24th March – 25th June 2023


4 residential stays (3 days, 2 nights each stay)

One day at the college every 2 weeks (non residential)

Visits to local community gardens


This course is free to everyone.


Level 1


Residential stays:

Friday 24th - Sunday 26th March

Friday 28th - Sunday 30th April

Friday 26th - Sunday 28th May

Friday 23rd - Sunday 25th June


The work on this course is mostly practical with some worksheets, journaling and a final portfolio of evidence

This course will give you the skills to create and maintain thriving gardens that benefit you, the community and the planet and will show you:

  • How you can create your own sustainable garden, or how you can work within the community to sustain community gardens
  • The basics of how to develop your own garden project at home or within the community
  • The initial steps to support you to work with others showing them how to develop their own garden project at home or within the community

As part of this course, you will visit a number of West Midlands community gardens and participate in their own gardening activities, with the opportunity to apply to volunteer with them.

As well as 4 residential stays (3 days, 2 nights each stay) you will attend Fircroft College one day every fortnight and you will be part of developing and establishing the college's own Mother Garden.

You will learn the practical gardening skills involved in developing a mother garden, from propagating plants, to forest garden design and sharing resources for establishing/improving other sustainable gardens.

There are a number of core areas within the bootcamp that you can take a ‘pick and mix’ approach to, to benefit your own personal sustainable gardening aspirations:

  1. The basics of sustainable gardening for you
  2. ‘How to’ develop your own small-scale sustainable gardening project
  3. How to support others to develop their own small-scale sustainable gardening project

The residential weekly content will include:

Week 1

Introduction – What is a Mother Garden – your aspiration and hopes from attending

Propagation –perennial grafting/seed sowing

Journaling – reflections – ILP – start -– end reflections on the weekend

Week 2

Site development – establishing nursery beds and basics of planting nursery beds

Forest garden session – how to plant a food forest

Different types of Mother Gardens that exist

Practical – revisit previous planting/Mother Garden & Forest Garden maintenance

Week 3

Understanding how to establish community engagement

Practical – revisit previous planting/Mother Garden & Forest Garden maintenance

Planning for next residential – envisioning initial thinking/ideas for your own garden project

Week 4

Planning your own project: support and troubleshooting

Creating your own cuttings/propagation

Practical – out in the Mother Garden

Social Justice: You will explore the ways in which gardening can be used as a tool for social justice and community building, and will discuss ways to create inclusive and equitable gardens that benefit members of society.

Fircroft has an ethos of social justice, a legacy from when the college was started by George Cadbury Jnr., and is something that we proudly adhere to today.

Climate Justice: You will investigate the impact of gardening on the environment, and will learn how to create gardens that are not only beautiful, but also sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change.

Fircroft has a sustainability strategy and climate change is top of the list!  We are concerned about the wide-ranging affects climate change is having on our local community as well as globally.

Take a look at some of our sustainability work here

Basic Project Management: You will learn the basics of project management, including planning, budgeting, and implementation, to ensure that our gardening projects are successful and sustainable.

After successfully completing the Mother Tree Bootcamp you will have:

  • Gained an understanding of the stages involved in a sustainable gardening process
  • Developed initial skills for your own small-scale project development
  • Developed skills to support others to start work on small-scale gardening projects


There are no formal entry requirements for this course, although you must be working at literacy Entry Level 3 or above