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.