Cherrill Sands
Garden Historian
Women Writers and their Gardens
Gardens can be perfect settings for dramatic
scenes. They are traditionally a space away
from the conventions of society and allow for all
kinds of freedom. Plants and rejuvenating nature
may also reflect the story, as an allegory for
nurture, hope and renewal. In their stories, wom-
en writers Jane Austen, Frances Hodgson Bur-
nett, Agatha Christie and others, weave in their
thoughts on gardens, society, healing and the
cycle of life, often inspired by their own
experiences and gardens.
Arts & Crafts Gardens in the South East
Arts and Crafts gardens were places to be
enjoyed and explored, being both beautiful
and practical. Profuse romantic planting was
combined with yew hedges and topiary,
providing a sensuous, nostalgic style which
contrasted with the reality of increasing urban
development. Three talented people
influenced these gardens; William Morris at
Red House; William Robinson at Gravetye;
and Gertrude Jekyll, an outstanding multi-
skilled craftswoman, whose garden designs
are still admired today.
Georgian Gardens – the ‘Natural’ Style
The English Landscape Movement, or
‘Natural Style’, which started in Britain and
spread across Europe then on to America,
had sweeping dramatic landscapes, with
lakes, trees, views and eye-catching
follies. Gardening was considered an art
form alongside painting and poetry. This
appreciation of nature has stayed with us
in our art, literature and landscape.
The Remarkable Miss Jekyll.
Gertrude Jekyll is known primarily today as a garden
designer and plantswoman, though she was also a talented
artist and photographer. As a key figure in the Arts & Crafts
Movement, Miss Jekyll also created designs for embroidery,
jewellery, ceramics and wallpaper. This talks explores her
designs, planting plans and some surviving gardens.
Parks: Medieval, Georgian and Public
In the Medieval period, parks were enclosed areas for hunting and entertaining by the
ruling elite. By the 18th century there was a desire for an idyllic Arcadian landscape
with reflective lakes, trees and shrubs, creating different moods. By contrast Public
Parks, begun in Victorian times, were created to improve life for the urban masses and
were filled with facilities and attractions. These vital green spaces continue to be a
lifeline for many.
The Gardens & Plants of Andalucia
Andalucian gardens fuse the skills and
designs of the Moors, who arrived in Spain in
the 8th century, with exotic plants from
America, Renaissance design and later
Romantic ideals, which combine to create
wonderful gardens which still impress and
delight us today. This talk looks at gardens in
Cordoba, Seville and Granada.
Tulips & Turbans
The vibrant colour of tulips, heralding spring, and the beauty of
its form has delighted many people, over the centuries, from
kings to commoners. Hear the story of how the tulip came to
Europe, the excitement of its ‘breaking’ colour and subsequent
tulip mania, then the later tulip craze in Turkey. With a final
glimpse of the many forms which can be grown today.
Carl Linnaeus – the Man and his Gardens
Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist and
physician, is known for devising the binomial
plant classification, but in this talk the
emphasis will be on the man as a gardener, a
traveller and a teacher who inspired his
students to travel the world. At the botanic
garden in Uppsala over 3,000 plant species
were grown in different environments. At
Hammarby, his farm and summer retreat, a
variety of plants were grown and a small
‘museum in the air’, built for his books and
collections of the natural world.
Gardens of Surrey
With the benefit of a varied landscape, gentle
climate and proximity to London, Surrey has long
been a popular place to live and create gardens.
From formal 17th century terraces, to Arcadian
parks of the 18th century, through Arts & Crafts
delights to Victorian grandeur and gardens which
have developed during the 20
Painshill, Titsey Place & Munstead Wood and
Women Gardeners of the 20
The twentieth century brought some
emancipation for women, acceptance at
horticultural colleges, and for some, artistic
fulfilment in the garden. Hear about creative
women and their gardens, including Ger-
trude Jekyll at Munstead Wood,
Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst and
Beth Chatto, with her nursery Unusual
Plants, amongst others.
Gardens and landscapes have been used for
pleasure and entertainment for hundreds of
years. Owners added banqueting and bath
houses, tempting temples, sham castles,
towers to climb and grottoes to explore. While
some buildings had a practical purpose, others
were to set a scene and provide an experience
- of surprise, suspense, whimsy or fun!
Cherrill Sands
Garden Historian
+44 (0)1932 222 704
“a really interesting talk...the illustrations
were excellent”
Chertsey U3A
“a wonderful presentation ….. your love
for historical gardening was self evident ... a
memorable occasion”
BWC Social Club
Cherrill Sands is a garden historian
with an MA in the Conservation of
Landscapes, Park & Gardens.
She has been engaged as Historical
Consultant at Painshill Landscape
Garden in Surrey since 2004. As a
freelance speaker she presents talks
throughout the UK and abroad on
garden history and theatre studies .
Cherrill is a former Chair of the
educational charity Surrey Gardens
Trust and remains a member of their
Research Team. She enjoys
discovering the endless variety of
gardens around the world and all
aspects of garden history and design
- while trying to impose some order
on her own patch of ground at home.