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Garden History 100 Hours Course


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Garden History 100 Hours Course

Price: £325.00Course Code: BHT329
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( jamie stephenson, 30/09/2015 ) Q:

I am thinking of doing a couple of the certificates you offer but I'm wondering how the final exam works,do you send it to me and after completion I send it do be marked or how does it work?

( 02/10/2015 ) A:

Hi Jamie, you can read all about the examination process on this link. 

( George Driscoll-Hicks, 11/11/2014 ) Q:

Hi i am looking at doing a garden history course online and was just wondering who was in charge of the course.

( 19/11/2014 ) A:

Hello George,


This course is tutored by Mrs. Susan Stephenson, a very experienced horticulturist who has been tutoring and lecturing for many years. You can read more about her on our Admin and Tutors page on the site.


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Garden History 100 Hours Course

Garden History course online. Garden History will enlighten you, and vastly expand the scope of possibilities you have before you as a modern garden designer. Learn about the history of our great gardens and gardeners.

Study the history of gardens and understand how gardens have evolved over the centuries, and broaden your perspective on what is possible and appropriate in garden design today. Lessons cover garden designers, great gardens and gardeners of the world, private and public gardens, globalization of gardens, scope and nature of modern garden conservation, the roles of organisations in garden conservation and much more.


Learning Goals:  Garden History BHT329
  • Become familiar with a brief outline of garden history, reasons for studying garden history, and the scope and nature of garden conservation today.
  • Discuss the development of private gardens through to the present day and to identify the influence of key factors such as wealth, status, war, travel and function.
  • Discuss the development of public gardens and commercial landscapes through to the present day and to identify the influence of key factors such as wealth, status, war, travel and function.
  • Provide examples of gardens and designed landscapes associated with individuals and illustrate the association both from historic and contemporary perspectives.
  • Identify key individuals such as designers, horticulturists, plant hunters and writers who have influenced horticulture
  • Describe how various influences from different countries have come together in the modern world to impact on garden designs and built landscape developments, across the modern world, in places other than where those cultural, historic or other influences first originated.
  • Identify the value of gardens and designed landscapes in terms such as education, heritage, leisure, tourism, plant conservation, economy and conservation of skills; Identify and assess threats to these landscapes and available mitigation measures including legal safeguards; Show an awareness of planning policy, planning law and planning bodies.
  • Explain the role of €˜English Heritage and its equivalents in promoting and protecting significant landscapes; and the role of the Register of Parks & Gardens of Special Historic Interest; Describe the role of other organisations such as CABE Space, Local Authorities, Historic Houses Association, Garden History Society, National Trust, RHS, Council for Conservation of Plants, and private owners of gardens


Lesson Structure: Garden History BHT329

There are 8 Lessons:

1  Introduction - A Revision of the History of Gardens

  • Ancient Mid-Eastern Gardens
  • Chinese Gardens
  • UK Garden History
  • Important English Landscapers
  • Spanish Gardens
  • Monastery Gardens
  • Olmstead (Frederick Law) 1822-1902
  • Burle Marx (Roberto (1909-1994)
  • Australian Bush Garden
  • Permaculture
  • TheWorld's first plant collectors
  • Where Were Plants Introduced First?
  • Important Plant Explorers, Pierre Belon (1518 -1563), Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656 -1708), Tradescants (1600’s), Sir Hans Sloane (1660 -1653), Sir Joseph Banks (1743 – 1820)
  • Reasons for studying garden history
  • Scope and nature of garden conservation today

2  Development of Private Gardens

  • The Earliest Private Gardens
  • Sino-Japanese Gardens
  • Hispano-Arabic Gardens
  • Italian Gardens
  • French Gardens
  • English Gardens
  • The English Landscape Garden

3  Development of Public and Commercial Landscapes

  • The Earliest Public Gardens
  • The Development of the English Park
  • The Park Today
  • Factors Influencing the Development of Parks
  • Streetscapes and other Public Landscapes

4  Great Gardens & Gardeners of the World

  • The Villa D’Este
  • The Villa Lante
  • Vaux-le-Viconte
  • Versailles
  • Stowe
  • Hidcote Manor Garden

5  People who Influenced Gardens

  • Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)
  • Joseph Furttenbach (1591-1667)
  • Sir Joseph Banks (1743 – 1820)
  • Edwin Beard Budding (1796-1846)
  • Dr Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward
  • Plant Collectors
  • Frederick Mueller
  • Bill Molyneaux and Roger Elliot
  • Horticultural Authors and Media Presenters

6  Globalization of Gardens

  • Indian Influences
  • Chinese Influences
  • Japanese Influences
  • Eclecticism in the Nineteenth Century
  • Eclecticism in the Twentieth Century
  • Resurgence of the Renaissance Garden
  • Influence of William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll
  • Burle Marx (Roberto (1909-1994)
  • Permaculture Gardens

