Gardens Group


The Gardens

ThYork-Museum-Gardens-Rockerye Museum Gardens are of major botanical, geological, archaeological and horticultural importance, as well as being very well used by York residents and visitors who find there a green haven in the centre of the city.  The Yorkshire Philosophical Society originally created the Gardens in 1830 to designs by Sir John Naesmyth (Naesmyth’s other well-known gardens are at Dawyck in the Scottish Borders – now a satellite of the Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, and Riverhill House near Sevenoaks, Kent). The YPS managed the Gardens until 1960 when they were ceded to the local authority.  In 2002 the York Museums Trust was formed and took over the ownership and management of the Gardens. The current Head Gardener is Alison Pringle, previously Deputy Head Gardener at Cragside (National Trust), who brings with her a great deal of expertise and innovative ideas. There are more details about the Gardens, their planting and their champion trees at

The Gardens Group

YPS retains a keen interest in the development of the Gardens and a small group of members meet regularly in the Lodge – often with the Head Gardener present – to hear about the latest developments and discuss ways in which the Society can contribute to the ongoing development of the Gardens, especially as they enter an exciting phase of major expansion.
Any member interested in contributing to the Gardens Group is welcome to attend the meetings.  Please contact

Museum Gardens Geological Map Mosaic

With the Society’s bicentenary approaching we now have a fitting legacy of YPS in the Gardens – a representation of a geological map celebrating the pioneering work of William Smith, the ‘Father of English Geology’ (to read about this click on the highlighted text).

YPS Publication on the History of Museum Gardens, in the making

We are now researching the history of the Museum Gardens, with a view to producing a book to celebrate the first two centuries of the Society, since its founding in 1822. For an overview of the story which we are piecing together, click here: 200 Years of Museum Gardens

Update August 2017
History moves on … as does the History of the Museum Gardens book.  The text is almost complete, the page design team are at work and the process of copy-editing has begun. The biggest problem at the moment is making a selection from the wealth of pictures and maps to illustrate the book –  we now have nearly 400 of the former and 70 of the latter to choose from.  So everything is coming together towards a most noteworthy and handsome publication, and we are confident that The most fortunate situation …” A History of the York Museum Gardens will roll off the press as scheduled, in 2018.
Meanwhile the fundraising team is also hard at work – we rely on donations, and members have already shown remarkable generosity. There is still time to contribute!  Donor forms are available from the Lodge.  So too are order forms for copies of the book at a special pre-publication price.  Remember you aren’t restricted to just one copy: plan ahead for Christmas presents in 2018…
Peter Hogarth