By its nature ‘academic’ anticipates an appetite for a deeper study of a subject whilst ‘informative’ seeks an insight into a body of knowledge, and then there is the more sensory process of practical handling of plants and food.
Portraits, politics and passion - four artist’s garden landscapes
A course examining five contrasting artists, their personal gardens and landscapes, starting with ‘Capability’ Brown’s contemporary Gainsborough, his childhood garden, portraits and landscapes. The politics and passion of Arts and Crafts is encapsulated by William and May Morris at Red House and Kelmscott Manor. Churchill, the military landscaping of water at Chartwell and the peace of his studio. Lastly, Artist Plantsman Cedric Morris took consummate botany into expressionist flower paintings with a dash of surrealism and cubism.
£5 each or series of 4 £16
Tuesday 2nd February Thomas Gainsborough – a silken thread of painted landscapes
The silken thread starts with the gnarled mulberry tree that still dominates Thomas Gainsborough’s childhood garden in Sudbury, Suffolk continuing to London, Bath and Chatsworth. Contemporary with England’s greatest landscaper, Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, Gainsborough was an originator of the English landscape painting school.
Tuesday 9th February William Morris – beauty and utility
Morris’s romantic utopianism was derived from nature and medieval craftsmanship, expressed in the gardens of Red House. Kelmscott Manor, growing out of its own site was the setting for Morris’s socialism and inspiration for his philosophy and crafts. May Morris’s outstanding botanical drawings and embroidery skills put the final threads into the weave and saved Kelmscott.
Tuesday 16th February Winston Churchill at home – Chartwell
Churchill’s family connections lead to the availability of many early marital homes. In 1921 Churchill made the unilateral decision to purchase Chartwell, the children were ecstatic whilst Clementine was appalled. Away from politics, the development of the gardens at Chartwell, his craftsmanship as a bricklayer in ‘biographical garden buildings’ was matched by the solace of painting.
Tuesday 23rd February Cedric Morris – irises and beyond
The sole Artist Plantsman in this series, his final Suffolk home Benton End was saved in 2019, here he intertwined art and botany expressed in his glorious flower paintings, he cultivated over 90 new irises. His portraits and landscapes present his wide friendships and expansive travels. Benton End gardens also cultivated a new generation of artists not least Maggi Hambling.
Course Director for the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education – International and accredited programmes.
VIRTUAL FESTIVAL OF WINTER LEARNING JANUARY 2021
Week 1 Beauty and Utility – Arts and Crafts houses and gardens https://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/course/beauty-and-utility-arts-and-crafts-houses-and-gardens
This course will examine the material outcomes - in every sense - of the Arts and Crafts Movement, founded on rural and historic ideals of human skill, and launched in the 1880s to counter Britain’s industrialisation. We start with William Morris’s romantic utopianism balanced with Philip Webb’s common sense and practicality, expressed in the architecture, furnishings and settings of The Red House, Kelmscott Manor and Stanton. We compare the gardens, craftsmanship and architecture of William Robinson, Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens. The forums offer an opportunity to explore the pioneering spirits of the Biddulphs at Rodmarton Manor and the David Parr House in Cambridge.
Week 2 Castles, Palaces and Houses of British Monarchs https://www.ice.cam.ac.uk/course/castles-palaces-and-houses-british-monarchs-3
Romance can be traced in the architecture and gardens of royal dwellings. Starting with Windsor Castle, the oldest continuously inhabited castle in the world. Created in Tudor Renaissance style, Hampton Court Palace was perfected by Henry VIII, and gloriously extended by the Stuart monarchs William III and Mary II. Victoria and Albert embodied 19thcentury romanticism and innovation, they built ‘Scottish Baronial’ Balmoral Castle in the Highlands, still a Royal Family favourite. Buckingham Palace has hosted many a royal public appearance built on a 17th century Mulberry Garden, all bar two of George III’s children were born here. The course concludes with Victoria’s childhood home, Kensington Palace, known for its contemporary royal occupants.
MISTLETOE AND MORE
Four seasonal lectures for Tuesdays in December by Dr. David Marsh and me
1. The Folly and the Ivy - Caroline Holmes
2. Naked Ladies and the Scarlet Monster - David Marsh
3. Step into the Christmas card - Caroline Holmes
4. Mistletoe and Druids - David Marsh
£5 per lecture. Booking and further information at https://mistletoeandmore.eventbrite.co.uk
THE MEDIAEVAL GARDEN
An exploration of the medieaval garden's myths and realities. The practical and functional, the decorative and pleasurable, the sacred and the profane. A series of 6 lectures with Dr. David Marsh and I, opportunities for questions at the end of each lecture. Thursdays 12, 19 and 26 November & 3, 10 and 17 December at 10am. On behalf of The Gardens Trust. Cost £30.
