A well-known York area nursery has partnered with a York college for the second year running to deliver a training course.

Askham Bryan College and Johnson Nurseries of Whixley will be running the 12-week ‘Introduction to Horticulture’ course between July and September.

The bespoke course explores topics including the lifecycles of plants, impacts of plant choices, and an introduction to plant science.

Those who successfully completed the course last year praised the expertise and passion of the tutors, saying the course increased their confidence and gave them new knowledge useful to their role at Johnsons.


The college and the nursery, just 12 miles apart, have worked together since the 1970s, with  with Johnsons providing work placements for students and the college providing horticultural courses for its staff.

Johnsons first contacted Askham Bryan in early spring 2023 regarding a training partnership to ensure its employees stay at the forefront of horticultural knowledge through specialised training.

Chris Edgar, management trainee, who took the course last year and  has now gone on to study the internationally recognised RHS Level 3 qualification said: “The Introduction to Horticulture course was a great way of gaining a good deal of insight into our industry – from learning about plant taxonomy to how to plant a tree, it was all incredibly useful in providing context to what we do day to day.

“All the tutors were very engaging and enthusiastic, and the course as a whole is an invaluable tool to expand horticultural knowledge.”

Ellie Richardson, marketing and office manager at Johnsons, added: “With lots of our employees not having a background in horticulture, this course allows them to gain the vital insight they need to further their careers at Johnsons.

“We’re pleased to invest in our staff, giving them the training they need, whilst also sparking new interests in the world of horticulture. It’s exciting to be able to run the course for a second year, to give even more of our employees the opportunity to advance their knowledge.”

Steve Bassford, curriculum area manager for horticulture at Askham Bryan, said: “We are thrilled to announce the commencement of our second cohort for the Introduction to Horticulture course here at Askham Bryan College.

“We will be building on the success of our inaugural programme which promises to offer an enriched and immersive experience in horticulture. Alongside Johnsons Nurseries we are committed to helping foster a community of passionate plants people dedicated to cultivating their knowledge and skills.”

Johnsons Nurseries was founded over 100 years ago and is one of the UK’s largest commercial nurseries. Johnsons has supplied plants and trees to a range of well-known sites, including the A50 Growth Corridor, the National Memorial Arboretum Centre and the Forth Road Bridge.