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Private Gardening lessons, Consultancy, and Garden Talks in and around Wantage, for individuals and for small groups.

Private Gardening lessons: I am frequently asked for instruction and guidance in gardening, so I am pleased to offer private gardening tuition - real, hands-on, dirty fingernails gardening.

This can be on a one-to-one basis for individual help: or for small groups of up to four persons. Sessions are normally a 3-hour afternoon, or a 2-hour evening session, and will include whatever level of instruction you require - from complete beginners, to those who know the basics but perhaps need a little encouragement or confidence to deal with topiary, roses, etc.

If you have recently taken an interest in gardening, but really don’t know which are the weeds, or how to tackle the roses, this is a good way to learn, at your own pace, in your own garden. A beginners’ session can start with the absolute basics of real gardening: how to weed, how - and when - to hoe, how to tackle shrubs and climbers, how to prune those roses; and will cover when and why, as well as how. Learn about compost, mulching, propagation, and have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you wish. I can’t guarantee that I will know all the answers, but I will certainly try!

Some of the many subjects which can be included are:

  1. Introduction to your garden: weeding, plant identification, books and tools.
  2. Planting out: soil preparation, choosing good plants, giving them a good start.
  3. Topiary: maintenance, changing shapes, starting out.
  4. Plants for free: teaching you about splitting and division.
  5. Plants for free II: propagating from cuttings, and growing from seed.
  6. Pruning: roses, shrubs, climbers: where to start, and where to stop!
  7. Garden Design: how to focus your ideas.
  8. Vegetables: where to start!
  9. Retrieving a mature garden that has gone back to the wild.
  10. Organic gardening: pros and cons.

Kind and friendly tuition, fully hands-on, with the chance to see how a professional does it, then to have a go yourself.


Who is it for? Complete beginners, or people with a little experience: people who haven’t gardened for while and think they have forgotten how to: or people who are just a little unsure how to tackle specific problems.
What does it cost? £90 for a 3-hour afternoon, £60 for a 2-hour evening session.
What do I need to provide? Just the location, and whatever tools you already have.
Can I choose what subjects you will cover? Of course you can. Just assemble a list of what topics you would like to talk or learn about.
Are you terribly efficient and full of latin words? Well, yes I am terribly efficient, but I won’t rush you, we will go at your pace. I won’t force you to learn any latin, although I might possibly tell you why it's a good idea to learn just a little bit...
Can I have my neighbour along as well? Of course. The rate is the same for one of you, or for up to four of you. Obviously, the more of you there are, the less attention you each get!
How far will you travel? I am based in Wantage, so anywhere in and around that area.
How do I book you? Contact me by E-mail at Tuition@rachel-the-gardener.co.uk. Tell me what sort of things you would like covered, whether it’s just you, or a small group, and if you would prefer an afternoon or an evening session. I will get back to you with a suggested date.

What others have said:

"You've really given me the confidence to tackle these shrubs myself."

"Now I can sharpen my own secateurs!"

"It's true that a picture is worth a thousand words - and seeing exactly how to make the [pruning] cuts has been worth every penny."

"You do realise that after you spent the afternoon with my wife, there is nothing in my garden taller than two feet now?" (nb I think he was exaggerating for comic effect, ha ha, thank you Steve.)


Consultancy:

I also offer Consultancy: if you have recently taken on a new garden, or have just run out of steam in your old one, it can help to have an Expert spend a couple of hours with you, talking through plant and design issues, to help you get the most out of your garden. Sometimes this means literally identifying the actual contents of the garden: sometimes it involves redesigning parts, or the whole, of it. A fresh eye can make a big difference.

And yes, sometimes what starts out as a Consultancy session will veer into "can you show me exactly how to do that?" and will then turn into a practical session!

The cost is the same as for tuition, as there is a fair degree of crossover between the two, and the same conditions apply: in and around the Wantage area, for individuals or small groups, and the rate is £90 for a 3-hour afternoon, £60 for a 2-hour evening session.

Contact me by E-mail at Tuition@rachel-the-gardener.co.uk. Tell me what sort of things you would like covered, whether it’s just you, or a small group, and if you would prefer an afternoon or an evening session. I will get back to you with a suggested date.


Talks:

I am available to give talks locally, to any group interested in any aspect of gardening.

Talks include such subjects as garden design and how to apply it to your own garden: compost - of course - and leaf mould making: wildlife gardening; Wildflower meadows, nectar bars and attracting birds into your garden; Latin names and how to make them your friends; Garden archaeology (bring along your hardcore!); Climate change and how it affects gardeners; The Scythe: how an ancient implement fits in to the modern world, along with a demonstration - if you have some suitable long grass!

Talking of which, I love to do practical demonstrations: topiary clipping, propagation, willow work: these require suitable areas to work in, of course, and are more workshops than talks.

In addition I have been asked to talk to new business starters, and I have mentored several people into gardening.

For talks, I bring my own projector but would need the use of a screen: I also bring along a selection of plants and garden items for sale, subject to the time of year.

Most groups book their talks well in advance - I already have bookings for two years hence! - but if you get a cancellation at short notice, I may be able to step into the gap for you.

I am based in Wantage, and am happy to travel around the local villages including East and West Hanney, the Hendreds, Letcombe Regis and Letcombe Bassett, Uffington, the Challows, Childrey etc.

Contact me by E-mail at Tuition@rachel-the-gardener.co.uk. Tell me what sort of things you would like covered, whether it’s just you, or a small group, and if you would prefer an afternoon or an evening session. I will get back to you with a suggested date.