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Wotton, Bucks

Courses include 1-day or weekend courses, short courses over a few weeks, as well as those lasting one or more academic terms.   Amongst current providers are:  



The History of Gardens.  

Running from April 2024 to April 2025, this online course aims to help participants recognise important eras, themes and styles in mainly British garden history from the earliest times to today, grasp something of the social, economic, political and international contexts in which gardens have been created and find greater pleasure in visiting historic gardens.  Participants can sign up for whole series or opt to attend individual talks. 

The  first series of 5 lectures, on Tuesdays 10.00 -11.30 will comprise the following: 

April 16: Elizabethan Gardens

23 April: First Gardens 

30 April: Medieval Gardens 

7 May: Early Mughal Gardens 

14 May: Italian Renaissance Gardens 

To see more details and book your place click HERE 

The Gardens Trust in association with Oxford University Department of Continuing Education

Oxford Study Weekend: New Perspectives on Botanical Gardens

18.00 on 31 May - 12.45 on 2 June 2024 

This Study Weekend will seek to explore and debate the contribution of botanical gardens to research, education, conservation, well-being and commerce from the 17th century to the present day. New scholarship will be presented to illuminate the involvement of designers, plant hunters, gardeners, scientists, artists, governments and local communities – and to tell the forgotten stories of those who suffered as plants became commodities in global trade. The weekend will include tours of the Oxford Botanic Garden.

For full details and to book a place 


A new MA in Garden History started in October 2023. The next opportunity to join the course will be September 2024 

The course will be a research- rather than taught-degree and can be taken over 1 or 2 years. 

The course will be organised around a series of case study seminars looking at significant sites, which will be led by owners and professionals. These will be complemented by background lectures about the period to give a wider context. There will also be a number of day visits to other important historic gardens.

Seminars will be held at the university’s base in central London while the lectures will be online. To find out more.


The Anglo-American Gardens of Tuscany - Tuesdays 30 April - 2 July 2024 from 18.00 -20.00

Art historian, Deborah Trentham will explore the writers, artists, art historians, garden designers and garden owners based in and around Florence at the turn of the twentieth century to ask why was this largely expatriate community in Tuscany, and why were the gardens the created and encountered of such importance to them. 

This course has now been cancelled by Imperial College: if you are interested contact The Garden Historians who will run the course themselves if there is sufficient interest.


It’s not all Country Life: the new urban garden - Wednesdays 17 April - 19 June 2024 from 10.00 -12.00

The 21st century is proving to be a sea-change in how gardens are created and maintained. Climate change, new plants and design challenges combine to create a whole new dialogue around the contemporary garden.  This course will explore many of ground-breaking new gardens, designers and approaches, rural and urban, small and large.  For full deails and to book a place click on the link above.

 Using a broad definition of what has become known as the landscape garden, this course will explore the design of 'hard' elements like bridges, temples, arches, grottoes and follies within the wider context of architecture over the centuries. Participants will be encouraged to consider the aesthetic impact of architectural elements within gardens as a whole, whether an enclosed, urban garden or a far-ranging landscape, and the course will look at the challenges involved in preserving and interpreting historic gardens and landscapes.

Full for full details of course content and structure,and to book a place click the link above.


Online course: Lancelot Brown: Reassessing the 'Capabilities'. Wednesday 16 October 2024 from 10.00 -13.00

This course will, perhaps controversially, explore how many of Brown's schievements were genuinely his sole vision. When looking at the man behind the name, what, in fact, was his true ‘capability’? This course examines whether it was not just his aesthetic insight – nor even his practical gardening talents – that set Brown apart from his peers, but something entirely more mercenary.

IN-PERSON COURSES at Oxford University Department of Continuing Education

Gardens and horticulture have been a central part of human civilisation, and any changes in our gardens reflect changes in the wider society and vice versa. This course explores the origins of the Italian Renaissance Garden, its key features, elements and underlying principles as well as their far-reaching legacy of its Victorian, early 20th century revival.

Fuller details can be found by clicking the link above, where you can also enrol. -

New Perspectives on Botanical Gardens - 18.00 on Friday 31 May to 12.45 on Sunday 2 June 2024

This weekend course will explore and debate the contribution of botanical gardens to research, education, conservation, well-being and commerce from the 17th century to the present day.  New scholarship will be presented to illuminate the involvement of designers, plant hunters, gardeners, scientists, artists, governments and local communities – and to tell the forgotten stories of those who suffered as plants became commodities in global trade. The weekend will include tours of the country's oldest botanic garden: Oxford Botanic Garden/

For details and to book click the link above.

IN-PERSON COURSE: Cambridge Botanic Garden

Painters in their Places: Exploring the Interplay between Gardens and Art - 20 September to 22 November 2024

The course will comprise 3 monthly sessions from 10.00 - 13.00:

Session 1 Friday 20th September 2024: John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) and Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923): Portraits of Places and People, Gardens and Garments, History and Cultures. Moving between England, Spain, Italy and Americas we will examine the way in which the concept of gardens as redolent of both antique culture and Edwardian upper-class tastes integrated with portrayals of people, fashions and politics in this late 19th/Early twentieth century period.

