Alison Bio

I am Alison Marsden, founder of Gardening by Design and I have been providing gardening advice across the South East of England, and online, for over 10 years.  Whether in a one-to-one consultation about your own garden, a workshop or talk, or in a formal education session I combine horticultural science with practical experience to explain the Why as well as the How of gardening.

I specialise in Gardening for Wellbeing running social and therapeutic horticulture sessions for groups including residents in care homes, hospice day therapy and Dementia Cafés.  I provide consultancy and training for organisations wishing to create their own therapeutic gardening programme.

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Why Work With Me?

My Credentials

My formal gardening education started over 20 years ago while I was still working as a project manager with a large corporation. I first studied for the Royal Horticultural Society’s General Certificate and followed this with a garden design course.  Between 2010-12, I passed two RHS Level 3 Theory Certificates and qualified as an adult education tutor.

I have been providing one-to-one consultations helping householders to plan, plant and look after their plot with confidence since 2005 and for the last eight years I have been teaching gardening classes at the Kent Adult Education Centre in Sevenoaks. See my upcoming classes here.

In 2017, the Kent Adult Education Service Community Learning for Mental Health programme, “Learning Well”, for which I was one of the tutors, was shortlisted for the TES FE Awards 2018 See the story here.  I was also delighted to be nominated individually as a tutor in the 2018 further education Festival of Learning Awards.

Since 2016 I have specialised in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture growing both my qualifications with the undergraduate Award from Coventry University in partnership with the charity Thrive,  and my project experience working with organisations including West Kent Mind and Headway   Along the way I completed Mental Health First Aid training with MFHA England and my CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills.

What My Clients Say

“Many thanks for the report – it’s great!  I got a lot out of your visit, with loads to think about and am making plans to get started immediately.   I am sure I will be contacting you for further advice quite soon!”

One-to-one onsite gardening advice, Rosie, Sanderstead, March 2019

Featured In

I am the regular gardening columnist in a West Kent monthly magazine, The Town Crier, reaching 30,000 homes.

Join me on social media for posts and tweets on all things gardening and on my GardeningbyDesignUK YouTube channel for seasonal gardening quick video tips.

See all FEATURES here

Video demonstration

Seed bomb Demonstration

A video demonstration for Barratt David Wilson Homes showing you how to make seed bombs at home. It is clear that across the UK, our wildlife needs help.  Many creatures...

BBC Radio Kent

I was invited to join the BBC Radio Kent Sunday Gardening programme on December 1st 2019 to talk about Plants for Winter Interest.  As a regular listener to the...