logocolour bestWelcome 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.

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March Extra II

The Oxford Literary Festival: 25 March – 2 April 2017

Amongst the wide range of writers appearing at this year’s Oxford Literary Festival are three in particular that may be of interest to garden historians:

25th March: Dan Pearson on ‘Natural Selection: A Year in the Garden’

26th March: John Phibbs on ‘Place Making: The Art of Capability Brown’

30th March: Michael Heseltine on ‘The Creation of an English Garden’

For full details and booking information visit http://oxfordliteraryfestival.org/authors/2017

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March Extra


The Garden History Grapevine are offering two new courses on the History of Public Parks.
(1) on five Mondays between April 3 and 22 May 2017
(2) 19 September – 5 December 2017

For full details of topics, dates, times and booking please see our Grapevine Garden History page


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MARCH 2017

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817 – 1911)

A small exhibition about Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, Victorian botanist, plant hunter and Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, will open at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens on 25 March, running until 17 September 2017.

Later in the year – on 30 June, 2017 – there will be a conference, also at Kew, which will include amongst contributions from a long list of speakers, a talk by Dr Jim Endersby, Reader in the History of Science at University of Sussex, who gave the BGHG 2016 Annual Lecture.  The Conference will be of interest to anyone interested in the  history of science, particularly botany, botanical illustration, exploration and empire.

Further information and booking is available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/joseph-dalton-hooker-bicentenary-meeting-the-making-of-modern-botany-tickets-31249412835

New Books

The long-awaited book by Johnny Phibbs: Place-Making: The Art of Capability Brown is due to be published at the end of this month. Details of this book can be found on our Garden History Publications page, together with a further four books of interest to garden historians due for publication during March 2017.

New Courses

Details of further courses at London’s City Literary Institute have been added to our Other Garden History Courses page

Explore two unusual London Parks  Saturday, 24 June 2017

In search of beauty: the life and work of William Morris Saturday, 1 July 2017


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February Extra

Architecture and Gardening: Sister Arts, English and Czech Perspectives

Stowe House, Bucks
A two-day seminar: 5th – 7th April, 2017.
For more information download stowe-flierrev20jan25

Three New courses at the City Literary Institute

have been added to our Other Garden History Courses page

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February 2017

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 bghgbookings@gmail.com

Download the bghg-study-day-programme


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January Extra

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

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January 2017 Update

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.

2017 programme
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.

New Exhibition
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.

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