Episode 85: An Economic History of the English Garden

This week I’m speaking with Sir Roderick Floud, author of ‘An Economic History of the English Garden’. The book charts the economics surrounding English gardens since the seventeenth century and talks about private gardens, public spaces, professions related to gardening and the often eye-watering amounts of money spent on achieving a bigger and better gardens. Sir Roderick calculates the cost of yesteryears’ gardens in today’s money and it’s worth reading the book alone to find out how much the likes of Capability Brown earned or the amounts spent on the gardens of Versailles!

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About Roderick Floud

“Roderick Floud has been a pioneer of two new kinds of history: using statistics to study the past and the history of human height and health. The economic history of gardens is his third innovation.

He has taught at the universities of Cambridge, London and Stanford, has written or edited over 70 books and articles and is the long-standing editor of the Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain.

He has also led London Metropolitan University and Gresham College London and undertaken many other roles in the university world, such as President of Universities UK, receiving a knighthood for services to higher education.” – https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/123901/roderick-floud.html?tab=penguin-biography

What we talk about:

Public parks

Charles II and his popularisation of garden making.

Why were extravagant gardens built? Were these gardens worth the huge sums spent on them?

Technological advances that were later applied outside the world of horticulture

Trends around people growing their own fruit and vegetables

Trends in the numbers of people employed as gardeners

How gardeners wages over the centuries compare with those today

Economic trends on the horizon related to gardening


An Economic History of the English Garden – Roderick Floud Paperback out 5th Nov 2020. Pre-order here.

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