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, NADFAS including a lecture tour of New Zealand and Australia in 2012, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), National Gallery of Scotland as well as in the States, and for Martin Randall Travel in France and Susan Worner Tours in Italy. She is author of nine books, the most recent being Impressionists in their Gardens - living light and colour 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. Caroline's courses make full use of her related research, travels and enthusiasm. She co-presented 'Glorious Gardens' on Anglia TV and has presented several series for BBC Radio 4. Caroline is researching the archives of Joseph Bory Latour-Marliac for a forthcoming book on the history, development and art of the water lily. Caroline is a recipient of The Gertrude B. Foster Award for Excellence in Herbal Literature’ 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