Our lecturers and tutors have trained many of today’s leading garden designers, horticulturists, plantsmen and botanical painters. Our distance learning course students span over 20 different countries, and our central London based attracts diploma and short course students from all over the world
Rosemary Alexander VMM, FSGD, AI Hort – Principal and Joint Course Director One Year Garden Design Diploma
School founder and the leading authority on all the courses at the School. Rosemary is well known internationally as a lecturer and show judge, including the Chelsea Flower Show. In 2011, the RHS awarded her the coveted Veitch Memorial Medal in recognition of her work teaching ‘the art and craft of garden design’. Her many books are now translated into seven languages and she regularly visits Russia where the School has a satellite branch in Moscow. Featured in many magazines, her own garden is open for private visits and for three weekends per year under the NGS scheme. An avid plant collector, Rosemary is also on the Great Dixter Development Committee. At the School, Rosemary lectures and teaches in studio regularly throughout the academic year.
‘My purpose in setting up the English Gardening School in 1983 was to provide the best possible education in Garden Design and other associated subjects. Most of our lecturers and tutors are at the top of their profession, and we use both contemporary and traditional methods to keep us at the cutting edge of this diverse industry. The School’s international reputation is built on the quality of teaching and our back up and aftercare service.’
Dip EGS - Vice Principal and Joint Course Director One Year Garden Design
Simon is responsible for the smooth running of all the One Year courses, teaches regularly on the One Year Garden Design Course and on design and planting short courses. He also oversees the Distance Learning programmes. An ex-hotelier, then graduate of the EGS Garden Design Diploma Course (1992), Simon now runs his own design consultancy in Bedfordshire.
‘Our aim is to give students a thorough understanding of design and planting, whilst developing their own individual style. I want our students to have the ability and confidence to lead the way in the garden design industry.’
BA (Hons) PGCert Ed, Dip EGS, FLS – Course Director One Year Botanical Painting
Helen trained originally as a textile designer. Following teacher training she taught in primary schools in London and Scotland. A love of plants and painting brought her eventually to study at The English Gardening School. Since graduating Helen has taught and exhibited her paintings in London and internationally.
‘This is the course for those who wish to pursue this serious art form. I want our students to experience the excitement of looking into plants in detail to see and understand their characteristics and to acquire the drawing and painting skills necessary to preserve their beauty on paper with confidence’.
Course Director One Year Plants and Plantsmanship
Matthew studied horticulture at Pershore College of Horticulture and at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He has directed and presented gardening programmes on Channel 4, has written several books and is a regular contributor to gardening magazines, including ‘Gardens Illustrated’ and the RHS magazine ‘The Garden’. Matthew lectures and travels extensively, leading plant tours worldwide and is also a panellist on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Gardener’s Question Time’.
‘My aim is that students on the Plants and Plantsmanship course should be inspired by our lectures, visiting some of Britain’s finest private gardens with expert guides and horticulturists, thus developing a lifelong understanding and passion for plants’.
Course Director One Year Practical Horticulture
Gardening columnist with The Mail on Sunday, Saga Magazine and Grow It. Contributor to many newspapers and magazines, author of nine books, including RHS How to Grow Plants in Pots, Big Gardens in Small Spaces and Gardening with Kids. Formerly staff member at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, Gardenlife, Amateur Gardening and Horticulture Week, Martyn also lectures on Plants & Plantsmanship diploma courses.
Head Gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden. Award-winning garden designer with gardens commissioned in the UK, South Africa, Australia and Spain. Freelance garden journalist contributing to RHS The Garden, BB Gardeners’ World and Amateur Gardening Magazine. Nick lectures regularly on Garden Design and Practical Horticulture diploma courses.
Sarah has spent most of her career as a practical gardener, retiring in 2004 after fourteen years as Head Gardener for the National Trust at Sissinghurst Castle. She and her husband Jim have created a garden in Suffolk where she is able to pursue her gardening interests which include growing vegetables, collecting the tall bearded irises bred by Suffolk artist the late Sir Cedric Morris and helping Jim grow and show his collection of Malmaison Carnations. She also works as a garden consultant and serves on the Royal Horticultural Society’s Herbaceous Committee. Sarah lectures on our Practical Horticulture diploma course.
