Garden History BHT329

Discover the History of Gardens from Around the World

Study this course to learn about the oldest gardens on earth, how they came into existence, and what they depicted. Discover who the key designers of the world have been. Learn about the plant explorers and their contribution to the world of horticulture. See how all these influences have defined modern gardens. Finally, you will see how conservation and restoration are pivotal to maintaining garden history for future generations.

Enhance your horticultural knowledge

Whether you work in the industry or you are just passionate about gardens this course will help you to develop your knowledge of the people involved in developing significant gardens and how their garden designs can be used as inspiration for the modern day gardener.

ACS student comment: "The course has been fabulous because it really made me think beyond my own planting ideas. I have particularly enjoyed the research into noted garden writers and considering the legal aspects of conservation for the future." Melanie Veasey, UK - Garden History course.


Course Outline

There are eight lessons as follows:

1. Introduction

2. Development of Private Gardens

3. Development of Public and Commercial Landscapes

4. Great Gardens & Gardeners of the World

5. People who Influenced Gardens

6. Globalisation of Gardens

7. Scope and Nature of Modern Garden Conservation

8. The Role of Organisations in Garden Conservation

Course Duration -100 hours self paced studies

Course Aims

Become familiar with a brief outline of garden history, reasons for studying garden history, and the scope and nature of garden conservation today.

Discuss the development of private gardens through to the present day and to identify the influence of key factors such as wealth, status, war, travel and function.

Discuss the development of public gardens and commercial landscapes through to the present day and to identify the influence of key factors such as wealth, status, war, travel and function.

Provide examples of gardens and designed landscapes associated with individuals and illustrate the association both from historic and contemporary perspectives.

Identify key individuals such as designers, horticulturists, plant hunters and writers who have influenced horticulture

Describe how various influences from different countries have come together in the modern world to impact on garden designs and built landscape developments, across the modern world, in places other than where those cultural, historic or other influences first originated.

Identify the value of gardens and designed landscapes in terms such as education, heritage, leisure, tourism, plant conservation, economy and conservation of skills; Identify and assess threats to these landscapes and available mitigation measures including legal safeguards; Show an awareness of planning policy, planning law and planning bodies.

Explain the role of ‘English Heritage’ and its equivalents in promoting and protecting significant landscapes; and the role of the Register of Parks & Gardens of Special Historic Interest; Describe the role of other organisations such as CABE Space, Local Authorities, Historic Houses Association, Garden History Society, National Trust, RHS, Council for Conservation of Plants, and private owners of gardens.

Exploring History

Throughout this course, you explore many different historic gardens, in both your country and beyond. Studying these gardens; how they were developed, how they have evolved; and what the have become; can provide not only interesting, but also very practical insights into landscaping and gardening

Stowe Garden 

Stowe in England is a superb example of the traditional landscape park. With its unfolding of movement from house to countryside, it perfectly reflects the idea of a Palladian mansion blending into an Elysian landscape. It is also reflective of a way of life at a given time in history and to this end may be regarded as a classic garden. 

The development of Stowe was somewhat continuous. It was originally designed by Vanbrugh but the formal plan was later relaxed by Bridgeman, and later again by Kent with whom it found its final form. The garden, then, followed the landscape movement in England. It is therefore representative of the society in which it developed where there was an appreciation for art and design, the landscape, and classical taste. Whilst Le Nôtre’s French gardens were his own creations built for the appreciation of his society, the garden at Stowe also owed much to its owner, Lord Cobham. Although it was created in the main by professionals, it also is suggestive of the tastes, traditions, and culture of the time and quite unlike the logical, formal gardens of the French.

There are no finite ends to vistas but instead the garden encourages a further exploration as different sights come into view. As such, the garden provides a continuous feeling of movement. An area known as the Grecian Valley there are smooth rolling contours which are interrupted by groups of dark Scots pines the movement of which flow with the rhythm of a stream. In the background beech trees add to the soft rolling rhythm along with spreading cedars and rounded yews. 

In the original design the accents were provided by obelisks and temples with the trees providing the flowing backdrop. However more recent plantings of columnar trees have added accents which disturb the flow of the original creation by interrupting the movement. The theme of movement is most noticeable in the South Avenue where the flow of the elms up on the higher ground contrasts with the rounded and more static beech trees which are set in lower ground and the view along the avenue is constantly changing as one walks along it towards the house. First up is the Corinthian arch which affords a distant glimpse of the house through it, followed by a view of only sky, then the portico of the house. As one finally arrives at the arch the house can be seen in its full splendour framed by the trees. The avenue then veers off to the left to avoid having a continuous view of the house upon approach and hence prevent the feeling of anti-climax.

The theme of changing views is found elsewhere. For instance, from far away the arch of Amelia provides a view outwards from the Elysian fields to the sky, but from close by it frames the rich lawns which lead up towards the house. Similarly the water course is ever changing. From its beginning at the grotto it flows as a narrow stream through the Elysian fields, becoming wider where the Palladian Bridge spans it and then wider again at the central lake, before re-emerging as a small stream once more beneath the Oxford Bridge. The different lights and seasonal differences also add to the sense of continuously changing views. 

The garden is testament to the growth throughout the landscape period. It still retains the original ha-ha and the double tree line as in the plan by Bridgeman of 1739. In Kent’s plan of 1763 the central vista remains but there are irregularities added to each side and the water has a less formal shape. Later in 1777 Brown was involved in a further loosening of the water shape although again the main vista and the closed and open areas remained intact. Due to the changes throughout the eighteenth century it is difficult to attribute certain features to certain designers rather it is representative of a particular age.

Opportunities Following Study

Garden history not only fulfils a need to understand how gardens have evolved and how they reflect our culture but knowledge of garden history can be of value in a number of different fields such as:

Garden Design
Garden renovation & restoration
Working for councils or heritage trusts
Grounds staff at parks & gardens

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Fee Information (S2)
Prices in Australian Dollars

PlanAust. PriceOverseas Price
A 1 x $822.80  1 x $748.00
B 2 x $438.90  2 x $399.00

Note: Australian prices include GST. 
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