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RHS Level 2 in the Principles of Horticulture

RHS-QUALIFICATIONS-MARK-RGBv1The RHS Level 2 in the Principles of Horticulture is studied both by interested gardeners who just wish to learn more and those wanting a route to employment in professional horticulture or further development.


Key Facts

  • A nationally recognised qualification
  • Ideal for leisure gardeners who wish to learn more, potential career changers and those working in the Horticulture industry who want to gain more knowledge.
  • Covers a range of wide range of horticultural topics and up-to-date working practices
  • It also provides a foundation for further learning or training in the field of horticulture.
  • An 18 month, part time course. You may attend either on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon (1-3.30pm)
  • No formal entry requirements
  • Examinations and therefore gaining the formal qualification is not a compulsory requirement


Course Overview

The course is taught through lectures, demonstrations and a range of practical activities both in the classroom and in the gardens. In addition there will be regular short homework tasks. 

Please come dressed in suitable clothing for the weather (i.e. waterproof jackets, and wear suitable shoes) as some of the sessions will be out in the gardens. Also bring pen and paper.

The Certificate is comprised of a rolling programme of eight units which last 6 weeks (with breaks for school holidays). The module dates for the 2017/18 academic year are:

Start Unit
Nov 2017 Choice, Establishment and Maintenance of Garden Plants and Lawns
Jan 2018 Garden features, selection & planning
Mar 2018 Production of Outdoor Fruit and Vegetables
May 2018 Protected Environments and their Use in Plant Cultivation
Sept 2018 Plant Classification, Structure and Function
Nov 2018 Understanding Plant Propagation
Jan 2019 Maintaining Plant Health
Feb 2019 Plant nutrition and the root environment

You may begin at the start of any unitsubject to places being available and study them in any order. 

Who is it suitable for?

18+. There are no formal entry requirements; although the course is aimed at those with some gardening experience or those who have completed Learn to Garden or other level 1 gardening courses.

How you will be assessed

To gain the RHS Level 2 Certificate, each unit is assessed by a written examination. These are held in February and June of each year at Ness. The examinations are  set and marked by the RHS. 
You may take as many exams as you wish in a session.

Examination dates for 2018 are available here.

As taking the exams is not a compulsory requirement, these are not included in the stated course fees below.  Exam fees currently stand at £16 per module.  Your tutor will enter you for exams when you require.

External candidates are welcome.  Please contact our Examinations Officer e. Andy Lambie e.


What does it cost?

You may pay for each unit separately.  A 6 week module costs £65 (£60 Friends of Ness Gardens)  Or pay for the entire course, the full cost is £520 (£480 Friends of Ness Gardens).

This course is eligible for funding by the Professional Gardeners Trust if you are working gardener - to find out more please visit their website (open an external link)


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