Head Gardener in a private family garden on the Kent / Sussex border. The garden includes extensive Mixed Plantings, Woodlands, Meadows, Vegetables and Cut Flowers. Previous experience designing and building gardens across the UK and Europe after an informal but hugely informative apprenticeship at Great Dixter and Washfield Nursery, under the tutelage of Christopher Lloyd and Elizabeth Strangman. Ed lectures on Plants & Plantsmanship and Garden Design.
An experienced Landscape Contractor and Garden Designer in the Cotswolds, Stuart has designed and coordinated the construction of 3 RHS Chelsea Show gardens, winning one Gold Medal. In 2011 he won RHS Gold Medal and Best of Show at Malvern Spring Gardening Show and BALI Principal Prize for the restoration of a period garden. Working in both fields allows Stuart to explain the principles of Garden Construction to aspiring designers. Stuart lectures regularly on the Garden Design diploma course.
An assistant Botanist at Kew Gardens, roles include taxonomic research and publication on the Araceae (Arum) family, herbarium curation and web-taxonomy. Anna lectures on botany for the Botanical Painting diploma students.
Roy Lancaster OBE, VMH, FLS
Plantsman and Plant Explorer. Regular contributor to RHS The Garden and other magazines. Previously Curator of the Hillier Arboretum in Hampshire, now freelance writer, lecturer and tour leader, sharing a garden in Hampshire with up to 1000 plants. Roy leads visits to special gardens and lectures on our Plants & Plantsmanship diploma course.
Angeline de Meester
Internationally exhibiting botanic artist and award winner, including RHS Medals and Gold in London 2007, Fellow of the Linnean Society and The Hampton Court Palace Florilegium and member of the SBA. Her work is included in both public and private collections including the RHS Lindley Library, the Dr Shirley Sherwood Collection and The Hunt Institute. Angeline teaches our Botanical Painting diploma students throughout the year.
Rachel Myers is a garden designer based in Oxfordshire, her practice specialising in small garden design. She has designed gardens in France, Belgium and Colombia. Her work has been featured in numerous books and magazines, including The Essential Garden Design Workbook by Rosemary Alexander, The Book of Garden Plans, and The Book of Small Garden Plans by Andrew Wilson, and Gardens Illustrated. Rachel lectures on both Garden Design and Practical Horticulture diploma courses as well as overseeing and grading all plant portfolios.
Lucy T Smith
Professional botanical artist specialising in scientific illustration and painted botanical portraits. Lucy has been illustrating for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for the past 12 years for projects including the Palms of New Guinea and Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. In 2001 she re-created the role of 18th-century botanical artist Sydney Parkinson on the Endeavour replica, for a BBC documentary about Cook’s voyage of discovery to Australia. She has won gold medals at the RHS botanical art shows, the Margaret Flockton Award, and the Linnean Society’s Jill Smythies Award. Lucy teaches on the Botanical Painting diploma course.
Jonnie has been practising as a garden and landscape designer since 1996. After completing a humanities degree at Kings College, University of London, he went on to study horticulture and garden design, as well as Landscape Architecture. He is Director and Project Manager of Landmark Gardens Ltd, building gardens for some of the most reputable designers in the industry. He now creates private and public gardens in the UK and abroad and teaches on the Garden Design diploma course.
Derry Watkins started Special Plants, a specialist nursery near Bath, twenty-five years ago. In 1993 she won a Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship to spend three months in South Africa looking for new plants to introduce into horticulture. In 1995 she went back, seed collecting in the Drakensberg. In 1996 she and her architect husband bought a derelict barn to convert into a house, and they have converted the fields into a garden (open for NGS and by appointment for groups). In 1999 she won a silver medal for her black and white exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show. She writes occasionally for Gardens Illustrated and is author of The Complete Greenhouse Book and Sunspaces. Derry teaches on the Practical Horticulture diploma course
Cath Hayward has been a professional horticulturist for over 30 years with a variety of experience in many aspects of the industry, including 10 years as a senior lecturer in horticulture and landscape management at Writtle College. Her wealth of knowledge and infectious enthusiasm for practical gardening work during the course gives students confidence to understand and maintain their own gardens. Currently she runs her own consultancy business.
Dr Tim Upson