Welcome to Episode #012 of That Shakespeare Life, the podcast that takes you behind the curtain and into the life of William Shakespeare.

I believe that if you want to understand Shakespeare's plays, then understanding the life of William Shakespeare, the man, is essential. This podcast is designed to help you explore early modern England as Shakespeare would have lived it by interviewing the historians, performers, authors, and experts that know him best.

Glyn Jones, Head of Gardens at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, joins us today to talk about kitchen gardens and estate gardens that impacted Shakespeare. Shakespeare Birthplace Trust maintains 5 gardens thought to have been part of William Shakespeare’s home in Stratford and today Glyn Jones is going to help us explore whether or not Shakespeare had a garden himself, what purpose a garden might have served a playwright, and what sort of horticulture would have been planted there.

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Glyn Jones is the Head of Gardens at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. He has been working in horticulture professionally for 40 years and studied at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. Throughout his career, Glyn has been Gardener in Charge at Tintinhull House in Somerset working alongside Penelope Hobhouse the Garden designer and writer. In 1999 Glyn took over the reins at Hidcote Manor Garden in Gloucestershire, one of the National Trusts flagship gardens. After spending 17 years there, restoring missing features, improving the standards of Horticulture, and establishing environmental standards, he initiated volunteering opportunities and established a garden apprenticeship scheme.
In this episode, I ask Glyn about:

  • Why would a playwright own a garden?
  • Is a garden and a backyard the same thing?
  • Would Shakespeare have had a kitchen garden?
  • What about those tobacco pipes found on the grounds there?

We will also discuss Shakespeare's son-in-law, John Hall, the medical doctor, and the importance of herbs in medicine that lead to a medical garden on the grounds at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Mr. Jones will even share with you the best spot to walk at the gardens themselves if you want to stand where Shakespeare himself actually stood.

Books & Resources Glyn Recommends:

The Gardener's Labyrinth by Thomas Hill
This 17th century book was the basis for the design of the Knot Garden and the Arbors on the grounds.

His “Don't Miss” Items:
Don't miss the medical gardens at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Coming in the Spring is ideal because the grounds are in full bloom, and if you're only going to see one place, don't miss New Place when you visit Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

Learn more about Shakespeare Birthplace Trust here.

Royal Horticultural Society
The Victoria Medal
Ellen Willmott


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