Shoot added to Cotswold Gardening School curriculum

29th August 2017. The Cotswold Gardening School will be including Shoot for Professionals as part of the school’s standard curriculum for all students starting courses this year.

Nicola Gammon, CEO, Shoot with Caroline Tatham, Principal, The Cotswold Gardening School with last year’s graduating class.

This will include the students taking the Garden Design (one-year, ten-week, and one-year concise which is new this year) and the Planting Design courses.

Watch the video below to hear what the Principal Caroline Tatham says about Shoot and why she has decided to include Shoot as part of the courses her school runs.

The students will use the Shoot Professional package in the following ways:

  • to compile their plant portfolios. A close study of 50 plants for the 1-year garden design course and 25 plants for the ten-week planting course. This involves all the technical info and images but also importantly design uses.
  • research for planting plans – this applies to all courses.
  • source for mood boards – all courses.
  • source for sketchbook research – all courses.

Nicola Gammon, CEO Shoot, is delighted that Shoot will be included as a standard part of the Cotswold Gardening School curriculum.

“We are often told by recent graduates they only wished they knew about Shoot at the start of their studies… as Shoot is not only a tool to help new designers to become more profitable, but it is also a great educational aid. I am thrilled the The Cotswold Gardening School will be including Shoot as part of the curriculum going forward and hope other horticultural and design colleges also decide to include Shoot as part of their courses too.”

If you are a student and wish to sign-up directly for a student membership of Shoot please contact us or  read more here. Or if you are a horticultural or design college and you are interested to offer a similar programme for your students please contact us at and entitle your email ‘Shoot’s Student Programme’.

Maintenance Matters event

The Shoot team were joining yesterday at Capel Manor College, Regents Park by an outstanding cross-industry panel including:

We discussed a variety of topics. One thing there was general agreement on was the importance of  garden care and the need to raise the profile and value placed on proper after care.

Discussions were varied and it was evident that there is a complicated, wide-ranging set of issues to tackle .


We discussed at length the relationship between the ‘garden designer’, ‘garden after care professional’ and the ‘client’. Some designers are frustrated that unqualified ‘gardeners’ are often decimating their client gardens leaving them unphotographable, and many aftercare professionals are unhappy that some ‘designers’ leave them with gardens which cannot be developed properly because the designer has planted it poorly to start with.

We debated whether garden designers should own aftercare too, and there wasn’t clear decision one way or another. In some cases where the client will pay for that service then the garden designer may ‘own’ it.  A suggestion was made to encourage garden designers to hold regular ‘client reviews’ every 6 months as part of the garden designer ‘best practice’ process.

Action point: It was mentioned that garden designers could help gardeners by adding more winter interest to their client gardens. Seasonality is a big issue for many professional gardeners and having more winter interest to manage would help ensure they are employed 12 months of the year.

Regulation and qualifications

The issue of skills and qualifications came up quite a bit on both sides. It is estimated that there are 10,000 practicing ‘garden designers’ in the UK but only 200 who are registered with the SGD. A similar issue relates to the ‘gardener’ community with a similar number practicing but only 500 registered with the Gardeners Guild.

Action point: Is there a better way to regulate qualified and unqualified practitioners and how could we do that?

Client education

A big issue to tackle is educating the end-client to:

  • expect to pay for proper aftercare
  • understand the difference in ‘gardening’ skill sets and how to hire the right person
  • pay a living wage which is at a minimum £20/hour but will vary across the country

Action point: Gareth Manning of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture will table a proposal that the Institute’s next annual meeting in October help to create marketing materials that garden designers and gardening professionals could hand out to clients explaining how to make a hiring decision, what to look for and what to expect to pay for different skill sets.

Responsibility of the media

We all agreed that the general media doesn’t help raise the value of gardening. Many television programs show the ‘instant garden’ for ‘very little money’ and imply that gardening is really ‘easy to do’.

