RHS Approved Centres delivering theory and practical qualifications; short courses; industry training and City and Guilds NPTC Certificates of Competence

Develop a career in Horticulture

There is a skills shortage within the horticultural industry and knowledgeable skilled applicants are in demand. The Royal Horticultural Society courses & qualifications we offer will provide you with the knowledge & skills you need for a successful career.

The round pond at BEST's North Moreton site, with Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku' and hydrangea 'Annabelle' in foreground; photo, BEST in Horticulture Ltd
RHS Level 2 'blended learners' digging BEST's soil plots at Ryton Gardens BEST in Horticulture Ltd
Students for the RHS Level 2 Practical course working on BEST's soil plots at Ryton Gardens BEST in Horticulture Ltd
Sisyrinchium striatium and Gleditsia tricacanthos at BEST in Horticulture North Moreton BEST in Horticulture Ltd
Practical students being assessed on grafting as part of BEST's RHS level 3 'blended' learning BEST in Horticulture Ltd
BEST Level 2 RHS Practical student sowing seed on the soil plots BEST in Horticulture Ltd
Wisteria floribunda alba and koi pond at BEST's North Moreton site BEST in Horticulture Ltd
Soil testing for BEST's RHS Level 2 Practical course at Ryton Gardens BEST in Horticulture Ltd
BEST RHS Level 2 Practical students working in the Rose Garden at Ryton BEST in Horticulture Ltd
The Rose Garden at Ryton Organic Gardens, maintained by BEST students BEST in Horticulture Ltd
Students on the RHS  Level 2 Practical working on BEST soil plots, Ryton Gardens BEST in Horticulture Ltd
RHS Level 3 Practical students grafting apples at Ryton Gardens BEST in Horticulture Ltd
Allium christophii at BEST's North Moreton site BEST in Horticulture Ltd
A student on the RHS  Level 2 Practical working on BEST soil plots, Ryton Gardens BEST in Horticulture Ltd
RHS Student soil plots at Best in Horticulture, North Moreton BEST in Horticulture Ltd

 Just to thank you for sending me the certificate which I received it's just two days and makes me feel very proud indeed,  I still envisage to complete the Diploma in a way or an other, don't know when though, but be sure you will hear again from me at some stage , it was great to be with you and Tony at Ryton, I'd love to repeat that experience." (From a student who came from Italy to study the RHS Practical.)

The website is superb by the way and the course very well structured and planned - never had a folder of information before when I did level 2.

Thank you to you all there for your support and great notes and information. When you are learning online, its crucial that the notes are clear and well explained as you are teaching yourself as well as revising it. BEST's notes are very good and the revision booklet has been a great help too.

I'm delighted to tell you I received pass with commendation for my first two exams. This is well above what I expected. I tried studying with [another provider] but I wasn't happy with the sheer volume and, sometimes, unnecessary information they provided. They also don't follow the syllabus in the order the RHS give it, so I soon went back to your course and I'm so glad I did. 

HOORAY - I have finished and have passed them all with commendations.

Many thanks for the excellent study material. I really enjoyed the learning although now relieved not to have the pressure I put myself under to do well.

"Two commendations, clearly the quality of the distance provider"

Many thanks again for the course. Not only did I learn a lot from it and massively increase my confidence, but it has led directly to my current work in two gardens which I love.

 It has been a pleasure to work with B.E.S.T., each stage has been well managed from enrollment to sitting the exam, with excellent support from my Tutor Jenny.


I got my results today and passed all 8 units at level 2 (3 commendations). Thank you for that !

I thought I'd let you know I passed all 8 of the L2, 2 with commendation, after signing up for the online course in March. Thanks to all at BEST especially Natasha my tutor!

I must say I'm really enjoying this course. The materials are absolutely fantastic. I'm actually looking forward to the exams!

'I am pleased to say that I passed the Plant Taxonomy exam with a commendation (75%) and got a pass (62.5%) in the Plant Health…I would just like to say your course material is excellent and the revision booklets invaluable.'

"As we are approaching our final lesson at North Moreton I would like to express my thanks to BEST for the programme which has provided me with tools and knowledge that I am utilizing at University College, the support has been fabulous and I look forward to doing courses again personally in the future."

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The Academy of Practical Horticulture delivers Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) theory and practical courses at level 2 and level 3 at Centres in Warwickshire and Oxfordshire; in addition the Ryton centre offers the Certificate in Organic Horticulture, short courses and masterclasses and  CoC training.

