British Gardens in Time


This section of the page features an image gallery, so if you're using a screen reader you may wish to jump to the main content.


Three of our most iconic gardens feature in a BBC Four series starting at 9pm on Tuesday 8 April 2014 – British Gardens in Time.

The programme uncovers the rich social and horticultural history of four heritage landscapes and is part of the season on BBC Four, Growing Gardens and Green Fingers, a series of programmes celebrating the nation’s deep relationship with nature and gardens.

With expert contributions from garden designer Chris Beardshaw, historian Andrea Wulf and our very own Alan Power (head gardener at Stourhead), the series will take a detailed look at these iconic gardens created during four very different eras - each garden giving us a fascinating window into a different century, the people who created them, and why.

Gardens rich in social history

Alan said: 'All four gardens are very special places, rich in social history with powerful stories of escape, social ambition, heartbreak, downfall and disaster, written into their landscapes.

'What I found fascinating was really getting under the surface of the gardens we visited. I had the chance to read and research the places and then spend some real quality time there filming and talking to the people that care for and love these places. I came away from the experience with even more respect for the wonderful gardens that have been created in times past.'

A window into science, politics and culture

Andrea Wulf told us: 'Gardens are much more than just lawn, trees and flowers. Of course the gardens at Stowe, Biddulph Grange, Nymans and Great Dixter are beautiful and truly enjoyable places but they also tell a great many stories. As a historian, I use gardens as a window into a wider world of science, politics and culture. They are a prism through which to understand the time in which they were created.'

Fellow presenter Chris Beardshaw commented: 'Sometimes we forget just how privileged we are in the UK by the richness and diversity of gardens that are now open to the public. This series is the perfect example of how it is possible to tell the story of not just gardens but of the social, industrial and political developments that have shaped, or themselves have been shaped by their external environment.'

The series was made by KEO films. A book to accompany the series British Gardens in Time by Katie Campbell (foreword by Chris Beardshaw) is on sale now and is also available to download from iBooks onto a Mac or iOS device. You can also download a shorter iBook focusing on each of these gardens: