General news and announcements

apple for the teacher?
Sample Question from Level 3 Garden Planning
by Janet Prescott - Tuesday, 24 April 2018, 10:51 AM

from R3112 Feb 2017

Q7 Describe the decorative merits of FIVE NAMED plants suitable for growing in an acid soil with a pH of below 5.5.  [10 marks]

This question refers to the following part of the syllabus:

2.2 Select plants suitable for a range of soft landscaping situations.

Describe FIVE NAMED plants suitable for EACH of the following: ground cover, sensory impact, north facing walls, south facing walls, dry shade, shallow chalk, heavy clay, free draining sand, acid soils (below pH 5.5), coastal areas.

The questions on plant selection for this paper may be in a table form, or they may be more open ended as in this example. Without the table, it is important to structure your own answer well with headings, bullet points or numbers for each of your five plant examples. Don’t include more than the number asked for as these won’t be marked.

Although the question doesn’t ask you for ‘distinct’ plant examples, it is always advisable to make sure you don’t pick several similar plants from the same genus. You also need to be clear about what is required for a decorative merit. This could include things such as flower colour, type of bark, texture of foliage and leaf colour. For leaf colour it has to be something in particular and not just ‘green leaves’. Scent isn’t usually included as a decorative merit – think of features that make the plant look attractive.

The examiner’s comments suggest the following:

There are many possible plants that could have been named, five of which are as follows: 

 -Rhododendron luteum 

-Kalmia latifolia

 -Calluna vulgaris 

-Molinia caerulea

-Dodecatheon meadia  

A suitable description of decorative merits for e.g. Rhododendron luteum would have been “Deciduous shrub with yellow flowers and attractive autumn leaf colour”. Full botanical names had to be given in order to be awarded full marks and the name needed to be spelt correctly. Plants normally associated with alkaline conditions were not accepted.

Always try and pick really typical plant examples for the situation asked for.