 Academy of Practical Horticulture      (RHS Theory)
  • Full colour course material referenced throughout to current RHS syllabuses
  • Highly qualified and experienced course lecturers
  • Diverse range of teaching methods used to aid learning
  • Thorough preparation for the RHS examinations
  • Consistently high examination success rates

Academy of Practical Horticulture   (RHS Practical)

  • Full colour course material referenced throughout to current RHS syllabuses
  • Outstanding practical facilities and equipment at our Approved Centres
  • Highly qualified and vocationally experienced course tutor/assessors  
  • Clear demonstrations of good horticultural practice
  • Rigorous assessment against RHS standards 

Register of UK Learning Providers Reference no: 10055267

Face to Face delivery

GO logo 2Students attend centres to receive tuition & practical teaching in the conventional manner. We offer this at Ryton Gardens near Coventry, and at two Centres in Oxfordshire: Bampton (near Faringdon in West Oxfordshire)  runs level 2 theory and practical courses;  North Moreton (near Didcot in South Oxfordshire) offers both levels of practical certificate.

Royal Horticultural Society Qualifications

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK's leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening. Its goal is to help people share a passion for plants, to encourage excellence in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening.

RHS Qualifications is a nationally recognised awarding body offering a range of accredited qualifications for both professional horticulturists and keen gardeners. Studying for RHS qualifications opens up a host of career opportunities.

 Royal Horticultural Society Courses at Ryton Gardens

Short Courses and Masterclasses 

We offer a range of courses mainly for amateur gardeners that are designed to cover specific areas of horticultural interest.

Short courses are defined as any programme lasting more than one day, but less than a full academic year (28 or 30 weeks). Short courses focus on a specific topic or bring together closely-related subjects to provide a broader experience. They are suitable for anyone who has an interest in the subject and there are no entry requirements.

Masterclasses have been developed to provide a more in-depth experience; they focus on a specific topic or bring together closely-related subjects which are studied in greater depth. There are no formal entry requirements: Masterclasses are suitable for anyone with enthusiasm and a passion for the subject!

We currently offer this range of courses at our Ryton Centre near Coventry in Warwickshire, and some of the courses also take place at our North Moreton Centre near Didcot in Oxfordshire.

What follows is a list of Short courses and Masterclasses; please click on the link for further details.


Short Courses

Short Course (Ryton) - Garden Machinery

Short Course (Ryton and Bampton) - Garden Pests and Diseases

Short Course (Ryton) - Practical Garden Design

Short Course (North Moreton) - Rose Workshop




Masterclass (Ryton) - Plant Propagation

Masterclass (North Moreton) - Turf Management







Certificates of Competence & Specialist Training

These courses include: Certificates of Competence, Supervision and Management Training and Bespoke Skills Training for Professionals.


Certificates of Competence

Generally these are one-day intensive short courses (however some are two- or three-day courses) designed to upskill operatives in a range of vocational subjects, many relating to the professional use of machinery/equipment. The training session leads to candidates undertaking an oral and practical examination to obtain a necessary Certificate of Competence. Some examinations are conducted by the Trainer who delivered the training, but others are required to examined by an independent examiner who was not involved in training the candidate.

Click here for Certificates of Competence

Click here for Certificate of Competence price list

Please contact us to discuss your specific requirements


Supervision and Management Training

Specialist training courses are designed to meet the specific needs of employers and individuals by focusing training on a particular skills area.Our supervision and management training courses are suitable for both trainee and established team leaders, and managers. The courses have been developed to equip team leaders and managers with a range of essential skills to help them cope with the challenges of leading teams and managing people in a variety of different working environments.

Click here for Supervision and Management 1 - Communication

Click here for Supervision and Management 2 - Motivation

Click here for Supervision and Management 3 - Performance Management

Clich here for Supervision and Management 4 - Appraisals

Click here for Supervision and Management 5 - Conflict Resolution

Click here for Supervision and Management 6 - Training to Train

 Please contact us to discuss your specific requirements


Bespoke Skills Training

Finally, we offer a range of bespoke skills training courses to meet business, and in some instances personal requirements.

The majority of these courses have been developed in conjunction with employers where a skills gap has been identified and a bespoke training solution is required.

As these courses are tailored to specific situations, please contact us to discuss your requirements.