Review: The Create Academy online course - A Seasonal Guide to Wild Gardening by Poppy Okotcha

Sometimes it just feels like the planets align nicely and when they do you just have to take the opportunity.  Regular readers might recall I have previously reviewed an online course from the Create Academy by Dan Pearson and I was completely impressed by the quality of the course.  Regular readers might also recall that I recently attended the Beth Chatto Symposium where Poppy Okotcha took part in the one of the panel sessions and I was very impressed by her passion and knowledge for wild gardening.  When I was asked by the Create Academy to review this new online course 'A Seasonal Guide to Wild Gardening' by Poppy Okotcha I did not hesitate to say yes.

photo c/o Create Academic

I have not paid for this course and I have not been paid to write this review.  My words and opinions are my own.

I was very keen to see this course as I know I need to know more about how to garden sustainably and be more ecologically aware.  I try and do my bit.  I do have the Wild Garden which is the top third of my garden which I allow to pretty much grow as it likes.  I try and grow plants that will attract all manner of insects into the garden and I do not use pesticides apart from the odd organic slug pellet in-extremis.  I am not perfect, I need to know more and this course by Poppy who is a trained horticulturalist and ecological gardener, is a great way of learning more.

The course is made up of prerecorded video sessions so you can watch whenever is convenient for you.  The sessions are themed by the seasons and they range from being around 5 minutes long for short quick bites of information, to around 20 minutes long for the more in-depth subjects.  Most are around 10 minutes (give or take).  This means you can either binge-watch or dip in and out at your pleasure.

The sessions take us through all sorts of aspects of gardening sustainably.  Poppy tells us how to make sure our basics are in place.  There is a session explaining what soil is, how to ensure it is healthy and how to create good compost.  I would expect this from any garden course and I like how Poppy explains how and why.  We often get told why, we often get told how, but having both together makes this very meaningful. I like how Poppy explains things, it is clear and she uses good analogies to make her points understandable.

There are sessions on making Apple Cider Vinegar and Nettle Beer.  There is a session on how to forage responsibly.  I found this session fascinating as I had not really thought about what Poppy calls the 'golden rules' which ensure that you do not remove a plant completely.  It is about foraging for yourself and also not removing food stuffs from insects/wildlife that might also feed from it.  It is about sharing and I liked this thought.  

There is a very interesting session on how to create a worm bath.  I now know that composting worms 'poop out' worm castings that are like 'rocket fuel' for our gardens.  I also now know that composting worms are not the same as garden worms, which is something I did not realise despite having been aware of worm composting for many years.  Having Poppy explain it to me made me thing this is something I now would like to try and whilst Poppy says you can have a 'worm bath'  outside or even inside under your sink, I think outside would be better for me.

The latest session that has recently been added is called 'Reframing Weeds' as Poppy 'reframes' how she thinks about weeds.  Most are very good for wildlife and as long as they are not getting too invasive keeping some can be very beneficial for our gardens.  I smiled when Poppy was talking about allowing a little bit of bindweed to grow.  Where I live bindweed does not (yet) grow in my garden but it does grow in the hedge in the road to my house.  It is very beautiful and I love seeing it but if it appeared in my garden I am not sure I would be so happy.  So it is about what you can control/live with.

Poppy talks us through all aspects of gardening: from your soil health as mentioned above, to how to create a pond, how to sow seeds and how to plant bare root perennials.  It is a course that you can follow if you want to know the basics of creating a garden from a knowledgeable but also very relaxed perspective.  This is responsible gardening for people who might be scared of all the 'rules' of gardening because many of these rules just do not matter.

I really enjoyed the sessions; I learned a lot and was truly inspired by it.  Poppy's enthusiasm is infectious and I can happily recommend the course.

The Create Academy 'A Seasonal Guide to Wild Gardening' by Poppy Okotcha is currently priced at £127  You can buy courses for yourself or buy them as a gift for someone else and at the time of writing Create Academy are offering a Black Friday deal of 25% of all courses.

Take care and be kind.

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