Beginners Plant Identification Course

plantid1How to book: To book please email
When: Saturday 2nd July 2016, 10am – 4pm

Where: At Brook End LAND Centre, Compton Dundon, Near Street & Glastonbury

Do you want to learn more about wild plants but don’t know where to start? Do you often wonder what plants are, but not know how to identify them?What: This one day course will provide you with an overview of some of the most common families of flowering plants in the UK – once you know these recognising plants will get a lot easier, and you’ll start seeing how unfamiliar plants are related to ones you already know.

Keys are the most frequently used method to identify plants, but they require a bit of prior knowledge. Come along to get that knowledge and learn how to use keys in a friendly, accessible environment. Open to complete beginners but also suitable for improvers.

By the end of the course you will have:
• Basic knowledge of plant taxonomy
• Knowledge of the key features of common families of UK flowering plants
• Familiarity with common species of UK wild plants
• Knowledge of basic plant physiology
• Knowledge of key plant habitats

You will know how to:
• How to use knowledge of families to help identify unfamiliar plants • How to use a key
• How to make a short dichotomous key
• How to use a hand lens

Cost: The course is free for adults in receipt of state benefits, otherwise £10-£50 donation. Bring lunch to share. Booking essential. Please bring a hands len if you have one and any plant ID books you have.

About the Tutor: Ellen Percival is a botanist with a background in sustainable horticulture and ethnobotany. Originally trained at Duchy College and Schumacher College she now specialises in wild plants of the UK. She is a regular contributor to community radio on topics ranging from plants and fungi to the history of witchcraft.

Plant ID course

Forget the summer, it’s all about the SPRING Soil School!

DIY Soil Care Strategies // Composting // Mycorrhizae Green manures // Plant teas // Mulching // Biochar

IMG_3835Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th March 2016, near Glastonbury

The course will cover:

• Identifying different soils, and understanding their
structures, strengths & weaknesses
• The soil food web & the billions of microorganisms that live in soil
• No dig gardening & soil health
• The politics of soils – why they are eroding around the world & what we can do about it.

Plus how to:

– use mycorrhizal applications to increase the health of your soil – make amazing compost & explore the different composting techniques
– make and use compost and plant teas
– master mulching
– use green manures & cover crops to build fertility – use and make biochar

The course will involve practical, participatory sessions to make soil science accessible and understandable. It aims to share
agroecological approaches that can support our communities to feed themselves, while minimising inputs and creating systems that build soil health by working with nature.

The course is led by experienced horticulturalists and growers from workers cooperative, Feed Avalon, as well as external tutors who are leaders in their field.

The course includes a home-grown, home-made lunch and salad, as well as refreshments. Camping accommodation is available for £5 per night at Brook End, the LAND Centre that is hosting the course.

Cost: The cost of the course is banded on the basis of income:

  • Up to 14K p/year £60
  • 14K-20K p/year £100
  • 20K upwards £120

There is a limited number of free places for adults in receipt of state benefits in Somerset. Please contact us as soon as possible if you have child care or additional needs, so we can support you to participate.

How to book: To book please email

This course is supported by Somerset Skills & Learning.

Spring Soil School 2016

Interview on Healing Agriculture

The lovely Katie Shepherd interviewed me for her new project Healing Agriculture.

Healing Agriculture aims to profile and give a voice to the many people working in broad scale agriculture in Europe, aiming for ‘beyond sustainability,’ using the ethics of Earth Care, People Care and Fair Share in their farming work and lives.

Read the interview here:

Make sure you check out some of the other interesting and inspiring interviews.