Garden History in 10 Objects   

Monday 2 October 2017

The course

A one day ‘taster’ interactive course to explore the diversity and depth of garden history. You’ll get a chance to examine and ask questions about a range of objects connected with the history of gardens and then we’ll  investigate them in context to show how the styles and fashions change.
There will an illustrated  talk on the social history of gardening through the ages  which will look at the role of plants, sculpture and garden buildings as well as  some of the key people involved.  Later, a case study presentation on the history and restoration of Gilbert White’s garden, and  a guided walk with Carlotta Holt, Museum Gardener to see the historically inspired planting around the Bayleaf and  other areas of  the Museum site . This tour  will make the importance of gardens past and present come alive.
The Museum offers an exceptional venue to study gardens in and outside the classroom. If you are interested in history, gardens, or plants then this is a day for you.

The tutor

Letta Jones, MA, is a Lecturer in Horticulture and Garden History. She was at Birkbeck and Capel Manor Colleges in London for 15 years and now teaches at the South London Botanical Institute, City Lit, Wisley Garden, Denman WI and Woodbrooke (Quaker) Colleges ,The National Trust and Garden History Grapevine/The Gardens Trust at the Institute of Historical Research.She was a volunteer garden guide at the Chelsea Physic Garden for 18 years and now contributes to their education programme, as well as being a Green Flag Parks Judge.

David Standing was Head Gardener at Gilbert White’s house for over 35 years and for most of those was researching the layout and planting of Gilbert White’s 18th century garden, as well as being in charge of implementing new plans resulting from this research.  Gilbert White is most well known for his book ‘The Natural History Antiquities of Selborne, but as well as being a naturalist he was also an enthusiastic and skilled gardener who developed an extensive and intricate set of gardens in the Hampshire village of Selborne.

Carlotta Holt is the Museum Gardener at the Weald & Downland Living Museum, where she has worked for the last 10 years.

Participant information

Places are limited to 25 people. Please bring with you a pen and paper. Please bring warm outdoor clothing and suitable shoes as the day will include a tour of the Museum gardens.


£60 per person, including tuition, teas and coffees.
The Museum café will be open for lunch-time snacks or alternatively participants can bring their own packed lunch.

The Museum

The Weald & Downland Living Museum has over 45 historic building exhibits. It is also home to the award winning and innovative Downland Gridshell, which houses a conservation workshop and artefact store, and is also used for many practical courses. The Museum runs a full programme of courses in historic building conservation and traditional rural trades and crafts, along with MSc programmes in Building Conservation and Timber Building Conservation validated by the University of York. Please telephone for further details.