Action point: We would like to engage the media to help raise the value the public places on gardening and we will consider drafting a cross-industry ‘open letter’ to producers of programs which undervalue gardening.

By raising the value placed on gardening we also hope to attract more young people into the industry as it will be seen as a job like an electrician for which you can make a good living.

Professional education and mentoring

There was an agreement that many newly qualified do not succeed because they do not know how to run a business and aren’t trained to handle project management. Could these be included as part of the education process?

Action point: Gareth Manning mentioned the Chartered Institute of Horticulture does offer some mentoring. Please contact them to find out more.

Getting together more frequently

It was also agreed that having meet-ups like the one we had yesterday is really helpful in itself. Could the SGD cluster groups also invite local professional gardeners to meet with them too? Could the industry bodies such as the SGD, Gardeners Guild, CIH, BALI all link to each others’ websites? Could shows such as the Landscape Show and FutureScape offer more networking?

Action points:

  1. Nicola will set-up a LinkedIn Group for people interested this topic
  2. Shoot will hold more events like yesterdays but organise for  them to be held in the early evening so more people can attend

Here are the slides of the event.

We are continuing the conversation we started at this event in a new LinkedIn Group  called ‘Maintenance Matters’. Please join too.


Sponsoring the APLD in Boston 2017

Shoot CEO Nicola Gammon visited Boston for the annual APLD conference held in Boston in July. Shoot became a bronze sponsor of the APLD for the event.

We are thrilled that during the conference 45 APLD members signed up to beta trial Shoot across various US states.

We are also really pleased to have filmed a new testimonial video with APLD Landscape Designer Rick Laughlin while in Boston.

Rick Laughlin, APLD Landscape Designer from Salt Lake City talks about Shoot from Shoot Gardening on Vimeo.

Read more about our USA beta programme here.



California Calling

I’m Nicola Gammon, the founder of Shoot, and I am just completing a very successful trip out to California, USA to explore launching an American version of Shoot for garden professionals.

I had the great pleasure to meet with a range of Landscape Architects and Garden Designers in Northern California to understand their work processes, plant research and presentation needs, as well as their client communication processes. We also discussed development ideas and explored how Shoot can best be amended to add most value to garden professionals and their clients in California.

Two garden designers, Jenna Bayer and Debby Ruskin, were particularly helpful to me. I particularly want to thank them for their support and helping set up meetings during my trip.

Jenna Bayer

Jenna Bayer, of Jenna Bayer Garden Design Inc.

Jenna Bayer, of Jenna Bayer Garden Design Inc. (based in Mountainview, California and Hillsboro, Oregon), was instrumental in helping me make the trip worthwhile. Jenna has known about Shoot having lived in the UK when we first launched and was delighted to know that we are planning a US version of Shoot.

Jenna also runs a successful garden school called the Garden Bootcamp and can see how graduates could use an online system to keep all their new gardening knowledge and learning organised and accessible. So in short, Jenna believes there is a need for a website such as Shoot in the USA to support both professional and novice gardeners.

After my meeting with Jenna yesterday in Mill Valley, the whole Shoot team are thrilled she has now gone on to join Shoot as our first professional member in the USA starting with a 20 garden professional subscription account.

So a very big thank you to Jenna from the entire Shoot team for her membership, support with developing a US version of Shoot and also for helping make other connections for me with a larger group of designers based in Palo Alto, California.

Debby Ruskin

One of the Palo Alto based garden designers Jenna connected me to is Debby Ruskin, of Ruskin Gardens Co.  Debby kindly hosted me on Tuesday to meet a group of 9 garden designers all based in the Palo Alto area.

Robin Salsburg, Tina Roushall, John Black, Kaitlin Hammersley, Mary Dateo, Kristen Rudger, Connie Lefkowits, Debby Ruskin and Janet Bell

It was an absolutely fantastic opportunity for me to meet with a large group of interested garden designers all in one meeting. So a very big thank you to Debby too for helping to organise the garden designer group and for hosting my presentation and follow-on discussion. It proved to be a very useful and productive first session. I hope many of the attendees will become part of our ‘Beta’ development group giving us feedback on Shoot as it develops for an American audience.