Session 2 Friday 25th October 2024: Charleston and the Bloomsbury Group Creating Across Boundaries (c.1907-1950s).  Famously described as ‘Living in Squares and Loving in Triangles’ the Bloomsbury Group also lived (and loved) in gardens of all shapes and sizes. In this session we will concentrate on the overlap between the creation of gardens and the creation of art, textiles and interior design at Charleston, Sussex, but will also look at other Bloomsbury gardens and their link to literature.

Session 3 Friday 22nd November 2024: Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious and the artists of Great Bardfield: Gardens, Landscapes, Heritage and Textiles (c. 1920s-1970s). Taking inspiration from the wide range of paintings, prints, posters and book illustrations by Bawden and Ravilious we will explore the links with gardens from Great Bardfield to Kew, Bawden’s work with garden furnishings and his Garden Diary. We will also reference the artists group at Benton End ‘led’ by Cedric Morris and the impact of war on the portrayal of landscape and garden. 

FOR DETAILS AND TO BOOK. Please Note: Booking will close on 5 September 2024



Queens, Duchesses and Plant Collectors - Thursdays 23 May 2024 from 13.00 -14.30 at Burgh House, Hampstead. The course will also be available online later each day.  Participants can book for all six weeks or for an individual session/s.

Over the six weeks of the course six gardens around London, from the early 17th to the early 19th Centuries, will be explored, along with the personalities connected with them and the plants and horticulturial developments associated with each.

Click on the link above to see details of each weekly session and to book tickets.

A History of English Gardens from the Tudors to the Stuarts (online) - Thursdays 3 October - 5 December 2024 from 18.00 -19.30

Described as 'An introduction to English gardens', this course will study, in-depth, the stories and the development of some remarkable English gardens, and the designers associated with their creation and developnent.

Click on the link above to see details of each weekly session and to book tickets.

The City Literary Institute

Archaeology of London gardens: Saturday 11 May 2024 from 11.00-16.00

This 1-day course will explore ways in which archaeological excavations have been used to research garden designs and features at some of the UK's most well known, and also lesser known, parks and gardens. Examples both from London and from the surrounding areas will be used to gain an overall understanding of this lesser publicised side of the archaeology of the past.

City Gardens of the Blitz: Saturday 11 May 2024 from 14.00 - 16.15

'Discover the delightful gardens of the City of London created from WWII bomb sites. Revealing the history of the sites - including past industrial buildings, Roman ruins, and the sites of a former Wren churches and a Roman bath house - this walk spans the length of the City.'

For full details and to book a place click the links above.

~ none current ~


Diploma in Garden History This Diploma course is currently a blend of online learning and study days/weekends. The course consists of five units which are divided over four terms within the two-year duration of the course, If you would like to find out more and to register an interest in the next course go to RBGE Diploma 

are offering 4-week online course The History of Garden Design. Taught by Dr Toby Musgrave, this course can be taken at any time, with a choice of two available formats.

‘Ornamental gardens are complex, three-dimensional, (albeit overlooked) works of art, and ever since the first garden was made in Ancient Egypt some 4,300 ago they have acted as cultural barometers…………….’  Read more about this online course at The History of Garden Design including how to book
A separate course on offer from the same source is The Conservation of Historic Gardens. This course is taught by Dr Aubrey Gerber, a specialist in garden conservation  

'Garden style is defined by a relationship between fashion and function. Influenced by politics, art and socio-economic trends, historic gardens provide us with opportunities for simple recreation or complex education from which we can learn about past cultures, horticultural techniques and patterns of life. Historic gardens are not living museums; they are enriched and challenged by change. Understanding the origin and influence of these changes, and recognising our capacity and responsibility to sensitively manage change, is the essence of conservation.

In this course Audrey will explain why conservation is relevant to you, locally and globally. You will learn how to research a site, using formal and informal sources. This will enable you to write a detailed statement of significance, which is essential to articulating why a site deserves to be conserved.

Follow the links above to learn more detials of each course. 


This course explores the evolution of gardens from Roman times to the present day and how they have evolved to reflect our culture. Course content, delivered through 8 lessons, will cover garden designers, great gardens and gardeners of the world, private and public gardens, globalisation of gardens, scope and nature of modern garden conservation, the roles of organisations in garden conservation and much more.

The course is a self-paced, 100-hour course that is studied by distance learning. It can be started anytime from anywhere in the world, and will be of interest to anyone with an interest in garden history and useful to those working in fields such as Garden Design, Landscaping, Garden Renovation & Restoration, Conservation, History, working for local councils or Heritage Trusts, and staff working on the ground in parks and gardens. For a detailed description of course content and to enrol visit ACS Distance Education 


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