Introduction to botany

Course Dates: 01/02/20 - 22/02/20
Time: 10:30 - 16:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street

A practical course ideal for those who are new to the science of botany. Learn about the fundamental structure of plants and identify the functions of different components; recognise some of the classification systems of the plant world and assess why these magnificent organisms are essential for our wellbeing. Four Saturday sessions, mornings in the classroom, afternoons short local walks to see specimens outdoors. One whole-day visit to Kew on Thurs 20 February, tour of the library in the morning, garden in the afternoon - extra costs apply, see below.


What is the course about?

This is an introductory and practical course for those new to the science of botany. By examining specimens and illustrations students will appreciate the structure and function of different parts of the plant and learn about classification systems. The course will be of interest to gardeners but it is not an horticultural course.

Letta Jones, MA, is a Lecturer in Horticulture and Garden History. She taught at Capel Manor and Birkbeck Colleges for 15 years as well as at the City Lit. She is a is a Green Flag Parks judge.

What will we cover?

We will explore external plant structure of leaves, stems, roots, flowers and fruits to familiarise ourselves with their identifying features. We’ll discover the history of how they come to be named and learn more about why they matter to us all.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Describe the external parts of a plant and their functions
- Appreciate the use of common and botanical names
- Outline some of the ways in which we are dependent on plants
- Describe some of the books and archives about the history of Kew and European botany
- Appreciate the range of plants present at Kew (tbc).

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is an introductory course and open to all. The course does not assume any previous study or reading, although you will need a good grasp of English to keep up with the course. An interest in plants and enthusiasm for learning more are the only prerequisites. As with most courses, an open mind and willingness to listen and observe are more important than specific levels of skill.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

There will be talks, demonstrations, practical, pairs/small group work, discussions and question and answer sessions using fresh and preserved plant materials and visits to local gardens to see plants in situ. The Thursday 20 Feb visit to Kew library will give a special opportunity to see some early botanical books and prints and to explore the garden.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Additional entrance fee to Kew, which is approximately £20 full fee; £14 concession (2019 prices). Friends of Kew go free. Public transport details and exact costs will be given at the beginning of the course.
You will make your own way to Kew and meet at the Library, so need to be confident using public transport.
You are welcome to bring in samples of garden plants to contribute to the discussions but this is entirely optional. You may find a notebook and/or a sketch book and pencil/pen useful. You are also welcome to bring along any books you already have that you are happy to share with the group.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HS157 Great botanists
HS029 Wild London:spring
HS090 Spring birds
HS187 British nature writing: its history and changing perspectives
HS184 Exploring wetlands
HS134 A Japanese garden in London
HS133 Botany on the page.


Customer Reviews 4 item(s)

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Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Do join it; if you're interested in basic botany, it's a splendid course.
Course Rating
Review by Lorraine T / (Posted on 28/02/2019)
This is an excellent course for anyone who wants to know more about the world of plants and how they function within our wider world. At 4 sessions plus a fabulous 1-day visit to Kew Gardens, my only misgiving is that the course is too short. I hope that a follow-up will be offered next year, taking us to the next level
Course Rating
Review by Helen A / (Posted on 23/02/2019)
Excellent introduction to theoretical and practical plant classification and identification, with a really good and very knowledgable tutor.
Course Rating
Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 23/02/2019)
A really great, thought-provoking day about plants. We learnt very specific things about types of plants and their structure, to broader issues about the role of plants in the world and in society. I had never thought about plants in this way. The teacher had immense knowledge, but the session was very flexible, and lead by questions from the students. The practical was simple but really useful. Review by Rosebud / (Posted on 19/03/2015)
Tutor Biographies
Letta Jones

Letta Jones, MA, is a Lecturer in Horticulture and Garden History. She taught at Capel Manor College and and Birkbeck, University of London for 15 years. She now teaches classes at the City Lit, Marlborough College Summer School, Woodbrooke,Denman, Glenthorne and Knuston Hall. She is part of the Garden History Grapevine/Gardens Trust group which offers introductory and advanced courses in garden history A guide at the Chelsea Physic Garden for 18 years, Letta now teaches on their education programme. She is a Green Flag Park judge and she also leads her own garden study tours abroad.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HS021

Thu+Sat, day, 01 Feb - 22 Feb '20

Duration: 5 sessions (over 4 weeks)

Full fee: £219.00
Senior fee: £175.00
Concession: £96.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.