Mondays 10am-12 noon (BST then GMT after 25 October)

DATES: 12, 19 October (no session 26 October), 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 November, 7 December 2020


Hosted through Zoom, these 2-hour sessions include a short refreshment break at half time.

Even if you cannot join us on those dates

(or if you are not a fan of Zoom gatherings), 

the lectures will be recorded and you will have a link sent to you so that you can view each week's session at your leisure, and even re-watch it as often as you wish to.



I do hope you will join me, Gillian Hovell, 'The Muddy Archaeologist',
for our Monday morning explorations into the Romans' attitudes and practical approach to plants and gardens and to landscapes too.

  • Discover intriguing origins of plants.


  • How did gardens develop and become an important part of social climbing?  What were the hidden messages that lurked in and around the undergrowth?


  • Enjoy a wealth of ancient sculpture and art too.


  • Explore the green spaces of the ancient world - private and public - and how they were a vibrant part of Roman social and political life.


  • What did the Romans grow?  What did they use their chosen plants for?  Enter a world of food, fun and festivals, religious belief and social climbing.


  • We shall read what a variety of Romans wrote about the natural world and how to tame it, use it and, indeed, enjoy it.



  • Mythology and stories abound, entwined with plants that you'll never look the same way again!


  • Find out how the ancients cared for their plants; the timelessness of gardening sits alongside some very 'unusual' (for us) methods ...!


  • It's a fresh and vibrant way of looking at Roman life.


  • And it will change the way you view your own garden for ever ...


Course curriculum

  • 1

    Week 1: Propagating Paradise - The origins of gardens

    • Ancient Roots 1: Propagating Paradise

    • Ancient Roots 1: Propagating Paradise

  • 2

    Week 2: The Seeds of Garden Design

    • The Seeds of Garden Design

  • 3

    Week 3: Kitchen Gardens. So much more than just food ...

    • Kitchen Gardens: So much more than just food ...

  • 4

    Week 4: Herbal Remedies - Ancient potions, poisons and poultices ...

    • Herbal Remedies: Ancient Potions, Poisons and Poultices (Don't do this at home!)

  • 5

    Week 5: Wildlife Gardens: 2,000 years ago - Welcome visitors, lodgers and Unwelcome pests ...

    • Wildlife Gardens: 2000 years ago - Welcome Visitors & Lodgers and Unwelcome Pests ...

  • 6

    Week 6: Ancient Gardeners' World: Techniques, ancient lore, the timelessness art of gardening.

    • Ancient Gardeners' World: Technique, ancient lore and the timeless art of gardening

  • 7

    Week 7: Green Public Spaces - their social, political and religious aspects in Rome

    • Green Public Spaces - their social, political and religious aspects in Rome

  • 8

    Week 8: Fruits and Fables - Myths and stories that blossom in our gardens, then and now.

    • Fruits and Fables: Myths and stories that blossom in our gardens, then and now