NEW update! Since our trip we have now added for California based members:

  • Standard U.S. measurements
  • USDA zones
  • Sunset zones
  • WUCOLS zones for water consumption

StartUp Woman Event

Nicola Gammon, founder and CEO of Shoot, attended the StartUp Woman event today sponsored by Santander and hosted by the amazing June Sarpong M.B.E. (below left)


Other panelists included Baroness Shriti Vadera (above right), Kelly Hoppen MBE (below right), Melissa Odabash (below left), Kanya King MBE and Jaqueline Gold CBE (above right).


Baroness Shriti Vadera, who is also the Chairwoman of Santander, started off talking about the benefit of diversity and the positive impact women in business have on the bottom line of the companies they work in.

The panel of inspirational founders each told their start-up stories. Common themes across all female entrepreneurs was confidence, hard work, believing in your own inner voice and … brazen ‘blagging it’ to make the connections needed to take their business to the next level.

In reponse to some of the audience questions about confidence, Jaqueline Gold suggested you write an email to yourself reminding yourself of all the positive things you have achieved. My own advice is pretend you are confident even if you are not feeling confident. No one else knows! Put your shoulders back, face forward and move with purpose. Everyone else will think you are confident and you’ll start to actually feel it.

Finally, Joy Jibrilu Director General Tourism from The Bahamas gave one lucky lady who is about to fundraise on Crowdcube a free trip to The International Women’s Empowerment Summit, October 20th to 21st 2016 in the Bahamas! As a previously successful female founder who raised £500,000 on Crowdcube I was pretty gutted that we weren’t included the draw. Maybe there is still a way to get to Bahamas event…

Landscape Show 2016

The Shoot team were delighted to be part of Landscape Show 2016.

Shoot show stand

Shoot had a stand (E1) this year for the first time. Tania, Karl and Nicola gave many, many demos to interested garden design professionals.


Most garden designers particularly liked the ‘multi-plant add’ feature which creates visual plant mood boards and the monthly, co-branded care emails which are sent to clients.

Shoot seminar talk

Nicola Gammon, Founder & CEO of Shoot, also hosted a panel talk ‘How to develop and grow client relationships’. Nicola was joined by Gillie Leaf Garden Design, Joan Mulvenna Garden Design Manchester; and Marc Piechocki I-Echo Landscape Design.


We were thrilled that it was was a full house for the talk and that we got many tweets saying how much the visitors are looking forward to using Shoot.


The seminar panel discussed how to use Shoot across the entire business development life cycle. From generating new leads and referrals at the start of the process, to saving time during the planting planning and garden handover process, to retaining valuable clients with collaboration and branding, to finally how to successfully close a client relationship to reduce follow-on questions.

See our slideshow here:

The panel also really likes how the entire Shoot experience is personalised for their business and their clients.  Plant lists are always comprehensive and personalised as we add any missing plants for you. You can also add your own photos, notes, correspondence, care notes and branding.

Book a demo to learn more with Tania here. Contact us at if you have any questions about how Shoot can help you to grow your garden design business.

New Team Member

We’re delighted to announce that Karl Schweppe has joined the Shoot team as Operations Director.

Karl Schweppe photo

Karl has been working with us as a product consultant for the last nine months and, having fallen in love with Shoot and its users, has joined the team with the ambition of taking Shoot to the next level. He comes with more than fifteen years’ experience researching, building and launching successful digital products.

As part of our ambition to improve Shoot, Karl is creating a product panel where users can help suggest, define, test and build better features. If you’d like to be involved and help shape the future features of Shoot, email Karl at


Shoot Investor Event

We had a great afternoon yesterday at The Geffrye Museum where we held our first Investor Event. The sun was shining and the event was enjoyed by all. Nicola, Martin, Karl and Stuart gave detail on our first year’s goals, performance and plans for the future.


Investor event - group 2
Some of the comments from those who attended were:
“A useful and informative update from the Shoot team on progress to date and strategy going forward.  The afternoon provided a great opportunity to meet with the new hires in the team and hear about Shoot’s plans for the future.  I only wish more crowdfunded businesses would take the time to engage fully with their investors and key clients.” Sara Halbard
Sara halbard
We also had some very supportive members join us too such as garden designer Gillie Leaf who said:
“I was so pleased to attend the Investor Event yesterday so that I could meet the team and chat to other like minded people who love Shoot! I was especially encouraged to hear about all the good things that are planned for the next 18 months.”- Gillie Leaf Garden Design
Investor event - group 6

We also had some investors who are also members join us such as Mark Somers. He commented

“It was great to meet Nicola and the team in person, to hear the real progress over the last year and see the structured proposal for the next 15 months or so. It was also a pleasure to meet and talk to co-investors both at an investor and gardener level. A great session overall and a pleasure to be involved. ” – Mark Somers

Investor event - group 7

We also took advantage of the fantastic garden setting at the Geffrye Museum and fine weather to film some testimonial videos. We filmed 6 testimonial videos with members and investors.
 Kat video
Karen Qin and Emma Raw from MassChallenge UK also joined us on the day to film a Diamond Award winner’s video with Nicola in the gardens. We’ll be sharing all the videos with our visitors soon too. Watch this space for more updates!


Nicola MassChallenge video July 2016 cropped



SGD Ealing Cluster Group Meeting

Nicola Gammon, Founder of Shoot, recently presented at the Ealing SGD Cluster Group. Garden Designer Esra Parr has been a Professional member of Shoot since 2013 and is a self proclaimed ‘cheerleader’ for Shoot. Esra was the organiser of the evening and chairs the Ealing group says:
Shoot has so much to offer the landscape and garden design world.  I urge you to take a look and see what it can do for you.
ESRA PARR 1.tif edt
Nicola Gammon visited the SGD Ealing cluster group to talk with them about the benefits of having a Professional membership with Shoot. Esra and her fellow Ealing garden designers were very welcoming to Nicola. The group thoroughly enjoyed the evening and gave some great suggestions and feedback. Karen Willoughby, Sue Creak and Kat Kekona also offered to follow-up interviews for our upcoming mobile web project. Esra further says about Shoot:
Not only is Shoot a fantastic resource for us as designers  but a veritable goldmine of information for our clients. The site has information about over 20,000 plants on their website including maintenance notes.  These can be tailored and emailed to your client once a month. Such a time saver. Shoot also links in with Vectorworks Landmark and they are constantly improving the functionality.
Do you belong to an SGD group too? We’d love to book a visit to your cluster group too. Please contact us at

Scotland Open Garden

Belinda of Shades of Green Garden Design has been working with her client in rural Clackmannanshire since 2012. This large rural garden is being developed and re-planted in a phased manner to create a plant-filled, colourful country garden that peaks June-August, with areas of extended interest in the spring and autumn. The garden opened for the first time in May 2016 as part of Scotland Open Gardens: Muckhart Village.

Patio Borders

Many Scottish gardens choose to open in late May, when the Rhododendron and Azalea are at their best, but this year flowering was delayed due to a cold snap mid spring. There were however some early flowering Azalea just opening up, and beautiful bold Tulipa and Allium added extra colour to the garden on Open Gardens day.

Delivery path, with rural view

New sandstone sett ramp alongside existing formal steps improves delivery access to the front door on the upper house level.

Informal steps

Informal sleeper/grass steps were placed to allow access but also keep a natural feel to this area of the garden and sit harmoniously with the natural contours of the land. The five new birch trees will be underplanted with bulbs for additional interest.

