Garden History

The story of gardens, of any gardens, is a fascinating one of time, fashion, philosophy and plants; and of the people involved: designers, artists, constructors; clients and their own ideas and desires. These stories are not only interesting, they need to be told, for reasons of preservation and conservation; for sharing knowledge amongst ourselves and for future generations.

gardens and people wishes to build up a stock of articles, stories, theses which throw light on the past and can be shared. If you have such knowledge please get in touch – see ‘how to submit’section.

Garden History Articles

Due to the length of content and the many pictures we include, some articles may take more than a minute to download – please be patient – it is worth it!

The Gardens of Penshurst Place – by Jane Gibbon

You’ll not find the gardens of Penshurst Place featured prominently in garden history books, and no famous designer names come readily to mind when they’re mentioned; nor are they home to any block-buster man-made features, but this is far from saying… [Read full article].

Bees in Gardens – by Penelope Walker

Man’s first interactions with honey bees (Apis species) involved harvesting honey combs from nests in woods and rocks, as shown in prehistoric rock art found in Spain, Africa and India. Gradually, in some areas, people learned how to tend the bees in these natural nests, and finally they developed the skills… [Read full article].

Miss Ima Hogg and her gardens at Bayou Bend (Houston, Texas) – by Bella D’Arcy Reed

… It therefore unsurprising that Ima Hogg became interests in landscape design and gardening, as she believed that gardens and working in gardens was an antidote to depression. A fact that been researched and proven in the decades since… [Read full article].

Chiswick House Gardens Restoration – By Bella D’Arcy

Chiswick House Gardens is a site of international importance both as the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement, and as the setting for one of the most beautiful houses in London… [Read full article].

Bernard Lassus unbuilt garden – By Jill Sinclair

In the third article of an occasional series for Gardens and People, landscape historian Jill Sinclair looks at the extraordinary proposal by French designer Bernard Lassus to reinvent the Jardin des Tuileries in the heart of Paris… [Read full article].

Design Special: Gardens that were never built

Back into place: the reawakening of a long-lost Capability Brown design…[Read full article].

The Gardens of Frances Evelyn, Countess of Warwick

The Story will be presented on the website in three parts:

  • Part 1: The Countess’s Gardens by Bella D’Arcy.
  • Part 2: The Designer of the formal gardens, Harold Peto by Robin Whalley – available in May 10.
  • Part 3: The Discoverers and Conservers, by the present owners, Brian and Diana Creasey – available in July 10.

Historic Restoration in the USA – by Marion Pressley

Marion Pressley is a Leader at Pressley Associates, based in Cambridge Massachusetts, USA. The company has been winning awards since 1977, their latest, Outstanding Design in Landscape Architecture … [Read full article].
Related article: Protecting Cultural Landscapes.

Fruit in 17th Century Gardens – by Sandra Nicholson

When one thinks historically of fruit in the garden, it is likely that the image conjured up will be the walled kitchen garden of the 19th century but two centuries earlier fruit was a major component of the pleasure garden… [Read full article].

The Medieval Garden: Prebendal – By Mike Brown

The Prebendal Manor medieval gardens are the subject of a current Time Team and were also featured in the series ‘Royal Gardeners’, introduced by Alan Titchmarsh, who described the gardens as a “stunning example of a recreated medieval garden”… [Read full article].

The Good Life: exhibition at the Garden History Museum

In 2009, ‘The Good Life’ became a mass movement for the first time since the late 1970s, when the sit-com of the same name juxtaposed self-sufficiency with the tedium of the ‘rat race’… [Read full article].

Gardens that were never built – by Jill Sinclair

Most of us would give almost anything to have our gardens laid out by one of the great designers – a Humphry Repton terrace perhaps, or a Gertrude Jekyll flower border… [Read full article].

Further Garden History Resources


You can find out more about Garden History on these websites:

  • The Garden History Society
  • The Historic Garden Foundation


About Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll was a remarkable woman, a gardener, artist and designer. Find her in Bella D’Arcy’s book, Gardens of Divine Imitation and on this website:


Please respect the copyright of the photographers and the writers. If you wish to reproduce articles and/or pictures anywhere except for purely educational purposes, you must email us to ask permission – please fill in ‘Per

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