Posted: 30/12/2013 at 21:42
I've done both L2 and L3.
L2, I downloaded the syllabus and worked through it by myself as the learning outcomes are very specific. I used a couple of books - RHS Principles of Horticulture and also Peter Dawson's A Handbook for Horticultural Students. Also RHS Propagating Plants is excellent. Finally I used the past papers on the site with the examiners comments.
The material covered at L2, in my opinion, isn't complex but there is a lot of it.
I'm now studying L3 now with a distance learning college, BEST, and they are excellent. I've found the depth that L3 goes into is a lot more than L2 and I've really appreciated the tutor support from an online college.
Whilst you do cover the same topics at L2 as you do at L3, L3 is far more complex. I found it helped to have the building blocks from L2 - I would have it found it really difficult to go straight in at L3 but everyone is different I suspect.
Just to give you an idea of my experience to put this in context, I studied L2 as a real novice, I was volunteering a couple of days a week. I did the exams over a couple of years and then took a year out from exams and completed a 1yr practical traineeship at a garden. Since then I've done about 18 months as a gardener in an historic garden and I started studying L3 about 6 months ago.
I've found both qualifications really useful.
Hope this is useful.