Students attend an interactive Zoom session in Teagasc Botanics for their placement host in New York last February. Pictured with their tutor Deirdre Walsh.
Students attend an interactive Zoom session in Teagasc Botanics for their placement host in New York last February. Pictured with their tutor Deirdre Walsh.

I was considering putting “post” COVID in the title of this but that would be very presumptuous on my behalf. COVID 19 is here and it’s not going away anytime soon and… what about COVID20 and 21….????!!!

For over 200 years there has been training in Horticulture in the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin but COVID 19 is making us look at our teaching methodologies in a completely different way. The primary model of student instruction around the practices in Horticulture are well proven in this most prestigious of settings. The COVID 19 pandemic has dictated that our world in education will perhaps never be the same again. More and more people in Horticulture are saying that this may not be a bad thing. The “new normal” will become a blend of online availability of concise structured content allied with practical content that is available online or face to face. Underlying everything is the safety of the learner and exhibiting best practise in terms of social distancing. I envisage a weekly engagement with groups through our Virtual Learning Platform, the MOODLE website. We currently use this website for our learner engagement in terms of access to material and resources. In the new normal we will use it a lot more. It will become the repository for all class resources. Students will no longer be tied to attending a specific class timetable as the session would be available on the platform in a recorded format. The continuous assessment has been part and parcel of our format for many years and this will continue. Students will be challenged regularly through online Quiz formats which will track their learning through each module.

We do however recognise the huge part the OPW National Botanic Gardens has in training students. Practical events will centre around this primary location coupled with practical delivery in our Teagasc location at Ashtown in Dublin 15.

We are advising students who apply for our courses to be equipped with three items as prerequisites…

  • Driver’s license or permit to allow for the safe operation of driving machinery.
  • Safe pass for accessing work experience locations.
  • PC, Laptop or equivalent with good home broadband connectivity for accessing online content.

These items are very important for the learner in terms of progressing career-wise in the world of Horticulture.

Like all change, this new normal will be difficult for some but I think the realisation that we can engage in an environment that will suit ourselves will bring many benefits. There has never been a better time to study the world of Horticulture. COVID 19 has changed our world immensely and will continue to do so. Horticulture will become now more important than ever as people realise that less commuting time and more time in the “home office” will bring more rewards for the natural environment and the individual’s family in so many ways.

We will be holding a virtual open evening session on Wednesday 3rd June between 7 and 8 pm where we will be taking questions on our courses in Horticulture in the Teagasc College National Botanic Gardens. Keep an eye on Botanics Social media for updates on this and other events in our College.

Applications for our full-time and part-time courses are available on the Teagasc Botanics website at:

or contact me directly at any of my contacts below.

JOHN MULHERNJohn Mulhern | College Principal, College of Horticulture
Teagasc | National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin D09 VY63
Tel: 01 8040205  Mobile :087 9613860|E-mail: