Welcome to our Early Bird programme. The full programme will be released at the end of March.
For centuries, walled gardens have provided a wealth of food, fruit and flowers for our great houses. Beginning as simple medieval enclosures, they evolved into powerful status symbols and centres of world-class horticultural expertise. Yet during the 20th century their fortunes failed, and most were lost or abandoned, as were many of the skills needed to run them. Happily, today many have been revived. Hudson is an archaeologist and historian who presents the BBC hit series Escape to the Country and Countryfile.
Why did landscape become a subject for art in the 18th century and not before? Where might we look for clues to an earlier ‘sense of place’? The Professor of English, author of Weatherland and Romantic Moderns, examines the history of English landscape painting and local writing from the particular perspective of going back to her childhood home in Sussex. She talks with Tim Dee, editor of a timely collection of the best British nature writing newly commissioned by one of the great authorities on the subject - Ground Work. The book explores a sense of place, and our obligations of custodianship in this land.
Trees are one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. From India’s sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup. Jonathan Drori, a trustee of The Woodland Trust and The Eden Project, uses plant science to illuminate how trees play a role in every part of human life, from the romantic to the regrettable.
In the Islamic tradition, a garden with its central elements of water, the scent of fruit trees, and places for rest and reflection, celebrates Heaven on Earth. The gardener Monty Don and acclaimed photographer Derry Moore set off on a journey to find out more about the principles and immersive delights of paradise gardens and how a very different culture and climate has influenced garden design round the world. From the Real Alcazar and the Alhambra in Spain to a Mughal garden in Bradford, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Maidan in Isfahan, Iran, the birthplace of paradise gardens, they present a glorious celebration of the richness of Islamic culture through some of the most beautiful gardens on earth.