Sayes Court has inspired some of the greatest ideas in British landscape history

Ideas which have shaped our parks, countryside and cities for nearly four centuries. From John Evelyn’s Sylva, the bestselling treatise on forest trees, to the founding of the National Trust, this small piece of land has had a profound influence on our national love affair with gardens and open space.

Sayes Court is a community-led project to create a world class garden and Centre for Horticulture and Landscape Urbanism on the site of John Evelyn’s garden and the birthplace of the National Trust.



As London’s housing crisis puts ever-greater pressure on scarce building land, our access to open space continues to shrink.  However we also know that adequate green open space is essential to our health, the environment and to mitigate the effects of climate change:

we need to find new solutions for a changing city.

At the same time, the horticulture and landscape industries which are best placed to tackle this problem are facing an acute skills shortage.  Just when they’re most needed, these sectors are suffering from chronic under-investment and are struggling to attract young people to enter the profession.

Sayes Court is the ideal place to address these issues.

Sayes Court’s history of innovation, coupled with its position in the new urban neighbourhood of Convoys Wharf, has inspired a project to create a new centre for horticulture and landscape urbanism.  The programme for this centre is to be devised with exciting partner organisations and  leading academics to bring together all stages of education, from primary schools and practical training to the latest research.

Sayes Court will act as a focus raising the profile of landscape and horticulture, whilst offering a real future for local young people.  The garden will investigate new ways to encourage access to nature in a stimulating and beautiful landscape – from food growing and bee keeping to using plants to create natural dyes and remedies:

reinforcing an incredible sense of place and local pride.