Booking and course details https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-mediaeval-garden-tickets-124917300007
The Water Lily: Memphis, Monet and beyond
For the Gardens Trust on Tuesday 6th October
The story begins in Memphis, the main cult centre of Nefertem in Ancient Egypt, with Nymphaea and Nelumbium, the blue water lily and lotus. Millennia later Philip Miller wrote: ‘Nymphaea … grows in Water which the Poets feign to be the Residence of the Nymphs’. Associated by its common name, the great white waterlily was coaxed into flower by Joseph Paxton and accompanied by colourful tropical cultivars they transformed glasshouses across the world. Inspired, Bory Latour-Marliac dedicated his life to breeding those exotic colours into hardy Nymphaea which entranced the plantsman in Monet. Hardy blues remained elusive until the 21st century.
Floreat: Roots and Branches that Flourished in the Classical World
A 4-part lecture series for the Gardens Trust with 4 x 90 mins (max) sessions, online once a week on Thursday mornings. NB tickets £20 for the full series of 4
A series of four lectures: we set the scene identifying biblical plants, starting with the Garden of Eden – what was the Tree of Knowledge? The second session examines Ancient Greece through architecture, wall paintings and writings exploring divine and medicinal plants. How the Nile’s rich rewards were harnessed by the Ancient Egyptians will be the focus of the third evidenced in rich surviving illustrations. Their extensive gardens and plantings inspired the Ancient Romans, the subject of the fourth lecture. Throughout this series classical plants are central whether in murals, mosaics, architecture, writing or indeed still living.
Week 1. Thurs Oct 8th: Introduction – Edenic paradise to expulsion, from apples to lemons.
Week 2. Thurs Oct 15th: Ancient Greece under the shade of Zeus and Athene’s trees and the plant ethics of Hippocrates and Socrates.
Week 3. Thurs Oct 22nd: Planting Ancient Egypt and the waft of rose scented sails.
Week 4. Thurs Oct 29th: Ancient Rome, gardens, garlands and classical introductions.
Attendees will be sent a Zoom link 2 days prior to the start of the course, and a link to the recorded session will be sent to attendees shortly afterwards.
Our house and garden have been featured in Country Homes and Interiors, Country Life, Country Living, Garden News and The English Garden and filmed for BBC and Anglia TV.
NHK (Japanese National Broadcasting) filmed a 50-minute programme (broadcast in Japan) on my work and lifestyle in my gardens, house, office and surrounding countryside
Watch a young me making a salad from my garden on www.youtube.com/cookingtipstv
11 books with a twelfth working title ‘The English Garden celebrated – where the wildness pleases’. Owing to the pandemic publication has been delayed to mid-2021 for ACC Garden Art Press. WATCH THIS SPACE
Water Lilies and Bory Latour-Marliac, the genius behind Monet’s Water Lilies published 2015 Garden Art Press ACC in English and French
RHS Herbs for Gourmet Gardeners - finalist in Garden Media Guild’s ‘2014 Reference Book of the Year Award’
Monet at Giverny – my bestselling book reprinted several times since 2002
Garden Art Press ACC
in English, French and Norwegian
Impressionists in their Gardens Nominated for ‘2012 Inspirational Garden Book of the Year’ Award by the Garden Media Guild
Garden Art Press ACC
National and international – on every continent except Antarctica. France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, USA and Japan as well as for The Arts Society in the UK, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, The Plant School, Royal Horticultural Society, Road Scholar, Ciceroni Travel, Martin Randall Travel, Noble Caledonia, Viking Cruises, Queen Mary II, and other specialist organisations.
See below for list ‘Lectures and talks into other worlds’
Course Director for the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education – International and accredited programmes
Virtual Festival of Winter Learning January 2021 - see first page
2020 Virtual Summer Festival of Learning
My courses were:
Week 1 Designing Georgian Britain – 18th century consuming passions and/or English Houses and Gardens – defining Englishness
Week 2 Built on a fortune – British status house and/or English Houses and Gardens – personal inspirations
Week 3 Castles, palaces and houses of British Monarchs
Due to the Covid 19 coronavirus pandemic all tours and cruises up in 2020 were cancelled, many will be rescheduled for 2021 or 2022. See Voyage the world with me ...
