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.


We’re  pleased to announce that next term at the Institute of Historical Research we will running a course on the History of Commercial Gardening, covering nurseries, market gardens and seed companies etc., with a look at the future of the British horticultural industry as well. It will bne led by Dr David Marsh but we’ve also got some excellent outside guest speakers  – including this year’s Master of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, Dr Heather Barrett-Mold,  Dr Jill Francis, Val Bott and Dr Audrey Gerber. There will also be two visits – one to the Museum of English Rural Life at Reading University to see their some of their extensive archives, and the other to Rochford’s nursery, with Paul Rochford, the owner who is also a past Master of the Gardeners.
The course will run for 11 weeks from Tuesday 14th January until Tuesday 24th March and will cost £258 [+ booking fee].  The provisional programme and booking details etc are, as usual, on Eventbrite  and in order to be fair to everyone tickets will not be available until 9.00 on Sunday 17th  November.
Please get in touch if you have any questions about it
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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 4 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 been running garden history courses for the last 5 or 6 years. Next term’s is on The Golden Age of Gardening, looking at horticulture in the later Victorian and Edwardian eras.   Full details at   and search by course name.

Learning with Experts

The Trust has recently begun working with Learning with Experts, and supporting a new on-line course on the Conservation of Historic Gardens, directed by Dr Audrey Gerber, a Research Associate at the University of Sheffield. Audrey specialised in the flowering and growth physiology of ornamental woody perennials, and her work at Sheffield, with James Hitchmough and colleagues in the Department of Landscape, integrates this specialised horticultural knowledge with a sophisticated understanding of spatial design at the community plant level, and contemporary ecological theory. Combining this perspective with her expertise in heritage conservation, Audrey is well positioned to influence gardens and landscapes past, present and future, encouraging appreciation and strategic investment for the well being of society.

More information and a course preview at

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 set up 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 have been regular courses run for the Trust at the Institute of Historical Research which is aprt of London University.  Courses have also started in Birmingham based at Winterbourne Botanic Gardens at the University of Birmingham. We have also  run introductory days and short courses in conjunction with several County Gardens Trusts and a cuple of museums as well as the National Arboretum.

Additionally Grapevine has also helped lead to other smaller initiatives taking place in the professional training of those entering horticulture as a career, and in continuing professional development, with the National Trust, Royal Horticultural Society and English Heritage.

It is hoped that this will all become  sustainable longer term projects, and 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.’

More details here.