Review: Create Academy online courses - Dan Pearson's Expert Guide to Planting Design & How to grow exceptional produce with Jane Scotter
I have previously reviewed a couple of Create Academy courses so when they contacted me and asked if I was interested in reviewing more I was not going to say no. I already knew that their courses are of excellent quality and created and presented by experts.
|image c/o Create Academy
|image c/o Create Academy
Regular readers may recall I reviewed Dan Pearon's first course with Create Academy back in November 2021. I remarked at the time that convincing people to look at a course by Dan Pearson was not going to be a hard sell, but I also was impressed at the quality and care that had gone into making that course. It is therefore no surprise that this second course is of equal quality and care.
This course takes us a step deeper into garden design with more case studies and different situations considered. As with all the Create Academy courses the course is delivered online in small 'chunks' of learning, some are around 5-10 minutes long, some around 15 minutes and none going over 20 minutes in length. You can sit and binge your way through the whole course or you can pick it up and put it down at your leisure. You can also rewatch as often as you like. There are 31 lessons in total in this course from Dan.
I really like the approach of this course as it is from a very practical, very hands on basis. We start off by looking at Dan's garden 'Hillside' and he talks us through the plants he has used and why and what he was aiming to achieve. There is a really interesting session on layered planting and this is a key concept I think for the whole course. I felt like if I understood and could implement this concept then the rest would follow.
From this we move on to other areas of the garden including their pond. Whilst the space that Dan has is much larger than mine, when he started talking through his considerations when creating the pond I realised that this would relate to any space when looking to make a pond; this course very relatable. The course is not all big gardens; one of the case studies is a garden in Camden which is quite a usual town sized garden. Seeing the principles worked out in different size spaces was fascinating and very useful in helping reinforce what is being shared with us.
I found the lessons on planting plans invaluable. I am not a great one for planning all parts of my garden, but I have done when undertaking new specific projects. Understanding why and how to create such a plan sounds like it should be simple, and it is simple, but being talked through it really helps.
I really enjoyed this course, I think it is a good companion to his other course Naturalistic Garden Design and if you have already bought that course I think that this one builds on it well.
|Image c/o Create Academy
I was not so conversant with Jane Scotter's work, but when I looked at her background I realised that this was my bad, she is an impressive woman with a 16 acre farm that she farms biodynamically. There is a restaurant on site that uses the farm grown produce.
This is an excellent course. Jane talks us through the biodynamic principles she grows by and then takes us through the seasons explaining her approach to growing flowers and vegetables. We learn quickly that getting the spacing right is important (and something I am not good at). What I particularly liked where the lessons on Jane's favourite tulip - or tomato - or squash. This is the sort of information I find really valuable, the lived experience of a grower sharing the top varieties that they grow.
Jane talks us through preparing to sow and sowing and caring for your young plants. This is important for gardeners new to growing and also for any experienced gardener as I always think there is some tip or piece of knowledge that is useful.
We learn how to plot and plan our growing and what equipment we will need. We are then taken through the seasons, on what to grow when, how to care for and when to harvest. Jane talks us through how she stores her produce and how to prepare your garden for winter.
I like how Jane explains things, she has a nice easy style that is clearly based on a lot of knowledge. Her farewell final lesson is a wonderful end to the course. She tells us growing is simple and that plants want to grow. I found the course educational, inspirational and motivational. I can happily recommend it.
Both courses are very good value with Dan's costing £147 and Jane's £127 at the time of writing. You get supporting materials with each course too. There is currently a 25% off all courses Easter Sale on the website, so if you fancy trying one now is a good time.....