In May 2001, the National Trust held a major conference on garden conservation and restoration as part of its celebration of gardens over the year. Many of those providing papers for the conference have contributed to the book, which is the Trust's guide for those involved in the conservation of gardens, whether private individuals or professional.
Although the National Trust's gardens are world famous, the sheer depth and range of professional skills and work that is undertaken behind the scenes has never been fully recognised. The Trust plans to rectify this, with a book that is lively, forward-looking, bold and imaginative. Each chapter is by a different person, illustrating the variety of types of work and types of people involved. Case studies include current flagship projects: Hidcote Manor, where a major restoration is taking place to bring to the fore the the plantsmanship of its creator, Lawrence Johnston; Dyrham Park, where archaeological excavation has revealed the early eighteenth century plantings; Tatton Park, where a major recreation of great Victorian kitchen garden has just begun; the Knightshayes Court, where the holding unit is providing not only plant propagation, but the latest developments in environmental gardening.
Mike Calnan is Head of Gardens at the National Trust. Katie Fretwell is The Trust's Garden Historian. The contributors include head gardeners, historians, nature conservators and archaeologists in the National Trust.