Welcome to the Birkbeck Garden History Group web site. The group is interested in studying garden history through lectures, garden visits and exhibitions and in encouraging others to become interested in the subject of garden history. Click on the links along the top of the page to find out more about the BGHG and our activities. Click ‘Follow’ at the bottom of this page on the right to receive alerts when new items are posted.
Gardens and The Far East
Study Day- Saturday, 11th March 2017 10.00 – 16.30
Venue: The Institute of Historic Research, Wolfson Room, Senate House North Block, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU. (Nearest underground stations are Russell Square and Goodge Street)
Our 2017 Study Day will explore gardens in Japan and Burma, plant hunting in China and the spread of chinoiserie in Europe. Lectures will include a mix of general surveys and particular case studies.
Tickets: £30 for BGHG members in advance; £33 for non-members; or £35 for all at the door, subject to availability. Tickets include tea, coffee and biscuits.
Book by Eventbrite https://bghg-gardens-and-the-far-east.eventbrite.co.uk
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
Download the bghg-study-day-programme
Gardens of Loire Valley, France – 9 day Study trip
Monday 4 – Tuesday 12 September 2017
Leaders: Letta Jones, MA and David Marsh PhD, supported by ACE Cultural Tours
Offering a rich mix of gardens from chateaux to public parks, this tour will include visits ranging from private historic sites to the latest creative designs at the Chaumont Garden Festival. There are plenty of things to appeal to the plants enthusiast too – fine ‘champion’ trees, specialist tomato and citrus gardens, and a university botanic garden. It’s a great opportunity to study the varied traditions of French garden design.
For full details and booking information please download the loire-valley-flyer
Our main focus this month is preparing for our AGM on 20th February – see the December Update below for all the details. Papers for the AGM, including nomination papers, will be sent out to all members later in January.
As well as organising our annual Study Day and Lecture the BGHG Committee has been busy over the last few months putting together an interesting programme of garden visits. We have been able to gain access to a number of gardens not normally accessible to the public or that can only be visited as part of a group. See out BGHG Future Events page for all the details.
Interested in visiting Yorkshire Gardens?
We are still also garnering interest in a potential 3-day (2 nights) visit to Yorkshire Gardens in mid-late September. If you are a BGHG member and this might be of interest to you please download the publication_yorkshire-gardens_flyer and let us know if you are interested. We need to know there is sufficient interest before we go ahead and come up with a firm proposal.
New Garden History courses.
A new course: Exploring Garden History, is being offered by the RHS Lindley Library. Aimed at those with no prior knowledge or experience of garden history it will provide a comprehensive overview of 500 years of garden history in the UK. See our Other Garden History Courses page for further information.
Also at the RHS Lindley Library, 11th January to 10th March, is a new Exhibition: Pigments and Petal, showcasing the work of 19th century amateur flower painter, Caroline Maria Applebee, who produced over 300 artworks featuring a variety of different flowering plant species. See our Outside Events page for full details, including drop-in curator’s tours of the exhibition on 2nd February.
A new fountain to commemorate Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown.
At BGHG’s Study Visit to Wotton, a Brown landscape in Buckinghamshire, in April 2016, Johnny Phibbs gave a lecture entitled ‘249 days left to get Brown a plaque in Westminster Abbey’.
Now as we reach the end Brown’s tercentenary year, and well with the Johnny Phibbs 249-day target, Westminster Abbey has announced not a plaque but a fountain is to be installed on the site of a monastic well in the Abbey’s Great Cloister. Read the details here http://www.westminster-abbey.org/press/news/2016/september/westminster-abbey-to-install-fountain-to-mark-capability-brown-anniversary
Announcement of the fountain was reported too in the Washington Post of 16th December under the banner The landscape architect who bottled nature https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/the-landscape-architect-who-bottled-nature/2016/12/16/640942f6-ad0f-11e6-977a-1030f822fc35_story.html?utm_term=.ec0797d51dee
Birkbeck Garden History Group Annual General Meeting
Monday 20th February 2017 at 6.30pm (doors open 6.00pm)
Following the business meeting Dr. Clare Hickman, BSc. MSc., a historian with an interest in the connections between landscape design and medical practice will give a talk entitled ‘The want of a proper Gardiner’: Late Georgian Scottish University botanic gardens and their gardeners’.
Often overlooked, specialist gardeners were central to the teaching and research activities of University botanic gardens beyond their horticultural tasks. In this talk the concept of what being a ‘good’ or ‘proper’ gardener meant in the late Georgian period in terms predominately of expertise, but also of moral character, will be examined. Initially the focus will be on two named head gardeners, William Lang and John Williamson, and their activities in relation to the medical Faculties of Glasgow and Edinburgh respectively. Finally a study of the varied roles of the Edinburgh gardener, artist and anatomist, Andrew Fyfe, will be used to examine how botanical teaching approaches were shared with other subjects.
NOMINATIONS TO THE COMMITTEE are invited from BGHG members for the year March 2017 to February 2018. Nomination forms will be circulated, together with AGM papers, to all members in the New Year.
All positions on the committee require re-election on an annual basis and two existing members are not available for re-election in the coming year. Please consider whether you or another member you know would be interested in being nominated.
We are particularly keen to find a new committee member willing to undertake the role of Treasurer or Secretary to the committee. If you are interested and would like to know more do get in touch. Our committee meets approximately every two months during the daytime for about two hours at a central London location. Members share the range of tasks that need to be undertaken to carry out our programme of visits and other events and plenty of support and guidance is available to those who join the committee.
Information on workshops and courses at the Cambridge Botanic Garden in 2017 have been added to the Other Garden History Courses page.
Two new books, the beautifully illustrated Garden Flora by Noel Kingsbury; and Lives of Great Gardeners by The Times’s longstanding writer on gardens and gardening, Stephen Anderton, have been added to our Garden History Publications page
A Date for your Diary
Birkbeck Garden History Group Annual General Meeting
Monday, 20th February at 6.30pm.
Further details will be posted here in the New Year.
Annual Lecture: 29th November at 6.30pm details below under November Update.
Tickets are still available: Book with Eventbrite for £14.00 or £16.00 at the door. https://bghg-endersby-hooker-lecture.eventbrite.co.uk
Two books by Tim Richardson, one newly published, have been added to our publications page