An open forum for chatting about anything you want to.

These classrooms don't contain notes or handouts for the syllabus; they are a space for students.

With the re-structuring of the RHS website the discussion forums in the My Garden area disappeared. These were helpful to some people studying through distance learning, as well as to RHS members with general plant identification queries, and other problems which could be solved by asking other experienced gardeners rather than 'Experts'.

BEST has its own Facebook page where you can talk to past and present students - you'll see the icon on your home page - but if you aren't a habitual Facebook user you may not want to get involved in some of the online alternatives to meet other RHS students. So we hope you will think about using this space to communicate with our other students - who are also trying to make sense of the handouts, work through past papers, and decide if it's worth planting out their potatoes yet!

One area has been set up for level 2 students, and another for level 3; your tutor can help if you have general queries you want to raise.

You will all be enrolled in the chat areas - did you know that if you go into your user profile settings you can get your 'internal' emails redirected to any other account of your choice, so you don't have to be logged in to see email (only to answer it)?
Picture of Mary Ballantine
Where to sit exams in June
by Mary Ballantine - Tuesday, 2 April 2019, 3:47 PM

Hello All,

I live in Plymouth and would be very grateful if anyone could tell me where I could sit exams in June (Bicton College have told me it's no longer possible with them).  Are Duchy College and The Horticultural Correspondence College the closest? Do I contact them directly?

Thank you for your help,


apple for the teacher?
Learn to love your aphids?
by Janet Prescott - Sunday, 10 March 2019, 9:14 PM

The article below  - scanned from the Telegraph because they no longer provide a news feed, I'm afraid - is very interesting on the role of aphids in the garden food chain and why trying to get rid of them, even with 'organic' insecticides,  can do more harm than good..... 

apple for the teacher?
Prickles, spines and thorns
by Janet Prescott - Monday, 18 February 2019, 1:02 PM

In his readable review in the Telegraph of the excellent new book The Field Guide to Winter Twigs by John Poland, Ken Thompson gives a lucid explanation of the difference between these botanical  terms and how to identify each : 

'How many of us, for example, have ever given much thought to the ...

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(315 words)
apple for the teacher?
Good luck with your exams
by Janet Prescott - Sunday, 10 February 2019, 6:14 PM

Good luck to everyone taking their exams this session - Jenny's advice to the Level 3 students is just as true at level 2:

'Make sure you take your time reading through the questions so you know exactly what is required.  

Move on from a question if you are stuck on it and come back to it at the ...

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(181 words)
Picture of Katie Martin
Sample exam paper r2112
by Katie Martin - Wednesday, 6 February 2019, 10:43 AM

Hi all, 

A sample paper has been put into the past exam paper folder for R2112. However it says Level 3, is this a mistake or is this paper one that we should review?

Thanks, Katie.

Picture of Sarah Clifton
Videos and Podcasts
by Sarah Clifton - Tuesday, 15 January 2019, 5:18 PM

Hi, I enrolled on the Level 2 course about 18 months ago and have had a go at reading some of the books on the reading list as well as the resource materials online but have struggled to retain a lot of the information. I think studying in a range of different ways would help me to fill in some gaps.

Does anyone know of any good videos, maybe on youtube etc, or any podcasts about gardening and/or botany that would be useful as an add-on to the resources here?



apple for the teacher?
Watch out - there's a lily beetle about...
by Janet Prescott - Tuesday, 1 January 2019, 6:17 PM

I just wanted to share with students in the Midlands and south of England this unseasonal guest in a border I was clearing today - New Year's Day, 1st January. Normally I wouldn't expect to see a lily beetle until late March or April, and only on fritillaries, then lilies.  Obviously the mild weather is confusing pests, so watch out !

(I realise that some of our students in the more Northern parts of the UK may not be familiar with the Scarlet lily beetle - how lucky you are.)

Picture of Paul Bermingham
Exam Locations - Ireland
by Paul Bermingham - Wednesday, 14 November 2018, 5:26 PM


Question for any students from Ireland.

I ma having difficulty find an exam location for February.  The RHS are looking into hosting exams in Ireland, but haven't heard any feedback for a while now, and realise the closing date for registration is fast approaching.

Has anyone had any luck sitting exams in Ireland ?

Many Thanks


Picture of Hazel Adams
October Assessment day - latin names
by Hazel Adams - Wednesday, 24 October 2018, 2:46 PM

Hello all!

I'm last minute cramming for the practical certificate assessment day on Saturday. Does anybody know if we need to know the latin names for the pests and beneficials, or will plain old "ladybird" and "slug" do?

Thank so much!


Picture of Paul Bermingham
Plant Names
by Paul Bermingham - Friday, 14 September 2018, 2:46 PM


Just wondering if anyone has any tips on learning all the plant names, like a minefield !