7  Scope and Nature of Modern Garden Conservation

  • Approaches to Conservation
  • Conservation
  • Restoration
  • Re-Creation
  • Creative Conservation
  • Conservation Policy: Design, Construction, Plants, Garden Spaces
  • Collecting Information for Garden Conservation
  • Storing Information for Garden Conservation
  • Traditional Storage: Using Notebooks, Card Index, Filing Cabinets, Standing Files
  • Computer Storage: Computers, Word Processing, Database Programmes, Web Authoring Programmes, Geographical Information Systems 

8  The Role of Organisations in Garden Conservation

  • English Heritage
  • CABE Space
  • National Trust
  • Significance
  • Integration
  • Change
  • Access and Engagement
  • Skills and Partnership
  • Accountability
  • Royal Horticultural Society (RHS)
  • Garden History Society
  • Australian Garden History Society


The quality of this course is second to none, from the in-depth learning you will get to the expert individual mentoring you will receive throughout your studies. The mentors for this course are: 

Bunces of yellow roses

Susan Stephenson

BSc in Applied Plant Biology (Botany) Univ. London 1983.
City and guilds: Garden Centre Management, Management and Interior Decor (1984)
Management qualifications in training with retail store. Diploma in Hort level 2 (RHS General) Distinction. 

Susan Stephenson is a passionate and experienced horticulturist and garden designer. She has authored three books, lectures at 2 Further and Higher Education Colleges, teaching people of all ages and backgrounds about the wonders of plants and garden design, and tutors many students by correspondence from all over the world.

Susan studied botany at Royal Holloway College (Univ of London) and worked in the trading industry before returning to her first love plants and garden design. She is therefore, well placed to combine business knowledge with horticulture and design skills. Her experience is wide and varied and she has designed gardens for families and individuals. Susan is a mentor for garden designers who are just starting out, offering her support and advice and she also writes, delivers and assesses courses for colleges, introducing and encouraging people into horticulture and garden design.

In 2010, Susan authored a complete module for a Foundation degree (FDSC) in Arboriculture.

Susan holds the RHS General with Distinction. She continues to actively learn about horticulture and plants and (as her students will tell you) remains passionate and interested in design and horticulture.


Steven Whitaker course tutorSteven Whitaker

Diploma in Garden Design (Distinction) – The Blackford Centre, Gold Certificate of Achievement in Horticulture, Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture, Level 1 NOCN Introduction to Gardening, – Joseph Priestly College, BTEC Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Operations (Merit), Trainer Skills 1, & 2, Group trainer, Interview and Selection Skills – Kirby College of Further Education

Steven has a wealth of Horticultural knowledge, having ran his own Design and Build service, Landscaping company, and been a Head Gardener. His awards include five Gold awards at Leeds in Bloom, two Gold awards at Yorkshire in Bloom and The Yorkshire Rose Award for Permanent Landscaping. Steven has worked with TV’s Phil Spencer as his garden advisor on the Channel 4 TV Programme, “Secret Agent”. 

He is qualified to Level 2 NVQ in Amenity Horticulture and has a Diploma in Garden Design which he passed with Distinction. Steven’s Tutor and Mentor was the Chelsea Flower Show Gold Award-winning Garden Designer, Tracy Foster. He also works for a major Horticultural Commercial Grower in the field of Propagation and Craft Gardening. Steven lives in Leeds where he is a Freelance Garden Designer and Garden Advice Consultant. 


SAMPLE OF BACKGROUND NOTES FOR LESSON 1 - Provides the basis of what you will learn in the lesson - approx 12.5 hours


Become familiar with a brief outline of garden history, reasons for studying garden history, and the scope and nature of garden conservation today.


The following extract is from our Garden Renovation Course. Even if you have previously studied that course; re read this as a foundation for the remainder of this course.Although the beginnings of horticulture are lost in the mists of time, it is a certainty that plants were being selected and cultivated at the very beginning of human civilisation. Evidence has been found of gardens in ancient civilisations in all parts of the world: Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. As certain plants proved themselves to be valuable their use expanded, and they were spread beyond regions where they occurred naturally.

Ancient Mid-Eastern Gardens

There are records of man-created gardens as early as Egyptian, Persian and the first Asian civilisations. These gardens usually reflected strongly the culture and civilisation to which they belonged. Egyptian gardens were formal, symmetrical and strictly functional providing food (date palms, vegetables etc) and herbs. A papyrus dating 2000BC lists 85 different herbs used by the Egyptians. Stone columns or palms were frequently used to create avenues. These early Egyptian gardens were found only amongst the wealthy classes.

