The Gardens Trust is saddened to announce the death of its Vice-President, Susan Campbell

Susan Campbell standing in an orange jacket by a red brick crinkle-crankle wall lined with a flower bed

Susan was a renowned expert in Walled Kitchen Gardens, which she began researching in 1981. Since that time, she visited and photographed over 600 walled kitchen gardens in the UK and abroad. Entries on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest originally didn’t include the sites’ kitchen gardens, but in 1993 English Heritage commissioned a walled gardens thematic report from Susan to guide how these features could be added.

In 1996 Susan published Charleston Kedding, A History of Kitchen Gardening, a definitive guide to walled kitchen gardens told through a study of a fictionalised yet typical garden, given a new name to protect the privacy of the actual site’s owner. In 2006 this was replaced by A History of Kitchen Gardening, in which Charleston Kedding’s real identity was helpfully revealed to be Pyewell Park in Hampshire.

Susan pioneered serious thinking on walled gardens and their conservation, and their role in social history. Her expertise proved invaluable to the maturing historic designed landscape sector. In 2001 she co-founded with Fiona Grant the Walled Kitchen Garden Network in which individuals and organisations can share skills to provide an integrated approach to restoring walled gardens. The WKGN continues to thrive today.

Before becoming a Gardens Trust Vice-President, Susan was a much-valued member of the Conservation Committee of the Garden History Society, the GT’s predecessor organisation, where her wisdom and knowledge was a great asset. “Gardens Trust Chairman Peter Hughes KC commented: “Susan Campbell’s work focussed attention on the significance of walled gardens and, through her work, in recent years walled gardens around the country have been restored and put to new uses.” Susan was awarded the RHS Veitch Memorial Medal in 2023.

Susan will be greatly missed by the Gardens Trust and the wider historic park and garden sector.

Top image © Steffie Shields.

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