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Gardens Trusts

The Association of Gardens Trusts engaged in conserving, researching, recording and caring for our heritage of parks, gardens and designed landscapes.

‘Our England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye.’
(Rudyard Kipling)

With significant and increasing development pressure on green spaces, many unique parks and gardens need a champion lobby to survive. Urban parks also cry out for regeneration. Major restorations of historic parks require skilled and sustainable management, expert support with applications for lottery funding, and close liaison with English Heritage and local county and town planners.

Hampshire Gardens Trust, with much support from the local authority, was founded in 1984. From that acorn, a national, countrywide county garden trust movement has flourished: 36 individual county gardens trust charities with over 7000 members operate under the guiding umbrella of the nationwide charity, the Association of Gardens Trusts (AGT).

‘Gardens are tellers of tales;
the skills of the designer allow the tale to be heard.’

Gardens trust volunteers are uncovering narratives of the taste and ambitions of individuals the length and breadth of the country, from Cornwall to Northumberland, delving into county archives, studying maps, estate surveys, garden accounts, plans and diaries, discovering old postcards, photographs and illustrations - a kind of digging that is not dependent on the weather! Valuable historic information helps to motivate the business of restoration or to inform and enable new design to a high standard.

You do not need to be an expert, either in gardening or historical research. Walking the ground to discover the ‘genius of the place’ is a great source of inspiration. County gardens trusts organise training workshops, lectures and garden visits to share expertise and to illustrate both horticultural ways of life and designers in previous centuries. This grass roots work re-connects us to local families and ancestors, and to their methods of gardening for utility and leisure.

The AGT and county gardens trusts also work to advise and encourage schools to use their grounds for gardening. They seek to encourage young people into horticulture through their concern for the environment, by developing heritage elements and environmental sciences in the curriculum.

The AGT is delighted to be a partner with the Ancient Tree Hunt.

Gardens Trusts

Find out more by visiting the AGT website