Around 650 BC King Nebuchadnezzar built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for one of his wives. These gardens were simply plantings on each level of a tiered (stepped) temple. This was the standard form of construction for temples - the garden was simply an addition. In this garden, water drawn from a nearby river was used to create waterfalls and cascades.

The Persians were hunters, and as such preferred a lot of trees in their gardens to attract game. This idea rubbed off on the Assyrians who encouraged extensive plantings after contact with Persia. When the Persians conquered Egypt around 500 BC, they adopted the idea of enclosing the gardens with a high wall. All of these ideas combined together to give us the eastern style of landscaping (ie. a symmetrical garden, with tall trees and enclosed by a high wall).Over time middle eastern gardens evolved, but the one feature that remained was enclosure (being walled).

Chinese Gardens

Chinese gardening began long before the time of Christ. There is a strong underlying pre-occupation with ethics and philosophy influenced by Taoism in Chinese gardening. This involves concentration on the unity of creation, harmony and order being developed to highlight nature through symbolic representation in a way that is not very common in western gardening. The principles of Feng Shui are often applied in Chinese garden design. Elements of the garden are positioned to bring good luck and provide the balance represented by the principles of yin and yang. Pure Chinese gardens lack lawns, symmetrical design, and artificial manipulation of water. These things however are common in Western gardens. European gardeners tend to appreciate and select plants for their function or beauty; but Chinese gardeners will often choose to use a plant for the same reason that they choose to use any other component – for its symbolism. For example, the Chinese see bamboo as representing an honourable man, because it bends in the wind, and does not break. The peony represents wealth and elegance. The peach represents immortality. The chrysanthemum, a symbol of autumn, was amongst the earliest commonly grown plants in China. Because it flowers in autumn and winter, it came to symbolise longevity. Records from the 12th century AD list 35 varieties of chrysanthemum being cultivated. In China, water rather than lawn is used to provide the peaceful surface for a large open area in the garden. A European garden might be built to surround a lawn; but a Chinese garden is more likely to be built to surround a lake or large pond. The shape of the water feature is determined by how it interacts with the other components of the design. The symbolism of the various elements in the Chinese garden is an important part of the design. Rocks are an important component because they symbolise permanency. Aged trees reveal qualities of strength, lengthy contemplation and grandeur. As Confucius said, “the wise find pleasure in water, the virtuous find pleasure in hills”.

UK Garden History

We have evidence of garden design in England back to the Roman times; however between 400 and 800 AD evidence of any significant garden design is rare if not totally void.

Roman Period

A great deal of evidence exists from Roman times to show that ornamental horticulture was highly developed there. Roman writers, such as Pliny the Younger, mention a wide variety of flowering plants as being grown by Romans (including Buxus, Hedera, Rosmarinus, Chrysanthemum, Rosa,Lilum, Iris, Laurus, etc). Roman gardens incorporated elements from other civilizations (Egyptian,Persian, Greek, etc), and may be seen as a natural synthesis of these various contributors.Roman gardens often utilised walls heavily and were often courtyards in the centre of a house. Murals, mosaics and paving were common. There are records of fish ponds, small trees and stone columns also being used in Roman courtyards. We know about the likely nature of Roman gardens in the England not only from evidence in the UK, but also evidence from all over the Roman World. While there may have needed to be some differences due to climatic variance and available materials, generally speaking, Roman architecture and garden design shared common features throughout the Roman World.

There were different types of gardens in Roman time:

  • · The Courtyard or Enclosed Home Garden. Beyond the atrium there was an open courtyard which was used as an outdoor living area
  • · Religious (Sacred) Gardens
  • · Open Garden
  • · Parks –a large number of private parks were established in Rome.


Course Info
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Course StartBegin your course at anytime.
Course Prerequisite None - Our course levels are an indication of the depth of learning you should receive. They do not describe the level of difficulty.
Course Qualification (Study Option A)Endorsed Qualification from TQUK - Training Qualifications UK, an Ofqual Approved Awarding Organisation - Completed written assignments, plus final exam (N.B. Some courses have Final Project alternative).
Course Qualification (Study Option B)Certificate of Attainment from ADL - Completed written assignments only - no final exam.
Comparative Credits InformationUK Course Credits: 10 - U.S. Credit Hours: 3 - when compared to regulated courses.
Course Duration and Deadlines100 hours approx. Course hours given are a guide only. Work at your own pace with no assignment deadlines or completion date. You are in control!
Study SupportPersonal tutor/mentor support from industry relevant professionals throughout your whole course. Mentors are contactable by e-mail, telephone and through the online classroom. They provide assistance with your course material, plus discuss, explain and give advice when needed.
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