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Tutor Talk

Tutor Talk

Tutor Talk

in Tutor Talk on February 22, 2018 .

We asked Horticulture tutor Steven Whitaker some questions about himself. See his answers below!


What do you like to do in your spare time?
We bought a derelict cottage a few years back so we’ve been gradually renovating it.  The priority was the interior as it needed a new roof and chimney, not to mention virtually everything replacing on the inside too.  The garden has had to be put on hold so that is my priority for the coming season, it’s basically a field with a few fruit trees at the moment, so I’ll be landscaping it from scratch.  Our neighbours thought it would be a good idea to cut down all of the trees surrounding the...

Dr Lee Raye, the writing tutor here at ADL, has been studying on our RHS Level 2 certificate course this year. We had a chat with them about how they are doing with the modules, whether the course is easy to understand and (gulp) how the exams work.


How easy is the material to understand and read?
Generally, the lessons are really well written so it’s easy enough to understand them. However, for some of the lessons, there is so much knowledge to take in that at the end of each lesson it all tends to be swimming around in my head a bit. I find the activities really useful to counter that, and I’m glad the tutor support is in...

Many of you will know me as your tutor for many courses with ADL and some of you will be wondering where I have got to recently. I took a sabbatical from my tutoring because I have travelled to Ecuador – not on a holiday but to volunteer as a teacher in the University in Quito. I am also hoping to see more of this amazing country and the plants here – it is truly a botanic dream.

So far, I have been based in Quito, the capital. Quito is noisy, very polluted, very high (the 2nd highest capital city in the world) and never seems to sleep. They do have a quiet period – from about 1am until 1.15am when it starts up again. Sounds of Quito...

Just back from the RHS Exam: FAQ


This week I sat the RHS level 2 exam in the Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development. I did okay in the mock exams and had been revising so I expected to manage the finals without too many problems, but of course, the exams on the day are always a different matter!


Since I’ve got back, I’ve put together a few questions and answers for those of us sitting the exams for the first time.


Why are there so many exams?

The RHS exams got more complicated a few years ago. The examiners decided that instead of having random, representative questions, they would ask students...

I have been studying for my Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Level 2 certificate online with the Academy for Distance Learning for a few months now, and I’ve learnt so much! I can identify most of the flowers I see on my daily travels, I finally understand how photosynthesis works and I have a new favourite house plant, Maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes).

One of the things I was not sure about at first was the Royal Horticultural Society student membership which comes free with the course. I am a hands-off wildlife-friendly kind of gardener, not a prissy, don’t-look-at-that-flower-so-hard-Margaret kind of gardener. This...

Being a Google Scholar

Imagine this: You need to write a research paper, but at the last minute you realise that you’ve missed your bus to the library and it has just started raining. What do you do?

If your answer was: “I go for a walk in the rain.” I applaud your misguided dedication. Your friends and I have something to talk about though, so you go ahead. We’ll catch up, I totally promise.

If your answer was: “I fail the assignment.” Well now, we have something to talk about

Come closer, I’m going to tell you a secret. If you are a 21st century internet-savvy student, the easiest way to research for an assignment is to use...

Make Every Day Special to Beat Stress
By Iona Lister, Tutor

Make Every Day Special to Beat Stress


We are frequently reminded of the stressful components of our everyday lives. Stress may come from your work – or lack of it – financial worries, your personal life, relationships, or just flying from task to task, never having time to do what you need to do. Maybe you are feeling more tired than usual, worrying more, feeling overwhelmed, having less fun – and being aware that you need to change things.

When you are feeling overwhelmed by how much you have to...

The Five Essentials of Helping a Troubled Friend

We have all experienced being close to someone going through difficult times. One of the most painful experiences apart from our own misfortunes is that of seeing a person dear to us facing hardship. Instinctively we try to comfort them and make them feel better. It is common to resort to certain phrases to express our support and compassion. These include: "I’m so sorry,” “Poor you”, “It could be much worse”, or “It’s bound to get better”. When our clumsy attempts to cheer up the troubled person don’t seem to work, we can feel defeated by our ineptitude. Researchers at the...


Go the Distance

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Disclaimer: Every attempt is made to ensure all information from the academy is accurate and that the student has attained the competencies taught in a course, at the point of their assessment. Beyond this point, the graduate is responsible to maintain their acquired competencies, and apply acquired knowledge and skills in a way which is appropriate to the unique characteristics of each application. This will release the academy from any liability, action and claims of whatsoever nature in connection with, or arising from any such information, instruction or advice, given by any student or ex-student, whether directions given during the course are followed or not.