollination and fertilisation in higher plants.
Describe the processes photosynthesis, respiration, the movement of water in plants and plant growth and development.
Develop an understanding of the constituents, properties and management of soils and growing media.
Describe the nutrient elements and plant nutrition in relation to soil and growing media.
Describe the uses of organic matter and the importance of living organisms in the soil
Develop an understanding of pest, diseases and weeds that affect horticultural plants, and the cultural, biological, chemical and integrated systems used to control those problems.
Develop an understanding of the principles and main practices of plant propagation in horticulture.
To obtain the certificate, awarded by the RHS in England, the student needs to sit and pass written exams conducted under supervision, and assessed by the RHS.
- Exams can be arranged to be sat anywhere in the world.
- Exams are offered twice annually; in February and June.
- A separate fee applies for exams; set by and paid to the RHS.
- For students located elsewhere; a provision is made for exams to be conducted "under arrangements for exceptional supervision".
The qualification is accredited within the Qualifications and Credit Framework in the UK. Accreditation Number: 500/8296/6.
Download RHS Brochures:
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 for ebooks (available in pounds stirling). We also sell books through our Australian bookshop (selling in Australian dollars) at www.acsbookshop.com