Course code PHG213

PHG213 Landscape Plants - Characteristics and Characteristics

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Sally O'Halloran
Teachers: Ole Billing Hansen
ECTS credits: 15
Faculty: Faculty of Landscape and Society
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
The course starts in the August block. The course has teaching/assessment in the August block, the autumn parallel, the January block and the June block.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2011-2012
Preferential right:
Bachelor's degree students in Plant Science, Bachelor's degree students in Landscape Construction and Management, Master's degree students in Landscape Architecture and Master's degree students in Plant Science.
Course contents:
This module introduces you to plants used by landscape professionals in urban and rural landscapes and how these can be used to develop effective planting designs. You will become familiar with; a basic palette of plants used in Norwegian green spaces; their botanical names; visual and use characteristics; familiar with key aesthetic, functional and ecological principles underpinning planting design. Over the course of the academic year, you will learn how it identify and evaluate planting in three layers starting with the herbaceous layer, moving to the shrub and large grasses and finally the tree canopy.
Learning outcome:


  • Demonstrate knowledge of plant systematics and nomenclature
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a basic palette of plants for use in design, including their botanical names, visual and use characteristics
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the value of plants in defining landscape space

Skills and general competence

  • Identify the key plants used in Norwegian green spaces
  • Apply understanding of plant selection for specific site and environmental conditions to real planting designs
  • Develop a planting design journal to show research and critical evaluation of plant use across multiple seasons
Learning activities:
The module is taught primarily through a lecture series, NMBU park guided and independent plant walks, workshops, and a site visit. The lecture series provides the theoretical framework for understanding the principles of planting design focusing on plant characteristics and use. The lectures will also give background information and suggestions for further reading. Workshops encourage a more student led approach and encourage active participation. NMBU park plant walks aim to develop identification skills, to illustrate plant selection in specific site conditions and to critically evaluate plant use across multiple seasons. Development of the planting design journal is supported through workshops, directed reading and group tutorials (academic supervision). You will be expected to work both independently and collaboratively, to consolidate knowledge and skills developed in the lectures, workshops and plant walks through guided independent study.
Teaching support:
Student learning will be supported through a combination of direct contact with teaching staff and online resources on Canvas. Formative feedback will be given in group tutorials (academic supervision) throughout the year to ensure you are progressing with the assessment. There will be access to the course co-ordinator during office hours. Communication between timetabled teaching will be via Canvas.

For help with identification the NMBU park plant collection has been digitized and can be found that There is also a pictorial archive on the NMBU website. Or a paper copy is available in the campus bookshop: Hansen, O.B. (2012). Trees and shrubs in the University park - Maps and Inventory.

Specialist reading will be provided on Canvas.

Recommended prerequisites:
PHG113, BOT100 or equivalent.


The evaluation consists of:

  • Individual plant identification test on late summer flowering perennials (20%). On Canvas. Multiply choice. 1 hour. In the autumn parallel.
  • Individual plant identification test on deciduous trees and shrubs (20%). On Canvas. Multiply choice. 1 hour. In the autumn parallel.
  • Individual plant identification test on winter dendrology and identification of coniferous plants and evergreens (20%). On Canvas. Multiply choice. 1 hour. In the January block.
  • Individual plant identification test on spring and summer flowering perennials (20%). On Canvas. Multiply choice. 1 hour. In the June block.
  • Group assignment titled The Planting Design Journal (20%) composed of 6 evaluations of different planting designs across multiple seasons. All 6 handed in as one portfolio in the June block.
  • Both the group assignments and all written examinations must be passed. A-F
Nominal workload:
375 hours
Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (general study competence)
Reduction of credits:
Type of course:

August block and Autumn parallel: lectures and guided plant walks approx. 40 hours. 1 hour of academic supervision. Workshop 15 hours. 7.5 hours site visit.

January block: Lectures and guided plant walk approx. 12 hours. Workshop 7.5 hours. 1 hour of academic supervision.

June block: Lectures and guided plant walks approx. 18 hours. 1 hour of academic supervision.

An external examiner will approve the assessment arrangements for the course. In addition, the external examiner will take part in the evaluation of the group assignments.
Examination details: Portfolio: Letter grades