wheelbarrow, clay pots, bundle of sticks, garden sundries

So What Might a Plews Gardening Lesson Be Like?

The phone rings and the question is asked “So what is it like to have a Plews Gardening Lesson?”

We offer individual, bespoke gardening lessons in your own garden, so by definition, the experience will be for different for each person, or student.

However, whilst to some degree the garden lessons will be different, there are some elements which most students will be likely to experience within each of the different gardening courses and stand-alone gardening lessons. So I thought it might be helpful to share a few of the things we do – to de-mystify and explain a bit more.

The whole point of teaching you in your garden is to make it individual to you and your needs. So we have a basic outline and then personalise it, based on your replies to a short questionnaire plus conversation by email and phone. This makes every Plews Gardening Lesson bespoke to you.


Plews Gardening Lesson – Basic Gardening Skills

On the basic gardening course we really do get down to basics, checking out your garden tools, whether they’re right for you and for the tasks you need to carry out in your garden. We look at the correct way to use hand tools; for example, digging techniques so you don’t hurt your back.


We have fun too, especially on courses of over three lessons, when there’s more opportunity to go into detail on the aspects of gardening that interest and excite you, the student.

This is an experiment I’ve used with my gardening students and which may entertain your children too. The beauty is that you’ll see some response showing by the end of the day, although you will need to wait a day or two for the full results.

When we’re discussing how plants take up water and nutrients and are bandying around words like xylem and phloem and cambium layers it’s often easier to physically show how plants ‘drink’ water. Which is what this experiment does, by illustrating how plants’ internal transport systems work (particularly the xylem) by transferring water to every part of the plant, including flowers.

You can do this with a rooted plant, but the result is quicker and easier with a cut stem.

blossom showing how xylem works, gardening lesson, plews gardening lessons, plant transport system
Take a spray of white blossom or white flowers for the best transformation. Put it in a vase of water that has blue food colouring added. Other colours, red and so on work too; I just happen to use blue.

Then you wait.

What you’ll get is blue tinged blossom.

No wonder we both end up smiling; gardening is awesome!


Plews Gardening Lesson – Edible Gardens and Intermediate Gardening

On the intermediate and grow your own gardening courses we look at things such as seed viability. Only viable seeds will germinate. Germination is the process by which a seed stops being in its dormant state and starts to produce first a root and then a shoot.

You know when you find a half used packet of seeds at the back of the cupboard? You wonder whether it’s worth sowing them? This could be your answer!


untidy seed packets, seed shopping

In a Plews gardening lesson we spend some time in understanding seeds and dormancy, but then we get to play! This involves kitchen towel. Like to know more? Have a look at our blog Seeds and Seed Sowing in your Garden where I have outlined the technique. It doesn’t work for all seeds – as we learn in the lesson – but it will work for most vegetable seeds.

Pruning is a common winter time gardening lesson, but a topic that is relevant year round. Roses, Clematis, fruit trees, flowering shrubs all need to be pruned in different ways at various times of the year. Which is why we always get out the secateurs and loppers at some point during a gardening course.

Photographs and note taking are also intrinsic to establishing a good gardening practise. Keeping a record enables you to remember where you planted bulbs and which herbaceous perennials have died off over winter.

in the greenhouse

Plews Gardening Lesson – Extras

Gardening Lessons can be a single two-hour lesson, this is often the gift voucher option.
More common are the gardening courses of 3 – 6 lessons or a single half-day session.

The choice depends on which topic is wanted, the size of your garden, how much theory you would like to learn and how much is practical, hands on teaching.

Students receive various handouts as part of their Student pack and then more are added to a shared Dropbox folder during the course. There are helpful blogs to be read in Plews Potting Shed and some videos to be found on Plews YouTube channel.

Support between each Plews gardening lesson is mainly by email and text as it suits most people to ask questions in the evening after work or at the weekend, when they’ve got out into the garden to practise what they’ve learnt.

sweet pea, dark purple flower, scented, growing through trellis

Plews Gardening Lesson – What do You do Next?

And of course, because we’re looking at making your garden a more fun place for you to be by extending your gardening knowledge I take a holistic view. So we digress into ideas for colourful plants to liven up your summer borders; whether it’s worth growing Brussels sprouts if no-one will eat them (probably not, even if someone gives you plants for free) and the relative values of different types of soil improver and slug control.

The following links have some more information; and if you’d like to discuss your own Plews gardening lesson, then do get in touch.

The Year in Your Garden Gardening Course
Practical Gardening Lessons for Beginners
The Edible Garden – How to Grow Your Own
Practical Gardening Course – Intermediate


And you may like to make use of our blog resources in Plews Potting Shed for ‘How to’ blogs; gardening tips; garden design inspiration; garden visits and more. There are a few suggestions below:-

Related Gardening articles you may enjoy from our Award Winning Blog

Seeds and seed sowing
When to Prune Roses
Garden Planning – Your New Year’s Resolution for Your Garden
Six New Year’s Resolutions for Your Garden

And of course there is also Plews YouTube channel with ‘How to’ videos and gardening inspiration.