Mrs Caroline Holmes

Garden Historian; Panel Tutor for the University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education

Caroline Holmes lectures regularly for the Institute of Continuing Education, University of Cambridge; for NADFAS including the Spain, New Zealand and Australia, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) for whom she has written RHS Herbs for the Gourmet Gardener – nominated for Garden Reference Book of the Year award; for the Landmark Trust, National Galleries of Scotland, Martin Randall Travel in France and Susan Worner Tours in France and Italy. She is author of ten books, including Impressionists in their Gardens and The Follies of Europe - architectural extravaganzas. Design consultancies include the 16-18th century orchards and gardens around High House for the Royal Opera House, Tudor inspired gardens for a Humanist Renaissance 'journey' around Notre Dame de Calais, 'The Green Chronology of Gardens' at Yalding Organic Gardens, Kent, and the poisons planting in the Alnwick Garden. She has devised and presented 'How does your garden grow, Mr. Shakespeare' and ‘Impressionists in their Gardens’; and with the singer Stephen Varcoe, 'Up the Garden Path', a musical exploration of the designed landscape. Erudite and enjoyable, Caroline's courses make full use of her related research and travels. She co-presented 'Glorious Gardens' on Anglia TV and has presented several series for BBC Radio 4. Caroline has researched the archives of Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac for a forthcoming book on the history, development and art of the water lily. Caroline was the recipient of ‘The Gertrude B. Foster Award for Excellence in Herbal Literature’ in 2011 from the Herb Society of America.

Courses Taught



  • Follies of Europe - architectural extravaganzas (photographs by Nic Barlow, Antique Collectors Club) 2008
  • Why do Violets shrink? Answers to 280 Thorny Questions on the World of Plants (The History Press) 2008
  • The not so little Book of Dung (The History Press) 2006
  • Victorian Gardens (Schiffer Publishing) 2006
  • A zest for herbs, (Mitchell Beazley) 2004
  • New Shoots, Old Tips, (Frances Lincoln; New edition) 2004
  • Icons of Garden Design,( Prestel) 2001

Book section

  • Contributor to the Literarcy Encyclopaedia, 1001 Gardens you must see before you die
  • Introduction to Art in Residence exhibition catalogue, Luton Hoo Walled Garden

Journal article

  • 'Impressionists in their Garden - living light and colour', to be published by Antique Collectors Club 2012
  • 'Monet at Giverny', republished by Antique Collectors Club 2011

Magazine article

  • Articles 2010-11 in Country Life, Herbs, The Garden, The English Garden, Financial Times


  • R.H.S. Gardener's Certificate, Otley College, West Suffolk

Associations and memberships

Former Chairman of the Herb Society

Liveryman in the Worshipful Co. of Gardeners

‘Ambassador’ to Garden Organic

Member of Garden History Society, Historic Gardens Foundation, Folly Fellowship, Garden Media Guild, Herb Society of America

Research Topics

The gardens of European, American and Australian Impressionist artists

Landscape History of Brittany

New Walled Gardens – a global overview

Water Lilies

Web Links