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 Spain, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia, the Royal Horticultural Society; for the Landmark Trust, National Galleries of Scotland, Swan Hellenic, Martin Randall Travel in France, Ciceroni in France and Italy as well as for Clio Voyages’ French-speaking clientele in the UK.

She is author of eleven books. The French edition of Water Lilies and Bory Latour-Marliac, the genius behind Monet's water lilies was launched at a conference in Giverny co-hosted by the Musee des Impressionismes and the Monet Foundation. Her RHS Herbs for the Gourmet Gardener was finalist in the 2014 Garden Media Guild Reference Book of the Year Award. Other titles include Impressionists in their Gardens and Follies of Europe - architectural extravaganzas.

Design consultancies include Tudor- inspired gardens for a Humanist Renaissance 'journey' around Notre Dame de Calais, 16th-18th-century orchards and gardens with modern operatic borders at High House for the Royal Opera House, and the poisons planting in the Alnwick Garden. She co-presented 'Glorious Gardens' on Anglia TV and has presented several series for BBC Radio 4. Caroline was the recipient of ‘The Gertrude B Foster Award for Excellence in Herbal Literature’ in 2011 from the Herb Society of America. Visit

Caroline enjoys sharing her knowledge of Landscape History and architecture. She refers to her lectures as 'Academic but not dry' and 'Entertaining and Informative'. Where practicable, field trips are included and lectures are full of exuberant colour, reminiscent of Bory Latour-Marliac's water lilies that so inspired Monet, as well as setting the social scene. She encourages her students to consider the design in relation to history, utility and beauty- the timeless weave of people, plants and places that forms the landscape.

Courses Taught

Past Courses



  • 'Monet at Giverny' in English and French, 2016.
  • 'Water lilies and Bory Latour-Marliac, the genius behind Monet’s water lilies' in English and French, 2015.
  • 'The RHS Herbs for the Gourmet Gardener', 2014
  • 'Impressionists in their Gardens', 2012
  • '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 Literary Encyclopaedia, 1001 Gardens you must see before you die
  • Introduction to Art in Residence exhibition catalogue, Luton Hoo Walled Garden

Journal article

  • Regular contributor to 'HERBS', the journal of the Herb Society.
  • Reviews for the Journal of the Institute of Landscape History

Magazine article

  • Swan Hellenic, The Horticulturist
  • 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

Water Lilies

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