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RBGE Diploma in Garden History

This course will run as an attended course in 2017 and as a blended course in 2018. You can download the applicants' handbook for the 2017 attended course here. This handbook contains full details on the course such as content, structure, dates & times as well as the application form you need to complete should you wish to apply.

Moon Ponds, Studley Royal

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) Diploma in Garden History is the ideal specialist course in the history of British gardens. It offers a wonderful blend of online learning in your own time, coupled with four study weekends here at RBGE. We cover the development and influence of heritage gardens, their design and conservation, and the plants and techniques that made them.

Statue of Eve by Scipioni Tandolini, Kibble Palace, Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Based at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, which was founded in 1670, the Diploma in Garden History course provides an ideal opportunity to gain a solid foundation in this subject. After tracing the progress and changes of gardening styles in Britain, the student will explore in more detail such important aspects as the fundamental influence of Italian gardens In Britain and also the progress and development of garden features such as lawns, knot gardens and parterres.

The investigation of the introduction and cultivation of exotic flowers and fruit, including pineapples and orchids, as well as historic pruning and training techniques, provides an unusually broad spectrum to the diploma; it also affords valuable experience for those wishing to work in heritage gardening. A unit on Victorian horticulture provides scope for the study of the incredibly diverse and rapidly changing horticultural tastes of the nineteenth century whilst the Conservation of Historic gardens and Designed Landscapes unit applies knowledge from across the course to address the challenges of the evaluation and conservation of our historic garden heritage.

We are delighted that the diploma is formally supported by the highly respected Garden History Society and all students receive membership of the society for the duration of the course. The study weekends at RBGE will highlight the wonderful historic treasures in our garden and living collections and also in our superb library and archives.

Excursions will enable students to visit a range of fascinating Scottish gardens including RBGE’s Benmore at Dunoon where the Victorians had the vision to plant the now famous giant redwood avenue. A beautifully restored Victorian fernery and a fabulous plant collection provide further historical attractions to embellish your learning experience.

A blended learning (online with study weekends) version of the course is currently under development will be available in Autumn 2018. Please use the form below to register your interest in this course.


"As a professional gardener looking to increase my understanding of garden history and associated management this course is proving to be a real asset. Combining classroom based teaching with field visits and self-guided study it has inspired me to delve deeper into previously unknown areas of garden history, improving my general knowledge of the subject and enabling me to look at historic gardens with new eyes."
    - Kate, Diploma Student

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Find out more - Garden History

Please register your interest for the blended learning course starting in 2018 here and ask us any questions about the course or application procedure.

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