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 Owen Pugh
by Owen Pugh - Thursday, 12 September 2019, 10:52 PM

Hi all, 

this is my first time doing this sort of course and I'm just excited to reach out to fellow students who are also new to this and engaging with the material for the first time. Not sure that I really have a question for people as such but if anyone is also feeling new and unsure of themselves please feel free to respond and say hi. 


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,


Picture of Tessa Darley
Soil testing - where to buy things?
by Tessa Darley - Monday, 29 July 2019, 5:20 PM

Hi, I'm just starting L2 and the first thing I need to do is understand how to test the pH of soil (and of course, what kind of soil it is).  Rather than just get a little soil testing kit which has a limited number of uses, I'd like to get a test tube rack, some test tubes, some barium sulphate,...

Read the rest of this topic
(167 words)
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..... 

Picture of Natalie Green
by Natalie Green - Wednesday, 1 May 2019, 2:16 PM

I've been working through the syllabus for level 2 plant growth since the beginning of January and i'm planning to take the first 2 units in June. 

The information is so dense going through and taking notes is not helping me with retaining any information. 

Does anyone have any tips?

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 ...

Read the rest of this topic
(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 ...

Read the rest of this topic
(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.)