See My Books
See a small selection of major projects that I have undertaken specialising in evoking historical, artistic and symbolic references. Smaller commissions range from a former Georgian coach wash to landscaping modern sculptures for Stations of the Cross.
I am happy to tailor my subjects to suit you - an academic but not dry lecture or an entertaining talk - with or without illustrations running from 45-90 minutes. There is also plenty of scope for making a half or full day exploring many of the subjects in greater detail. My books, consultancies, research and travel all feed into the narrative.
Any distance, fees negotiable, for details please email email@example.com
Titles are listed in order of popularity:
Permission to Poison – the Alnwick Garden
Australia’s Impressionists – The Heidelberg School, Fontainebleau and the zenith landscape
Impressionists in their gardens – living light and colour
Angels - Messenger or missile with glad tidings, doom, gloom or perdition
Monet at Giverny
Artists’ Views of Australia – Aboriginal, Pioneer, Botanical and Impressionist
Engraved on my heart – Mary Tudor, the Cloth of the Field of Gold and Notre- Dame-de- Calais
Historic Gardens of East Anglia
Bory Latour-Marliac, the genius behind Monet’s Water Lilies
Step into the Christmas Card
The Folly and the Ivy
The Edwardian Garden - golden and delicious
Flowers of Impressionist Youth: World War One and their Remembrance
Cedric Morris – irises and beyond
A symphony in blue - the artist, the couturier and Atlas the most fabulous mountaine of
Herbs for Gourmet gardeners
Sheer Folly – garden history and its architectural extravaganzas
Around the world in three years with Captain James Cook and Joseph Banks
– an overview of the people, plants and places
Gainsborough and Brown – eighteenth century landscapes from wider perspectives
A Royal country house estate - Sandringham
Design and diversity – the University Botanical Gardens, Cambridge
Medieval Gardens fit for use or delight
Motifs and motivators - water lilies, irises and sea shells
William Robinson, Gravetye Manor and Bory Latour-Marliac, a story of water lilies,
prunes and wine
How does your garden grow Mr. Shakespeare?
Cruise lectures include:
· Carl Linnaeus and horticultural exchanges across the high seas
· Ruhleben - Berlin's racecourse to WW1 internment camp
· Sunlight on snow - Monet in Norway
· Water as power and pomp - Peterhof, a Baroque masterpiece
· A cool history - Sea Island Cotton
· Can you eat buccaneers? Unzip a banana and other Caribbean food stories
· Fatal attraction the darker side of plants
· Is Coral suffering from tooth decay?
· It's a rum solution to industrial waste
· Take your Turk's cap off to cactus
· A palette of adaptation - Mediterranean garden plants
· Oranges and lemons - the many zests of Mediterranean citrus
· Shellshocker – Venus, goddess of love and gardens with Flora
· The Italian Garden template – the spectacular, theatrical Villa d’Este
· An overview of French garden history with special reference to the Abbaye Saint-Andre
· Fit for purpose - the Medieval Garden from Charlemagne to the Benedictines
· Lifting the Bamboo curtain – nineteenth century new shoots to contemporary waves
· Roman Gardens – architecture, illusion and plantsmanship
· Seasoned landscapes – olives, vines, fruit and herbs along the Rhone
· Aphorisms of Hippocrates unbound
· Behind the label - Greeks immortalised in plants
· Other people's odysseys - Homer to Leigh Fermor
· Atlantic soundings – other travellers’ accounts of the Canaries and Madeira
· Vines, wines and Have some Madeira, m’dear
· A Floral Mosaic – Madeira and the Canaries
· A more propitious clime - glass in the garden
· A right royal setting - Kew
· A walk through domestic English garden history
· A walk through grandee garden history
· A world resource for 200 years - the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
· Fit for use of delight - Medieval Gardens
· Keats and the Regency Garden
· Lancelot 'Capability' Brown - moving heaven and earth
· Order, Power and Conceit - Tudor Gardens
· The Chelsea Gardener and Philadelphia's Plant Hunter
· Carbon trading in Mozambique
· Charles Darwin, the Beagle and other observations
· Hidden histories – the Lotus and the blue water lily
· Joseph Hooker - plant hunter and Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
· Linnaeus, his plant hunters and the 18th century botanical w.w.w.
· Marianne North – a remarkable Victorian traveller and painter
· People, Plants and Places - Darwin to Dylan
· A Floral kingdom – plants of the Cape
· Reunion - a little French history spiced with vanilla and cloves
· Seychelles - land and sea
· Sir Samuel Baker, the Bawa brothers and landscaping Sri Lanka