Rear Terraces
Dry stone terrace beds with perennial plants, small ornaments grasses and spring bulbs at the rear of the house can be seen from kitchen windows and from the hot tub on the nearby deck.
Stone seat
Large natural stone seating area in a sunny, sloping area of the garden will have a fine view over the new wet-land system which is due to be completed in 2016.
Front Door Path

Stepping stone path has been added on the upper house level to guide visitors from the main parking area to the front door.


Raised Bed Plant Detail

The five phases of garden re-design to date include:

  1. Create long double herbaceous border on the south side of the garden, with upgraded planting in the upper parking area by the roadside entrance. A large natural stone seating area was added into a large grassy slope which provides a viewpoint for the new wet-land system in the adjoining field (under development) (2012)
  2. Re-build/extend natural stone terraces round the house and in the parking area outside the large garage, along with installation of an access ramp to the upper house level Existing formal lawn and boundary planting area were re-contoured. New planting was provided in all areas. This phase also included bare-root planting of shrub banks around the existing BBQ house (2013)
  3. Install natural stone terraces and planting for the sloping boundary at the rear of the house and continued planting improvements throughout the garden (2014)
  4. Install informal sleeper steps to improve access into the sloping grass garden with new natural stone retaining wall, screening for oil tank and development of a woodland planting area under existing trees. A large raised bed in the upper parking area was cleared and re-planting (see planting plan) (2015)
  5. Create new perennial and herb border areas alongside the existing patio, re-turf formal lawn and install new hornbeam hedge and wooden archway to divide the formal garden from the utility area/field access gate. (2016)

Planting plan for large raised bed alongside driveway. Three Betula utilis var. jacquemontii  are underplanted with broad swathes of ornamental grasses and robust perennials to provide colour, movement and changing form throughout the year.  The border was previously planted with a static display of mature deciduous shrubs and conifers.

Some of the plants added to Mount Stuart House garden over the past 4 years:

