Unforgettable Gardens: saving our garden heritage

Historic parks and gardens are a much-loved part of our shared national story, appreciated more than ever during lockdown, which has made us all more aware of the role of open space in our lives. Heritage landscapes are important not only for what they tell us about our history but for their contribution to our health and the wellbeing of our communities. Sadly though, these unforgettable gardens are themselves at risk.

Gardens and landscapes have always been vulnerable to destruction through maintenance cuts, neglect, development or mis-management. However, these precious treasures are now more at risk than. The Covid-19 lockdown forced many historic gardens to shut their doors and lose essential ticket and event revenue. Meanwhile public parks have struggled to serve the growing needs of their communities for exercise and outdoor socialising.

Celebrating Unforgettable Gardens

From 2020 to 2023 the Gardens Trust celebrated Unforgettable Gardens – what they mean to us, the threats they face, and how you can help save them for future generations. Even famous landscapes that are registered on the list of Parks and Gardens of Historic Interest can face threats.

We ran a series of online lectures about Unforgettable Gardens arranged in conjunction with County Gardens Trusts (CGTs) around the country.

Many CGTs are undertaking research and recording work to protect important gardens in the county.

The Bicycle Boys: An unforgettable garden tour

The Gardens Trust and County Gardens Trusts (CGTs) have teamed up with the RHS Lindley Library to create an online exhibition called The Bicycle Boys: An Unforgettable Garden Tour. In 1928, young landscape architecture students Loyal Johnson and Sam Brewster cycled around the UK visiting over 80 unforgettable gardens. Loyal’s diary and photographs of their trip were donated to the RHS Lindley Library in 2015. Now they form the basis of an online exhibition, enriched with research by CGTs and modern photographs. View the exhibition here: rhs.org.uk/digital-collections/the-bicycle-boys

Unforgettable Garden of the Month

Since January 2021 we have been featuring an Unforgettable Garden of the Month.

Read about them here:

Polesden Lacey, Surrey

Levens Hall Gardens, Cumbria

Petersfield Physic Garden, Hampshire

Stanwick Lakes Heritage Garden, Northamptonshire

Hardwick Park, County Durham

Hare Hill, Cheshire

Easton Walled Gardens, Lincolnshire

Rivington Terraced Gardens, Lancashire

Cowden Japanese Garden, Scotland

Cressing Temple, Essex

Hestercombe, Somerset

The Plantation Garden, Norwich

The Laskett, Herefordshire

Jardins de Villandry, Loire, France

Aberglasney Garden, Carmarthenshire, Wales

Painswick Rococo Garden, Gloucestershire

Denmans Garden, West Sussex

Princess Gardens and Royal Terrace Gardens, Devon

Castlewellan Arboretum and Annesley Garden, County Down, Northern Ireland

Plas Cadnant, Isle of Anglesey

Get involved in Unforgettable Gardens

If you are not a member, we would love you to join the Gardens Trust to support this work. Many County Gardens Trusts (CGTs) are working on research and recording projects for unforgettable gardens in their areas, so do contact your local CGT!

To find out about other ways to get involved you can download ideas and materials from our Resource Hub. Any idea that helps celebrate and support our garden and landscape heritage will be welcome.

If in the meantime you would like to discuss ideas or possibilities please email lindengroves@thegardenstrust.org

You can also follow what is happening on Twitter: #unforgettablegardens