There are various ways to achieve a horticultural qualification - often for less than the cost of a good lawnmower. Whatever aspect of horticulture you are involved in, there will be relevant courses and qualifications available. Gardening courses can range from 6 months to a few years depending on the level of expertise you require. More information about gardening qualifications can be found below.
Members must prove that they have at least one horticultural qualification at Level 2 or above before being accepted as a member.
We encourage gardeners to seek formal training for their personal and professional development. Many of our members have more than one qualification. Courses and qualifications evolve over time and are subject to review i.e course content, relevance, popularity and workforce trends etc.
Learning is very rewarding. Your customers will appreciate the time, money and effort you have spent to gain your skills and qualifications.
Gardens add value to a house. Your customers will enjoy learning more about their garden while you work and when you advise them about how to develop their garden.
Gardening qualifications help you win work. Plants are both a financial investment and an investment in time. Your customers want a gardener who will properly care for plants that were expensive to buy and took a long time to grow.
Qualifications will give your customer confidence in your dedication to your trade and reliability. To achieve your qualification you have received training, an assessment and had your identification checked.
Having a gardening qualification can also make you more efficient. Being able to properly identify plants, know when they flower, when they need pruning etc helps you to manage your time effectively and identify future work.
LANTRA and City and Guilds/NPTC qualifications often include licenses for use of horticultural equipment. If, for example, you plan to use pesticides or a chainsaw then you will need to contact them to enquire about local courses. Licenses are a legal requirement in some instances and indicate that you take safety and the environment seriously. It is not unusual for members to have horticultural qualifications and a number of practical licenses as well. Please note that licenses of this kind alone are not sufficient for membership of The Gardeners Guild.
Your local horticultural colleges are a valuable resource. Some colleges
have a stronger focus on horticulture than other colleges. Attending a
college that is focused on horticulture adds prestige to your training.
Horticultural colleges are also a valuable resource that is often under appreciated once a course is completed. Some colleges will provide soil testing facilities. They will also hold useful events and help you make useful contacts.
Courses often include trips to work at interesting gardens - a useful addition to your professional profile.
Higher horticultural education often involves multiple courses and licenses that colleges are well suited to provide.
RHS courses are by far the most popular qualifications among our members. Different modules specialise in different horticultural topics and can be combined to achieve higher level qualifications. The RHS is receptive to feedback and continually develop their courses.
RHS courses are well respected. A popular course among TGG members is the RHS Level 2 Certificate in Practical Horticulture.
RHS courses can be completed at local colleges or via correspondence. We recommend attending a college to help you gain practical experience.
The Women's Farm and Garden Association is open to men and women who want to retrain as a gardener. Although their courses are not yet accredited the work placements are respected and give training and practical experience in a managed garden.
Please note that not all gardening qualifications are acceptable for membership of The Gardeners Guild. Please check our membership page for more information.
Professional Gardeners Trust
If you can't afford the training you need to grow your skills and horticultural knowledge, the Professional Gardeners Trust can help.
Please visit our website for more information pgtrust.org.
Starting a Gardening Business
Plants are important. If there were no plants then there would be no life. Make gardening your career. Read our short guide: