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RHS level 2 combined practical & theory

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  • Hi Steve1986 I'm wondering what your decision was and how you're getting on? I did the practical last year - full days at college for 5 months, which was a good grounding. I'm currently trying to cram in theory learning myself in prep for Feb exams.... arghhhh!!!! I think i'd have been better off enrolling at college to do it! 4 exams in one go feels rather a mountain right now... 4 and a half weeks to go!
  • steve1986steve1986 SomersetPosts: 9
    Forgotten that I had started this post and thought I'd provide an update on where I am at, which might someone else might find usual.

    I started the Practical certificate at Oxford Abingdon & Whitney College on Saturday mornings. It runs from September to June with a Break from Christmas to the beginning of March. There are 10 plants that we need to learn each week, which we are then tested on the following week. The practical exercises I have found extremely enjoyable and they link in quite well to some of the theory principles. The good thing is that there are no exams at the end and you are assessed as you go along.

    I also started both of the theory certificates in September and enrolled at Bristol Botanic Gardens. The course is split in to 2 halves throughout the year.

    September to February certificate on the principles of garden planning, establishment and maintenance. 

    February to June certificate on the principles of plant growth, propagation and development.

    There are 4 exams after each certificate. To answer my own original question - is this too much as a novice? I would say no. The practical certificate is a nice pace and apart from the 10 plants is not too taxing. I found that doing the practical alongside the theory, that the practical doesn't really impact or divert time away from studying for the theory certificates.

    The theory certificate is quite intense with the sheer amount of the edible and ornamental plant names and details you need to know, along with other plant care and design information you need to learn. 

    Felt that I have learnt a great amount in a short time and very pleased that I enrolled on the courses.

    Steve
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 3,759
    edited 12 February
    @steve1986

    Congratulations to you, and it's good that you got back on this … I had just read the start of the thread and got wondering as to how you dealt with it..

    I'd like to ask you a question if that's ok... I wont' be doing any courses but I'd be interested to know, just out of curiosity, how in depth they go regarding an individual plant... you said you had to learn about 10 plants... are you able to tell us as an example, perhaps one plant, just how much you are expected to know about it..?..

    ...thanks... but no bother if you'd rather not go into details....
  • steve1986steve1986 SomersetPosts: 9
    Hi Marlorena,

    For the Practical, learning 10 plants a week is simply learning the Latin name. The next week the plants are displayed without their labels and you will just need to identify it and write its name. 

    For the theory the syllabus states that you should know name, decorative merits, heights & spreads, site requirements and suitable use. In reality all of the past papers that I looked at they rarely asked any more then names and decorative merits. There is quite a lot as you need to know these details for x10 hardy annuals, x10 half hardy annuals, x5 biennials, x10 hardy perennials, x10 deciduous shrubs, x10 evergreen shrubs, x10 deciduous trees, x10 evergreen trees, x10 bulbs, x10 alpines. This is on top of learning things such as x5 shrubs for winter interest, x5 shrubs for autumn interest, how to grow x12 different vegetables - including sowing depths and spaces, watering, feeding, harvesting, thinning, harvesting times and how to store. If you look at the syllabus on the RHS website you will see the extent of what is expected to be learnt. It looks extremely scary at first glance but things do cross over. 

    The 4 modules I have completed are r2111, r2112, r2113 & r2114

    https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/pdf/qualifications/Level-2/q-qao-qualification-specification-level-2-principl.pdf
  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 3,759
    @steve1986

    Steve.  thanks so much, that's really interesting, I enjoyed that... I think if I was many years younger, I should have liked to do something like this but life gets in the way too often... it's great to be horticulturally trained... the course R2102 Plant Nutrition and Root Environment would be good to do I think... in fact, I feel it would be essential before you can know the others... if you see what I mean...

    The plants are fun to know... I could probably manage some of those... but not the vegetables... lost there I'm afraid.. 

    Thanks again... and very best of luck with your future endeavours... 
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,688
    Great to hear that it's been going so well, @steve1986 :smiley: I'm assuming you've been doing the exams this week, so I hope they went well and the RHS didn't throw in any curveballs! I think you did the certificates the opposite way round to me (I started with botany, soil science, pests & diseases etc) - I hope you enjoy the next lot as much. I think you will. Good luck with everything :smile:
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • steve1986steve1986 SomersetPosts: 9
    @LG_ Yes, did my exams on Tuesday. Not too many curveballs and feel optimistic. We were talking as to whether it would have been better to do the certificates the other way round? Really looking forward to the next lot of lessons. As everything is all so new as I go along I find it extremely interesting. Thank you for your advise back in the Summer. 
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,688
    I would say that it's better to do it 'my' way round, because it worked for me! I liked having all the botany and soil science stuff as background to the more applied stuff.  But I imagine it doesn't matter too much - I expect most who do it the other way round would be able to argue the case for that too ;). I think doing the practical alongside them, over the full year, sounds like a brilliant strategy and one I wish I'd had the opportunity to do. One thing I'm sure of is that if you found this lot interesting, the next lot will blow your mind (in a good way) :).
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • FireFire LondonPosts: 6,726
    @LG_  Are you working in the field?
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 2,688
    Fire said:
    @LG_  Are you working in the field?
    Nah, I'm sitting at the computer ;)
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
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