A History of Gardens online course

Our new online course A History of Gardens starts after Easter. Sponsored by Wooden Books, the course is aimed at anyone curious about gardens and their stories – whether absolute beginners or those with some garden history knowledge.

What is a garden? Why were they created as they were? What influences were at play in garden-making, and how have gardens evolved and developed over time? These are the questions we’ll explore as we traverse the history of gardens through the ages.

Each series of A History of Gardens will consist of 5 Tuesday morning talks, with the chance to join each session live or view a recording for up to 2 weeks afterwards. As well as opportunities to discuss issues with speakers after each talk, we’ll provide short reading lists for further exploration. You’ll be able to sign up for whole series or dip into individual talks.

Pieter Brueghel the Younger. Spring. National Museum of Art of Romania. Public domain.

The first series will kick off with 5 online lectures on Early Gardens, running weekly on Tuesday mornings from 16th April 2024. The opening session will look at the glory of the Elizabethan garden, from designs fit for a queen to the more modest plots of the 16th century garden owner. Talks in the following weeks will go back in time to explore the magnificent gardens of ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome; the splendours of early Mughal gardens and Italian Renaissance gardens; the quiet beauty of the medieval garden; seeking to understand how and why they were made, and to trace their influence on later designs, particularly in England.

We’ll be running five further sessions of A History of Gardens through to April 2025:

  • a 2nd series (September 2024) on 17th century gardens, with a focus on the Baroque,
  • a 3rd series (November 2024) on 18th century gardens, particularly the landscape style and the Picturesque,
  • a 4th series (January 2025) on the eclecticism of 19th century gardens,
  • a 5th series (late February 2025) on Arts and Crafts gardens of the late 19th and early 20th centuries,
  • a 6th series (April 2025) on more modern gardens.

For more information on A History of Gardens and to book your place, visit thegardenstrust.org/events or email us on education@thegardenstrust.org.

We’re grateful to Wooden Books, our sponsor for the first three series of A History of Gardens. Wooden Books is the world’s leading Liberal Arts and Sciences pocket series.

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Painswick Roccoco Gardens, the Red House, Photo © Joab Smith