The Farmer’s Arms Gardening School 2024
Dates: 13 January 2024 to 14 December 2024
Time: 10:00 am - 3:30 pm
£540 per person/householdBook Here
If you would prefer to pay by cheque or cash, please contact us and we will make arrangements for you as needed.
We offer up to three subsidised places for people on low incomes, who are unemployed or have other accessibility needs at 50% concession – contact Karen Guthrie (email@example.com) by Monday Dec. 11 to apply for these.
Pre-booking is essential – 12 places (1 place can be shared in a household)
£540 for full course (i.e £45 per session) which is 12 sessions on the second Saturday of every month.
The Farmer’s Arms, Lowick Green – LA12 8DT
Need to get on top of your garden, but not sure where to start?
Our popular annual gardening school is here to equip you with all the fundamental know-how!
After three years of sell-out success, we’re thrilled to open enrolment for the 2024 Farmer’s Arms Gardening School led again by Karen Guthrie, artist and Head Gardener at Lawson Park. Guiding you step by step through seasonal tasks in a real-life garden, the School’s programme is devised to give you the confidence to tackle your own growing space – however small – with creativity and skill.
“The phrase ‘every day is a school day’ applies to gardening more than any other topic or activity I know!” — A 2023 Gardening School Student
Monthly Saturday sessions across the year will teach you to plan and grow a garden that offers plentiful food, flowers and fun. Winter sessions offer illustrated talks and workshops in botanical studies, drawing & design, planning & seed ordering and even making your own garden container in our pottery workshop. Course tutor Karen Guthrie shares tried and tested ways to grow fruit, vegetables, trees and flowers that thrive in our local climate and conditions. We’ll design, plant and maintain beautiful, wildlife friendly borders and vegetable beds, producing fresh produce and flowers for The Farmer’s Arms kitchens, with plenty to nibble on as we work too! You’ll also learn about harvesting and pruning fruit, how to propagate all kinds of plants, and how to cope with common problems from weeds to slugs to gluts. We will make our own compost and natural plant feeds, and learn how to choose, use and maintain tools.
The sessions will give you the confidence to plan and tackle your own garden projects big and small, as we focus on seasonal activities and environmentally-aware, real-world solutions to the challenges we face in our unpredictable local climate.
You’ll learn in a small, mixed ability group of a maximum of 12, and there will be chances in every session to get answers to your gardening questions. Each session includes a lunch break and ends with a hot drink and some home-baking.
Thinking of gifting a place on our courses for someone special this Christmas? Our new Gift Certificates are now available to purchase!
Plan Your Growing / Seed Selecting & Ordering / If I Could Turn Back Time (aka What I Wish I’d Done Differently in the Garden) – illustrated talk by Karen Guthrie / Make a Garden Pot
Winter Flower Arranging Ikebana style / Garden Design using Easy 3D Craft Skills / Bare Root Planting
Preparing No-Dig Veg Beds / Early Indoor Sowing / Signs of Life / Choose Your Battles
Hardworking Herbaceous Plants / Sowing & Planting Veg
Watering How & When / Container Gardening / Annuals vs Perennials
Low-Maintenance Tricks / Pests & Disease Prevention / Compost Know-How
Biodiversity in the Garden / Late Summer Sowing / Holiday-Proof Your Garden
Harvesting & Picking Know-how / Keep the Colour Coming / Pests & Diseases / Action for Winter Veg
Preserving Your Edibles / Reviewing & Rearranging / Autumnal Colour
Harvesting & Storage / Getting Ahead for Next Year / Bulb Planting
Fruit Pruning / Prepping Next Season / Winter-proof your Garden
Review Your Growing Successes & Failures / Make Natural Festive Decorations / End of Year Quiz
Booking & Practical Information for Students
Dates are Jan 13, Feb 10, March 9, April 13, May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug 10, Sept 14, Oct 12, Nov 9, December 14, 2024 (second Saturday in every month) at 10.00 – 15.30 with a lunch break 12.45 – 13.30
Fees include tuition, refreshments, tools & materials, parking & W.C facilities. Please bring a drinking water bottle and your own gloves and hand tools (e.g trowel, secateurs, hand fork). As we’ll be outdoors all day, please wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Students must be 16 years old +. No dogs allowed.
If you have accessibility needs or concerns, please contact us in confidence to discuss how we can make the school work for you.
Fees support The Farmer’s Arms’ ongoing redevelopment and public programmes.
*Missed sessions are non-refundable.
About the Course Tutor:
The course is devised and taught by Karen Guthrie, who has led the transformation of nearby Lawson Park from fellside to a productive and beautiful garden of over 4 acres over the last two decades. An experienced teacher and an advocate of chemical-free, sustainable gardening, Karen’s philosophy is to promote ‘ambitious gardening for busy people’. She is especially keen on fruit growing, old roses, and the beautiful Lake District moss.
Karen began gardening when growing up in coastal Ayrshire, winning prizes at the local flower show and redesigning and replanting the garden at her family home as a teenager. Karen is a committed plant-based cook and fermentation enthusiast as well as an artist and film-maker. She co-designed the award-winning Abbey Gardens in East London and has advised the Whitworth Museum (Manchester) and Squash (Liverpool) on their community gardens. She has also made gardens in Scotland, France and Japan.
Earliest garden memory? “Pushing an apple pip into the ground in the garden of my family home when I was about 6. The resulting tree was still there twenty odd years later, and hopefully still is.”
Favourite garden job? “Pruning apple trees on a still, clear Sunday in February. I love studying the buds that will become the summer’s apples, thinking about the season to come, and listening to the distant re-awakening of nature around me.”
Proudest gardening achievement? “It’s not really gardening, but I did win a Blue Peter badge in the 1980’s in a competition to design a theme park. But more seriously, it’d probably be getting things I’ve grown from seed to maturity. I’m proud of every vegetable grown, but at Lawson Park I have 4 metre high trees I’ve grown from seed and a rare peony I sowed in 2008 that flowered for the first time last year.”