The BEST in Horticulture Group have three teaching centres:
Ryton Organic Gardens, Wolston Lane, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, CV8 3LG.
BEST has been teaching RHS theory and practical courses at Ryton Organic Gardens since 2012.
BEST has its own purpose-built teaching centre on the site, with theory and practical classrooms and soil plots for RHS practicals. BEST maintains some of the organic garden areas, in particular the rose garden, in the course of practical tasks. CoC training and assessment is also delivered on the Ryton site, where there is ample space for machinery use. The site is certified organic and the RHS courses teach the Sustainable Gardening optional unit; Pa1 and Pa6 certification uses inert dyes for sprayer training.
The site is now owned by Coventry University and is no longer open to the general public. Garden Organic remain at the site and are currently building a separate new demonstration garden which should open later in 2020. The rest of the grounds are part of Coventry University, and CAWR and the Heritage Seed Library make use of the wider grounds.
North Moreton Centre
The Filberts, High Street, North Moreton, Oxon OX11 9AT; Village Hall, North Moreton OX11 9AS
Two years after BEST began to teach at Ryton, it opened a second centre at the home of one of its directors in the village of North Moreton, near Didcot in Oxfordshire. The one-acre garden at the Filberts has been opened for the NGS for some years, and contains a variety of formal and informal features which students can use for practical tasks. Part of the orchard has been converted to soil plots for the RHS level 2 students to take the optional Vegetable Growing unit, and a covered teaching area and greenhouse added for students. Turfcare courses also take place at this centre.
The nearby Village Hall is used as a base for the students, and this is also used as an exam centre for RHS theory courses.
Bampton Garden Plants, Buckland Rd, Bampton OX18 2AA
In 2016 BEST opened a third centre near Faringdon in Oxfordshire, this time within the garden centre in the village of Bampton. Bampton Garden Plants has expanding rapidly from an established grower and well-known wholesale nursery into a busy retail nursery with an excellent café.
The centre has built a classroom which is used for RHS Level 2 theory and Levels 2 and 3 practical courses, and BEST has student soil plots beyond the nursery stock areas. During their practical work, students have been involved in planting up demonstration beds of shrubs, roses, hedging and trained fruit trees for their courses.
Staff from BEST are not at these centres every day, so if you would like to come and see a centre, please contact us first.