Botany for Gardeners
Thursday 26th July 2018, 9.30am-4pm

Is a potato a root? How do fruits form? What exactly is photosynthesis? If you are interested in answering these questions, then this day course could be for you. It offers complete beginners a relaxed introduction to the world of botany.

We start by looking at the basic plant parts (roots, stems and leaves) and their functions, and develop an understanding of the ways in which these can vary through modifications.  We consider the history of our climate and soil types, and how this and climate predictions may impact on plant choices and gardening styles. Then you will have the opportunity to dissect a flower, enabling you to recognise and learn about each of the floral parts. We will cover the process of pollination, and see how choice of flower shape and colour influences the types of pollinators you attract to your garden.

In a short visit into the Garden / Glasshouses you will be encouraged to think about environments, and how plants are specialised to grow where they do. After lunch there will be an introduction to the anatomy of a range of seeds and fruits, with plenty of opportunity to a look at examples of each. The physiology of seed germination will be described, and the rest of the day will then be spent looking at how flowers from different plant families vary. You will have the opportunity to look at a good range of flowers in some detail, using low magnification dissecting microscopes.

This should be an informative, lively and informal course, with the opportunity for questions and discussions and plenty of practical activity throughout.

Lunch, materials and refreshments will be included.


Some feedback from our 2016 and 2017 courses by Karen Van Oostrum

"Excellent, good balance of explanation with hands-on observation"

"Exceeded expectations, truly excellent, wonderful presentation, would highly recommend"

"As far as I am aware courses on botany, as opposed to horticulture are rate and very welcome.  This was exactly what I was hoping for as an introduction to the subject"

"Instructor is wonderful, extremely knowledgeable & lucid"


About the tutor
Karen Van Oostrum has a love of plants and the environment, which is underpinned by a solid understanding of plant adaptability, physiology and genetics.
She aspires to share my passion for plants with others, and find this immensely rewarding and fulfilling work. Her experience is extensive and includes working with people of all ages - from pre-school children to the University of the Third Age, of all abilities, and from a broad cross-section of society.
Karen's work as Head of Education at Cambridge University Botanic Garden was incredibly diverse, and included writing and delivering botany courses for adult education classes and more.

Karen van Oostrum


Timetable for the day

9.30 – 10.00am Arrival and hot drinks in the cafe
10:00 – 11:10am Leaves, stems and roots
11:10 – 11:30am Gardening in the British Isles (climate, flora, habitat and soils)
11:30 – 11:45am Coffee
11:45 – 12:30pm Flowers, pollination and fertilisation
12:30 – 1:00pm Plants and adaptations at CPG (glasshouse)
1:00 – 1:45pm Lunch
1:45 – 2:30pm Seeds and Fruits
2:30 – 3:45pm Flowers and Families
3:45 – 4pm Resources, questions and recap


Book a place

Ticket Quantity Price

Botany for Gardeners

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