The collection holds materials assembled by the Gardens Trust (formerly the Garden History Society) to support research and inform conservation. Topics covered include the care and propagation of plants, wild flowers, horticultural planning and management, trees, buildings as part of a designed landscape, herbs and other species with medicinal properties, public and private parks, architectural styles and their impact on outside spaces, gardens in art and literature, and the political and sociological influence of gardens through time.
Comprising books, journals, guides and pamphlets, the collection's main focus is on UK garden history - mediaeval to modern - but it includes various works of international interest ranging from China to the Mediterranean. The lives and legacies of eminent practitioners, from Capability Brown and Vita Sackville-West to Christopher Lloyd and Beth Chatto, are also represented.
As a whole the collection documents the development of evolving approaches to garden and landscape design. It reflects changes in our relationship with the outdoors around us and with the natural environment we inhabit, recording the ways in which gardeners, architects, horticulturalists and designers choose to express this changing relationship in the gardens and landscapes they create.
The collection also contains several publications of particular importance owing to their influence or rarity including An Encyclopaedia of Gardening... by J.C.Loudon (1830), The London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century by Warwick Wroth (1896), British Botanical and Horticultural Literature Before 1800 ... by Blanche Henrey (1975) and A History of Gardening in England by The Hon. Alicia Amherst (1895).
Size: Approximately 2,000 items.