As seen on TV...

Garden historian Katie Campbell’s talk about four iconic British Gardens, on 16 September at Lindley Library, London promises to be a great evening

Stowe. Photograph by Nathan HarrisonI missed the series 'British Gardens in Time' on BBC Four earlier this year, so am delighted Katie will be giving this talk. Katie wrote the book that accompanies the TV series. She’ll look at Stowe, Biddulph Grange, Nymans and Great Dixter, and how they reflect important political and social trends, as well as the particular tastes and personal passions of their owners.

When we select our line-up of speakers for our series of talks, we are particularly pleased to find writers whose research draws on the library’s collections, and Katie has used the Lindley Library over many years. She also brings her garden history students for a special workshop, given by library staff, to introduce them to our wonderful historical collections as part of their course.

A look at Katie’s other books shows the range of her research interests: Icons of Twentieth Century Landscape Design (2006) features 29 public and private garden spaces which introduced new materials, new approaches, and new thinking into landscape design. These influential spaces range over many countries, and almost all survive today, and are open to the public.

Paradise of Exiles: the Anglo American Gardens of Florence (2009) looks at the villa gardens of a nineteenth century community of expats which included Vernon Lee, Lady Sybil Cutting, Sir George Sitwell and Bernard Berenson. They developed, restored and visited each other’s gardens, sharing a variety of horticultural knowledge and tastes. 

Great Dixter. Photograph by Nathan HarrisonBritish Gardens In Time (2014) turns its attention back home. A summary of British gardening to the end of the 17th century sets the scene, and then four great gardens are treated in detail. Stowe magnificently illustrates the English landscape style, Biddulph Grange the Victorian passion for exotic plant collections and display, Nymans epitomises the quest of the Edwardian middle class for a luxurious rural retreat, and Great Dixter anticipates twentieth century trends for a more sustainable and ecological awareness in gardening. Beautiful images from this book will also be included in the talk.

There are still a few tickets left for Katie’s talk at 6.30pm on 16 September at Lindley Library London, 80 Vincent Square, London SW1P 2PE. Tickets cost £7 for RHS members (£10 non-members). Telephone 020 3176 5830 to book.

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