The 'Early Autumn' session is in September and the first of our year long course.
There is a real 'back to school' vibe this month and to my mind, the beginning of the horticultural year proper. It makes sense to start the course in September to me. Our new intake come to the plots at their finest, when the beds are full to bursting of flowers and ebullient growth bubbling over the netting, meeting and rubbing shoulders with plants across the paths. It's inspiring, exciting and joyful. Over the next few months, through to late march, the gardens are retreating back to the soil, it is much easier to work towards the flower season proper (late March through to the frosts) if you have an experience to think back to.
The course kicks off with immersing ourselves in the fullness of the flower season, considering what preparations to make before the frosts and for the following flowering season.
The only practical tasks that are prepared well before the course, are planting out biennials (sown in June) and transplanting annuals (sown in Aug or early Sept) but the rest is carried out now.
Attendees carry out each and every task themselves with plants and seedlings taken home to plant out in their spaces.
In this session we -
Soak and pre sprout ranunculus and anemones
Sow hardy annuals
Transplant hardy annual seedlings
Plant out annuals and biennials
Cut and condition flowers
The day always begins with coffee and cake on arrival with a short tour of the plots followed by practicals. The session is jam packed and fast paced and finishes with lunch with a relaxed review of the day, discussing our own spaces and growing experiences. Questions are asked all the way through.
At the end of the day, attendees take away their seedlings, plants or anything else worked on together with a printed handbook that accompanies the session. This has all the practical instructions together with colour pictures of plants or tasks in different stages as a handy reference guide for this and every year.
We also share a WhatsApp group where we regularly check in and share progress with photos and videos and answer questions.