Betula utilis var. jacquemontii ‘Doorenbos’
Betula albosinensis ‘Fascination’
Sorbus aucuparia ‘Chinese Lace’
Aconitum ‘Bressingham Spire’
Alchemilla mollis
Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Brilliantissimum’
Acer palmatum ‘Beni-maiko’
Acer palmatum var. dissectum atropurpureum ‘Crimson Queen’
Acer palmatum var. dissectum ‘Dissectum Viride Group’
Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Ballerina’
Anthemis tinctoria ‘E.C. Buxton’
Anemone hupehensis ‘Hadspen Abundance’
Anthemis tinctoria ‘Sauce Hollandaise’
Anemone x hybrida ‘Whirlwind’
Aruncus dioicus
Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’
Astrantia major ‘Roma’
Astrantia major ‘Sunningdale Variegated’
Astrantia major ‘Claret’
Bergenia ‘Bressingham White’
Bergenia cordifolia ‘Rotblum’
Campanula lactiflora ‘Loddon Anna’
Campanula lactiflora ‘Prichard’s Variety’
Centaurea dealbata
Centaurea montana
Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’
Clematis ‘Hagley Hybrid’
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Clematis tangutica
Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’
Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’
Cotoneaster frigidus ‘Cornubia’
Corylopsis pauciflora
Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora ‘George Davison’
Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’
Crataegus laevigata ‘Rosea Flore Pleno’
Dicentra spectabilis
Echinops ritro ‘Veitch’s Blue’
Eryngium variifolium
Eupatorium maculatum Atropurpureum Group
Geranium ‘Ann Folkard’
Geranium ‘Rozanne’
Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’
Geranium x magnificum
Geranium macrorrhizum ‘Doppeldecker’
Geranium psilostemon
Geranium pratense ‘Plenum Violaceum’
Geranium sanguineum ‘Album’
Geranium x oxonianum ‘Wargrave Pink’
Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Pallida’
Helleborus argutifolius
Hemerocallis ‘Bonanza’
Hemerocallis ‘Little Wine Cup’
Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’
Helenium ‘Rubinzwerg’
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’
Ilex aquifolium
Iris sibirica ‘Perry’s Blue’
Iris sibirica ‘White Swirl’
Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Broadway Lights’
Liriope muscari
Lonicera fragrantissima
Lonicera periclymenum ‘Belgica’
Mahonia x media ‘Winter Sun’
Aquilegia vulgaris
Lupinus Gallery Series
Nepeta x faassenii
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Paeonia lactiflora ‘Duchesse de Nemours’
Papaver orientale ‘Perry’s White’
Papaver orientale ‘Indian Chief’
Persicaria bistorta ‘Superba’
Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diabolo’
Phlox paniculata ‘Rijnstroom’
Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’
Ribes sanguineum ‘King Edward VII’
Ribes odoratum
Sarcococca confusa
Schizostylis coccinea ‘Major’
Sedum telephium ‘Autumn Joy’
Sedum telephium (Atropurpureum Group) ‘Purple Emperor’
Spiraea japonica ‘Anthony Waterer’
Spiraea nipponica ‘Snowmound’
Stachys officinalis ‘Hummelo’
Thalictrum aquilegiifolium ‘Thundercloud’
Tricyrtis hirta
Weigela ‘Florida Variegata’
Weigela florida ‘Foliis Purpureis’
Rosa ‘Deep Secret’
Rosa ‘Iceberg’
Rosa ‘Gaujard’
Rosa ‘Golden Showers’
Rosa ‘Zephirine Drouhin’
Rosa ‘Ballerina’
Rosa ‘Nevada’
Rosa Swany
Rosa ‘English Miss’
Rosa Remember Me
Rosa gallica ‘Versicolor’
Osmanthus x burkwoodii
Syringa vulgaris ‘Charles Joly’
Weigela ‘Newport Red’
Geranium ‘Patricia’
Buddleja davidii ‘Blue Chip’
Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’
Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’
Sorbaria sorbifolia ‘Sem’
Viburnum opulus ‘Compactum’
Philadelphus ‘Virginal’
Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’
Viburnum davidii
Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’
Fuchsia ‘Alice Hoffman’
Spiraea japonica ‘Firelight’
Chelone obliqua
Berberis x ottawensis f. purpurea ‘Superba’
Potentilla fruticosa ‘Daydawn’
Leucothoe ‘Red Lips’
Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’
Pinus mugo
Pieris japonica ‘Flaming Silver’
Ilex x meserveae ‘Blue Prince’
Anemone x hybrida ‘Andrea Atkinson’
Anemone hupehensis var. japonica ‘Splendens’
Astrantia major ‘Star of Beauty’
Bergenia ‘Red Beauty’
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Helleborus x hybridus Ballard’s Group
Luzula nivea
Pulmonaria longifolia subsp. cevennensis
Geranium ‘Red Admiral’
Geranium x cantabrigiense
Hemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbery’
Heuchera ‘Paris’
Heuchera micrantha ‘Palace Purple’
Iris sibirica ‘Blue King’
Macleaya x kewensis ‘Flamingo’
Monarda ‘Croftway Pink’
Monarda ‘Blaustrumpf’
Centaurea montana ‘Purple Heart’
Hosta ‘Summer Fragrance’
Hosta ‘White Triumphator’ (rectifolia)
Salix alba var. vitellina ‘Britzensis’
Ajuga reptans ‘Atropurpurea’
Dicentra ‘Pearl Drops’
Dicentra spectabilis ‘Alba’
Hosta ‘Patriot’
Corydalis flexuosa ‘Purple Leaf’
Bergenia ‘Harzkristall’
Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Goldkugel’
Geranium pratense ‘Striatum’
Geranium sylvaticum ‘Album’
Trollius chinensis ‘Golden Queen’
Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’
Knautia macedonica ‘Red Knight’
Geranium pratense ‘Dark Reiter’
Aruncus aethusifolius
Achillea ptarmica ‘The Pearl’
Viola Spring Sherbets Mix
Viola Spring Sherbets Mix
Omphalodes verna
Arisarum proboscideum