5 September: Timothy Walker “Paradise Lost and Restored – 400 years of Garden Design in Oxfordshire”

The history of English garden design can be told in different ways, but rarely can it be told “through the lens” of one garden.  The Oxford Botanic Garden was founded at the beginning of the 17th century and its design bears all the hallmarks of 17th century design. This talk looks at how the art of gardening has changed, or perhaps has not, in four centuries in Oxfordshire and how the Oxford Botanic Garden now reflects garden design at the beginning of the 21st century. The title of the talk refers to the fact that one of the motivations for garden design remains the desire to create paradise on Earth. The meaning of paradise may now be less rooted in the Biblical account of the rise and fall of man, but there is still a clear vision of what we would like the world to resemble.



Read Botany at University College Oxford. After graduation, worked as a trainee at Oxford Botanic Garden, the Savill Garden Windsor, and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. In 1995 he was awarded a Master of Horticulture by the Royal Horticultural Society of London.

From 1988 to 2014 he was director at the Oxford Botanic Garden. Between 1992 & 2000 the OBGHA won 4 gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show London. In 2009 the Botanic Garden was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for providing imaginative educational programmes for adults, students, children, and the general public, thereby breathing new life into education for people of all ages and enriching their lives.

In 2010 he was elected as a Fellow of the Linnaean Society of London. In the same year presented a 3-part series of films on the history of botany on BBC4.

Since 2014 he has been a tutor in Plant Biology at Somerville College, Oxford.