Planting design skills demand rises

Increasing demand for planting design skills is coming from landscape architects and head gardeners, according to Andrew Fisher-Tomlin, who lectures at the London School of Garden Design.

The part-time course permits professionals to work while they study - image: Capel Manor
The part-time course permits professionals to work while they study - image: Capel Manor

The school has created its new Planting Design Certificate in response to demand from three areas: landscape architects who want more planting knowledge, head gardeners seeking a better understanding of design, and landscape maintenance companies.

The course will run part-time over six months so professionals can keep working while they study. Fisher-Tomlin said demand for the course was unprecedented. "Phenomenal" interest has come from landscape architects in Europe, which he attributes to there being nothing else like it on offer.

He expects filling a classroom with horticulture professionals will lead to cross-pollination of ideas.

"Having that diversity of backgrounds on our courses makes for really exciting and enjoyable discussions."

At Capel Manor College - which is launching a Garden Design Foundation Degree – vice principal Malcolm Goodwin agreed that more plant knowledge amongst landscape architects and other garden designers would be welcome.

"This is often our ‘shop-front’ and helps promote everything that is good about horticulture, often in very large and high profile installations. So the better these highly visible designs are the better it is."

But he is also a strong believer in partnerships, adding: "I see no good reasons why landscape architects, garden and planting designers and horticulturalists shouldn’t continue to freely collaborate."

Goodwin added plant knowledge is already central to Capel Manor’s garden design courses. Graduates occupy a middle ground between landscape architects and horticulturists, and can compete for both gardening and design jobs, he said.

The new course, created in partnership with the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester, will add value for students facing burgeoning costs with government funding for adult learners cut by 28 per cent last year (HW, 21 August). A higher education qualification is seen as an investment that will help graduates compete in London and internationally.

Selling points - Capel Manor College degree

Capel Manor College’s Foundation Degree in Garden Design and Plantsmanship:
• For students who want a higher education qualification
• Two years fulltime, starts September 2015
London School of Garden
Design’s Planting Design
•Aimed at working professionals
•Starts January 2016 and costs £5,995

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