Welcome to the Historic Gardener

PLEASE NOTE, THAT IN THESE TIMES OF LOCKDOWNS AND RESRICTIONS, I CAN GIVE TALKS USING ZOOM.

Gardening has been essential for most people throughout history. Only the wealthy could afford gardens for pleasure alone; most gardens combined beauty with practical use. Food, flavourings, medicines, textiles and dyes could be grown or found growing wild locally. As an ex Head Gardener and a College Lecturer in Horticulture, I have always been as interested in how plants were grown and their uses in daily life as much as the grander gardens with their fountains, statues, terraces, lakes and temples.

I provide talks, displays and advice on gardening through history from the Romans to modern times. I have provided displays for many National Trust and English Heritage sites in the appropriate period costume.

My interest is the practical work, carried out by practical men. Most profesional gardening was mostly the task of men until recently.

I always hung this verse by Kipling on the potting shed wall.

‘Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made 

By singing, ‘O how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade;

While better men than we go out, to start their working lives

At digging weeds from gravel paths, with broken dinner knives!’