Sustainable Wildlife Gardening - autumn

Ref: C3676444

This course explores the garden ecosystem and how we can take inspiration from nature and apply it to our own gardens. We will look at different plant forms, and how they can be combined to provide both food and shelter for wildlife, and flower types, as seen from an insects point of view. Central themes include: 'right plant, right place' and providing 'year-round flowering' for pollinators. Other skills you will learn are: surveying the on-site garden and drawing scaled plans; natural pest control; and managing soil for biodiversity. This will be delivered alongside practical gardening sessions covering: plant identification, making a wildlife pond and planting trees. All with no chemicals and by using resources wisely. The course provides a basic foundation in both practical gardening skills and plant theory, preparing students for progression opportunities including the WEA course 'Gardening for Pleasure' or college courses in Horticulture and Landscape Maintenance.

Course aim

Want to attract more wildlife into your garden? Whether a novice or a keen gardener, this course will show you how to combine sustainable design principles with plant knowledge to create biodiverse habitats that support a variety of wildlife.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Understanding the role gardening plays within a broader ecological and social context. Students will learn how to take inspiration from nature to create varied and sustainable habitats that not only support a broad range of wildlife but also promote health & wellbeing through outdoor activity.
  • Developing students' critical capabilities so that they can think about plants in a functional way, through working with a 'planting palette' that can be applied in most garden settings. Plant knowledge will be tested through a combination of hands-on work with a range of plants and regular photo-quiz style assessments.
  • Gaining practical skills including: tree planting and aftercare; pond creation; making homemade compost and building bug habitat. All of which will be supported by theoretical learning that will be regularly assessed through quizzes.
  • Acquiring survey skills that are the foundation for growing plants successfully. Students will learn how to work with plants that are appropriate to both the site conditions and the garden users.
  • Learning how to draw a simple garden plan to scale and how to measure planting areas to calculate plant quantities. Using planting tables (spreadsheets) to design a 'year-round flowering' scheme.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • A file of work will be kept which will help to record your progress

What else do I need to know?

  • You will also need access to the internet outside of your sessions. You could do this using a smart phone, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer (at home or through a library etc.).
  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • After the introductory session is complete, please assume that we will be working in the garden and wear suitable footwear. We will be working outside, often for 2 - 3 hours at a time, so please wear warm and waterproof clothes.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Sustainable Wildlife Gardening - autumn


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

Not sure or have further questions? Contact

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