Horticulture and Garden Design

RHS Chelsea 2014 Gold Medal and Best Discovery Exhibit winners!



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  • With a national reputation for excellence in horticulture and garden design, Sparsholt provides you with the valuable knowledge and training to launch you directly into the industry or higher study at university. As RHS Chelsea Gold Medal winners you will be taught by a team of experts – renowned within the industry.


Job opportunities for skilled people are considerable and the Royal Horticultural Society and the industry as a whole reported a considerable and continuing shortage of skilled people in the industry in its report to Government in May 2013. Horticulture covers a wide range of opportunities:

  • Amenity horticulture
  • Landscaping and garden design
  • Production horticulture
  • Retail sales
  • Sports turf management
  • Parks and grounds management
  • Production horticulture in the glasshouse and outdoor sectors
  • Golf courses and green-keeping
  • Race course, football and sports stadiums grounds management


Horticulture is an industry that contributes £9 billion to the UK economy each year and employs some 300,000 people. It contributes to our food security, health, well-being and mitigating the effects of environmental change. The College has invested heavily in the facilities of the department which include:

Five hectares dedicated to horticultural practice

Landscaped gardens, lawns and decorative beds

Production polytunnels

Garden design studio

Small fruit area (orchard)

Turf management

Tropical glasshouses

Drawing studio – with A1 drawing boards and design software

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Extended Diploma students will have the opportunity to work as team on the College’s garden exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show (Gold Medal and best in category 2014, Silver Gilt medal in 2013, Gold and best in category 2012)


The Gardeners’ Question Time Garden

The College is home to the famous Potting Shed for BBC Radio 4’s “Gardeners’ Question Time” where listeners’ letters are answered by the celebrity panel.

Student Story

"I chose Sparsholt for the facilities and lecturers. I was lucky enough to participate in Worldskills UK (where I won a gold medal) and the RHS Chelsea Flower (where we won gold too); both inspired me to push myself further. You also get your industry tickets here, which a lot of other colleges don’t do. Sparsholt has opened up a whole new world for me."

Dan Handley, Extended Diploma in Horticulture and UK Worldskills Landscaping winner

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Clothing and PPE

  • Trousers: Navy blue work trousers
  • Polo Shirt and Fleece Jacket: Navy blue, embroidered with Sparsholt, Horticulture
  • Gloves: Good quality cowhide gloves (which tend to outlive standard cheaper cloth and cowhide gloves that can deteriorate quickly)
  • Safety Boots: Black with steel toecaps; no trainers. Wellingtons may be useful but must have steel toecaps.
  • Stationery: Lever arch file, paper, pens, pencils, eraser, pencil sharpener, 50 x see-through plastic wallets for A4 paper for assignment submission etc.
  • Locker: A padlock is required. A usage charge of £10 a year is applied annually.
  • Drawing equipment - Level 3 only: A deposit of £25 is required for a drawing kit for design projects.

Payment should be made to Student Services after arrival; the deposits are returnable if conditions are met.






View Sparsholt College's RHS Chelsea 2014 Gold Medal and Best Discovery Exhibit winning garden below

Sparsholt College
Westley Lane
SO21 2NF
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