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Learning plants through patterns: Plant identification workshop

  • Bedford Fields Community Forest Garden Woodhouse Cliff Leeds, LS6 2HF United Kingdom (map)

This workshop will equip you with the tools so you can start identifying a plant anywhere in the world and will enable to you to teach yourself and to use a plant identification book confidently. Forest gardens are great because, due to their complexity, they are like mini botanical gardens.  This means you can see the plants in situ and you will be able to touch, taste, smell, dig them up and observe them.

This workshop can help anyone from complete beginner to those able to comfortably identify individual plant species through foraging, gardening experience or a book. The difference in this workshop is it teaches about plant families and their patterns so you can quickly identify a family and thus its genus level (usually most necessary for foragers) and species level (sometimes very necessary). If you are familiar with these patterns and with flower parts then this workshop won't be suitable for you.

The workshop will run as follows:

- An introduction to plants. You will learn how to use all your senses and your understanding of the variety of plants will be widened. You will look at all parts of the plants, from roots to shoots to fruits.

- An introduction to plant families:  you will learn at least 8 major plant families in the garden and how they can be identified to at least family level very quickly with a few combination features. This will allow you to start to identify around 15000 species of plants around the world. You will have time to familiarise yourself with some species and genera within the families - it's always good to have a few plants under your belt.

- There will be lunch provided and a lunch break - usually in the middle of learning plant families. YUM

- Identifying unknown plants. You'll be given a plant identification book to have a go with whilst I guide you through the (at first) daunting experience and you will learn basic taxonomy and how to use a key.

- You will go home with a booklet of key plant I.D information containing the plant families you learnt, a list of resources, some nice pictures of plant parts and an I.D. toolkit.

Other details

Cost is 15 - 30 pounds depending on income. This is a spectrum from unemployed/concession to part-time to full-time employment. Students are considered concessions. I will however not turn anyone away so please get in touch if you can't afford this. 

Lunch is provided but with no dietary requirements in mind. Please add to your booking email your dietary requirements

Please note: I would love one or two helpers who can help me set up in the morning and pack down afterwards. You have a free place of course. You would help 30 minutes before and 30 minutes afterwards, so 10:00 to 5:00. If you want to be a helper, include this in your booking email. 

Please note also that I am happy for experienced identifiers to shadow me. Please get in contact about this possibility.

To book a place or for more information

Call/text 07922513704 or email bedfordfieldsforestgarden@gmail.comBooking is essential.

Earlier Event: June 25
Bee walk and talk with Harry Woolner
Later Event: September 10
Bedford Fields Workday