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. 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.

Stop Press:

A FUN INTRODUCTION TO GARDEN HISTORY IN TEN OBJECTS presented by Garden History Grapevine, in association with The Gardens Trust

Interested in gardens?Want to know more about their history, who made them and why? Come and find out more at this fun day with a serious purpose!

Thursday 12 October 2017, Audley End, Saffron Walden 10.00am to 4.30pm

More details and booking information at https//

Higher education courses

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.

The University of Leicester offers a post graduate distance learning module on The Country House and Its Landscape The Country House and Its Landscape via its Centre for The Study of The Country House.

Continuing Education Courses

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. This term is looking at mediaeval and Tudor gardens, with a term on 17thc gardens starting in January. More details can be found here.

Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education has been running the 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 planned to run there. The first on the History of Botanic Gardens is running now, while a second on Research Skills is being organized to start in January.

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, along with two new courses in January 2018 ‘Gardens of the Italian Dynasties‘ and ‘Gardens of the Veneto’. This term we are being joined by special guest lecturer Helena Attlee.

More details here.