Courses & Lectures

The Gardens Trust runs a range of garden history courses and lectures and has taken all its educational activities online.

You can find details on our Events page but the easiest way of staying in touch and getting advanced notice  is to sign up on the homepage for our monthly e-bulletin, which comes out mid-month with details of events the following month.


Higher education courses which contain some elements of landscape or garden history include:

The MA in Garden and Landscape History at the Institute of Historical Research has now been running for four years. Unfortuantely we have been told that it is likely to close in 2022 and that the intake this autumn will therefore be the last.

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 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh runs a Diploma Course in Garden History. This covers a wide range of historical aspects and provides students with a rounded education in the subject as well as more in-depth knowledge of selected areas such as Italian gardens and their influence on British garden design and also Victorian. More details on the RBGE website.

In collaboration with the Gardens Trust, the University of Buckingham offer a PhD in Garden History, available on a full-time or part-time basis, taking three or six years respectively. This is an advanced research degree awarded for a thesis based on a substantial piece of independent and original research. Research topics can range from the history of garden design and the creation of particular gardens through to evolving attitudes towards nature and its relationship to the built environment, the Sublime and the Picturesque, and the critical assessment of garden-designers and their work.


City Lit, the country’s largest provider of adult education in central London, has been running garden history courses for the last five or six years. Unfortunately it is uncertain whether they will continue into the next academic year. Details are on the City Lit website.

Learning with Experts The Gardens Trust has recently begun working with Learning with Experts and supporting a new online 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. 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.

Follow the links for more information on the Conservation of Historic Gardens course and details of the discount available to Gardens Trust members, or for a course preview or to book a place.

Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education has been running an online 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.

LI Campus Gardens Trust members can now access a wide range of educational videos and live webinars, at the Landscape Institute’s new, online ‘LI Campus’. The Campus currently consists mainly of the LI’s own training events, conferences and talks since 2016, but is being expanded to include events from other leading organisations in the sector. Follow this link to browse the events list and to register. The LI has kindly agreed to give GT members a 50% discount on the annual subscription. Please email if you are a GT member and would like to use this discount.


Grapevine was an initiative, started in December 2015,  to establish more garden history courses across the country.  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 were regular courses run for the Trust at the Institute of Historical Research which is part of London University. Courses  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 couple of museums and botanic gardens, as well as the National Arboretum.

Additionally Grapevine 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.

These activities obviously stopped with the pandemic but Grapevine has switched online and merged with the Gardens Trust’s own activities.

Other courses

John Horsey Horticulture run a 20 week Zoom course of live interactive talks hosted by Garden Historian John Horsey M.A., Fellow of the Linnean Society, covering the full range of Garden History from the very first gardens to the present day.

This non-accredited course has no written assessments and as the notes are sent to you before each session you can relax as you learn.

Full details can be found on:’.

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 about the Garden Historians here.