We’re pleased to say that after a rather depressing past few years of watching the numbers of courses in the garden history decline things are looking up again, particularly in London and Birmingham.    If you know of any other courses that are running, or planned to run, then we’d be delighted to add them to our list.



Central  London

presented by Garden History Grapevine in association with the Gardens Trust.

This is the second of our courses about Plants in Garden History.   It is complementary rather than a follow on to one run this autumn, cso you do not need to have attended in the autumn term to enjoy it!   It is  based at the Institute of Historical Research in Bloomsbury, which is the world’s leading centre for research into all aspects of History, and runs the country’s only MA course in Garden History.  The class will be held on Tuesday mornings, starting from 15th Januray  from 10.30-1.00, but there are also off-site visits to the Natural History Museum herbarium and archives and 2 all day ones to Kew, including to the little known Economic Botany collection. There will also be talks from L:ucy Smith, the botanical illustrator and Nick Bailey from Gardeners World.

Classes will be small [max size 16] with lively illustrated lectures, visits, opportunities for discussion and further personal reading & research suggestions if you wish.

 £273 [+ the eventbrite booking fee] 

More details and booking at



Highbury Hall,  Birmingham January 2019

Are you a keen gardener? Or are you searching for a Christmas present for someone?

A fabulously engaging and interesting garden history course is taking place at Highbury in January, where two very knowledgeable and entertaining tutors will enlighten attendees on all things garden history! The course offers an overview of garden history from the Egyptians to the present day. The sessions will comprise a lively mix of illustrated lectures, hands-on activities and opportunities for discussion. Archive materials and illustrative examples from Highbury will be included.

The basic outline of the course will take a chronological approach over 3 sessions.

15th, 22nd and 29th January from 09.45 – 16.30.
Highbury, 4 Yew Tree Road, Birmingham
£150 for 3 sessions, lunches & refreshments.
£75 for NUS registered students.

Book now & look forward to brightening up your new year!



Including some elements of garden or landscape history include:

The MA in Garden and Landscape History at the Institute of Historical Research has now been running for 3 years.

The Department of Landscape at The University of Sheffield offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses as well as research opportunities.

The University of Greenwich run a range of courses in their school of Architecture and Landscape, some in partnership with Hadlow College.

Birmingham City University have just started a new postgraduate course on the Conservation of the Historic Environment.

A range of courses in Horticulture, Landscape Architecture & Garden Design are also run at Writtle College in Essex.

Capel Manor College now offers an Urban Green Space Management Foundation Degree (Horticulture), which provides specialist technical horticultural knowledge and practice as well as the skills required to manage urban green spaces.


City Lit, the country’s largest provider of adult education in central London, has, after 3 years of single term courses on various aspects of garden history, agreed to run a 4 year rolling programme covering the subject chronologically. So far the course has looked at mediaeval and Tudor gardens, 17thc gardens and early 18thc gardens.  In September 2018  the course will cover gardens and designed landscapes of the late 18thc – including the Picturesque, the Sublime, and Humphry Repton.  In January 2019 the course will cover the early 19thc including the Loudons, Joseph Paxton and Shirley Hibberd.   Full details of these courses will be available from City Lit from June when their new brochure is published.   Sign up for their course brochure here:   and once it’s been published use the same address and search for “garden history” to book.

Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education has been running an on-line course, devised by former Gardens Trust/GHS trustee Tim Richardson, for several years, and it continues to remain highly sought after and recommended. ‘This course is the ideal introduction to English garden history. It provides an overview of five centuries of development, from Baroque formalism through the naturalistic landscape style, right up to contemporary cutting-edge planting style.’ More details here.


Grapevine is a new initiative to establish more garden history courses across the country.  It started in December 2015 when the Gardens Trust was involved in an initial meeting with representatives of the National Trust, English Heritage, the Royal Horticultural Society, Chelsea Physic Garden, the Professional Gardeners Guild, the Birkbeck Garden History Group and a group of independent garden history lecturers to look at the possibilities, problems and opportunities.

The outcome was very positive. Amongst the results was a taster day, sponsored by the Birkbeck Group, attended by over 50 people, and two 6 week introductory courses for 16 people each, both held at London University’s Institute of Historical Research. All had waiting lists. A series of specialist courses have also been run there including ones on the History of Botanic Gardens, the History of Public Parks, and another  on Research Skills.  In September 2018 Grapevine will be running a 12 week course on Plants in Garden History, and another on Humphry Repton in Context.   More about Grapevine at:

Courses have also started in Birmingham in the spring of 2018 based at both Winterbourne Botanic Gardens at the University of Birmingham, and at Highbury Hall, the former home of Joseph Chamberlain.

Grapevine has also helped lead to other smaller initiatives taking place in the professional training of those entering horticulture as a career.

It is hoped that this will be a sustainable long term project, and discussions are already underway for some pilot schemes outside London. We will keep you posted!

Other courses

The Garden Historians offer a range of courses from their base at Burgh House, Hampstead. They ‘were established in 2013 to address the lack of teaching in garden history  and to promote the study of the subject more broadly.’ They run a free introductory course each September, and ran two new courses in January 2018 ‘Gardens of the Italian Dynasties‘ and ‘Gardens of the Veneto’ with  guest lecturer Helena Attlee.

More details here.