The Garden History Podcast

A Voyage around Garden History in 26 Letters

Welcome to "The Garden History Podcast"

An introduction to the plants, places and people that you can find within the subject of Garden History presented in alphabetical order with a short podcast devoted to each letter.

The idea for this podcast came after I started an A-Z of garden History on my Twitter feed which you can find at @AdvollyR. This will give you a sneak preview of what I will be covering but for the podcast I have changed some of the letters to give you a wider choice of terms.

But first of all what is garden history? You could say that Garden history is the study of the development of gardens and gardening in response to social and economic changes over the centuries. These changes were often influenced by key factors such as politics, religion, wealth, status, travel and even conflict. More importantly the study of garden history helps us to understand and therefore value our historic designed gardens and landscapes which include public parks, allotments and cemeteries. So throughout the episodes I am hoping that you will find something that will intrigue, inspire and encourage you to take a look into this wonderfully diverse subject.


for American Gardens

During the 18th century North America's indigenous plants were more freely available to British gardeners. The new arrivals became very popular leading to the creation of "American Gardens" within larger estates.


for Bastion.

Throughout the long history of gardens there have always been innovators who tended to do their own thing just because they could. Well during the 18th century there was a flurry of military inspired symbolism both in architecture and garden design.

Picture credits: Dr. William Stukeley, The Duchess’s Bastion in Grimsthorpe Gardens (1736), Bodleian Library, Oxford.


for Coade Stone.

Of course no historic garden or landscape is complete without a bust, statue or an urn, and so I would like to introduce you to Mrs Eleanor Coade (1733 – 1821) one of the very few women acknowledged for her contribution to 18th and early 19th century garden history.



for Derby Arboretum.

In the mid 19th century early public parks reflected the great Victorian interest in the study of all aspects of the natural world. One of the earliest public parks was the Derby Arboretum which was created for a city that had been expanding rapidly as a result of industrialization.


for Elvaston Castle.

Emotions have always played a part in the creation and appreciation of gardens and love was the overriding emotion when the Earl of Harrington commissioned the gardens at his country seat at Elvaston Castle, Derbyshire.

Image credits:
Petersham :
Maria Foote:
Mon Plaisir: (Richard Keene c.1859)


for Thomas Fairchild.

Today, hybridisation is a common and important method of developing plants with new features. Thomas Fairchild was the first person to achieve this at his nursery near London. However the beliefs prevalent at the time suppressed this new discovery and left Thomas in fear for his soul.

Image credits:
Thomas Fairchild : Wikipedia - Art UK, Public Domain
Fairchilds Mule : Oxford Herbaria


for Giverny.

Gardens have always inspired artists and their paintings contribute much to the research and understanding of different periods in Garden History, indeed the act of creating a garden has been compared to creating a work of art. Claude Monet's garden at Giverny was created from scratch by the artist as a gardener, and became his favourite subject as a painter.

Image credits:
Photograph: GettyImages-530856444-1024x781
Painting : Wikipedia


for Hermitage.

In the 18th century, any landscape of note was not complete without a collection of garden buildings and other eclectic features. However a rather eccentric but short lived trend during this time resulted in the frequent appearance of the ornamental hermitage. These artificially unkempt dwellings were often concealed in woodland within the landscape. This remoteness ensured a lively response from any visitor who happened upon it especially if there was a real hermit in residence.

Image credits:
Painshill Hermitage drawing by Friedrich Ludwig von Sckell: The Hermit in the Garden: From Imperial Rome to Ornamental Gnome, Gordon Campbell
John Milton :