Growing skills

Growing skills

Growing skillsGrowing skillsGrowing skills

for professional and amateur gardeners

Welcome to the Norfolk School of Gardening

Life begins the day you start a garden



An old Chinese proverb which just about sums it up for us. This is the place to gain practical gardening skills, find inspiration and leave with both ideas and solutions. We run courses for anyone with an interest in gardening, from professional gardeners with specific training needs, to beginners taking on their first allotment, to keen gardeners wanting to learn more. Our highly experienced tutors are  passionate about gardening and about passing on their skills and experience.

Courses for all aspects of horticulture


We run a range of gardening courses, from the eight week Introduction to Garden Design to the one day Plants For Free. If we don't offer the class you are looking for just let us know. Class sizes are small in order to make them interactive and fun, and on the practical courses we spend as much time outside as possible.  There is always something to take home, whether it is a new planting plan for your border or a tray of newly propagated shrubs.

We also do bespoke training and coaching


Maybe you and a group of friends would like to be shown how to prune shrubs in your own garden. Or maybe you would like a gardener to work alongside you in your garden for a few weeks, showing you how to move and divide perennials, how to renovate your shrubs, how to plant up your containers. We can design a Gardening Coach programme which works for you. Just ask

About Us


Kevin Bailey

 Kevin is our lead tutor and has 35 years of horticultural experience.  He has taught RHS, BTEC and City & Guild qualifications at Burlingham and Easton & Otley Colleges for many years. He previously ran a social and horticultural therapy programme and before that he worked in the horticultural retail trade. He has been head gardener of several large gardens and works as a consultant with local landscape designers. He is a very popular teacher who loves sharing his deep knowledge of plants and design. 


Jonathan Darby


Jon has been working in horticulture all his adult life, training at Burlingham and Cannington Colleges before working at the Chelsea Physic Garden and Kew Gardens. He has extensive teaching experience, teaching BTEC, City & Guilds and RHS levels 1,2 & 3 and for the past 25 years at Burlingham and Easton & Otley Colleges. He manages several large private gardens, takes on design commissions and landscaping, and also teaches gardening courses at the Grapes Hill Community Garden and The Sustainable Gardening Initiative.


Ruth Darrah

Ruth has recently completed the RHS Level 2 Diploma in the Principles of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Easton & Otley College. She has worked in marketing for many years and more recently has done some teaching. Over the years she has become an increasingly enthusiastic gardener, progressing from window boxes in Paris, to a small courtyard garden in Brussels, to a long thin garden in London and finally a large family garden in Norfolk.  She has founded the Norfolk School of Gardening to share her passion and give others the confidence to get the most out of their own garden.

As well as the core team we will bring in guests tutors during the year who are experts in their field to teach specific gardening courses or to lead workshops