Garden History is a fascinating subject. It covers a vast array of topics including gardens, plants, social history, and associated people: from the earliest gardens of Persia and Egypt, down the centuries to the latest garden design or fashionable flower at this year's Chelsea Flower Show, to our current concerns about loss of habitat and biodiversity.
I have a Masters in Garden History as well as a passion for plants and gardening, and my blogs will cover various aspects of garden history with particular emphasis on the late Victorian/Edwardian period, the horticultural press of the time (a fascinating subject in itself!), plant-hunters, horticultural figures of the day, and the early photographers from the1840's - who often used their own gardens and plants as subjects.
If, however, you want a sequential history of gardens down the ages, there are courses and other websites for that (the Gardens Trust would be a good place to start). My blogs are purely a romp around the subject - touching on stories about gardens, plants and people that catch my interest, and that I hope you will also find interesting.
For bite-sized posts on garden history-related topics, as well as photographs of my own garden and plants, please visit my Instagram account: gardenhistorygirl.
Castlewellan Arboretum and the Annesley Garden
Back in 2010, I visited Castlewellan in County Down, Northern Ireland, during a garden history tour, primarily to see its arboretum. At the time however, we had little information about its history and it appeared slightly neglected and overgrown – especially the remaining Victorian glasshouses. Castlewellan's somewhat mysterious atmosphere certainly made an impression – which stayed with me over the years, and I've always meant to research it. It's only recently however, that I stumbled across a wealth of information about Castlewellan in the Victorian horticultural press. In the autumn of 2022, I started to look into its story and contacted the Head Gardener there, Alwyn Sinnamon. My timing couldn't have been better. Castlewellan had begun a 4-year restoration project and were keen to promote it. They have therefore been very generous in sharing information, answering queries, and allowing me the use of many unpublished photographs of Castlewellan and its gardens. I've already published Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the Castlewellan story (from a garden history point of view), and am currently planning one other. I do hope you enjoy reading them.
Miss Ellen Ann Willmott: A New Chapter
With the publication of a long-overdue book on Miss Willmott - Sandra Lawrence's excellent Miss Willmott's Ghosts in May 2022, I hope there will be renewed interest in my horticultural heroine. I'm therefore dusting off my reams of research into Willmott's extensive interests and activities (my Masters dissertation focused, if you'll forgive the pun, on her published photography) with a series of Willmott-related blogs.
News: March 2023
I'm very pleased to say that the Gardens Trust has included gardenhistorygirl as one of their top 5 blogs/podcasts "for those that have just discovered garden history".
Image credit: Arabia Finland 'Emilia' by Raija Uosikkinen