Luton Council, very forward-thinking for its time (1986), commissioned Ian Hamilton Finlay to produce one of the most modern and thought-provoking gardens for Stockwood Park.

Finlay is better known for his own garden, Little Sparta, in Scotland , but designed gardens across Europe.

He drew on the classical arcadian landscape which would once have surrounded the mansion and plays with ideas of double-meanings, both in the landscape - are those building columns or tree trunks - and in the inscriptions carved in different styles which hint at new ways to look at the surroundings. The talk will conclude with a look at how Finlay's garden influenced other gardens.

Price includes Tea and Coffee

Adults Only

Running Time: 60 minutes


  • Thursday, April 2, 2020

Stockwood Discovery Centre

Stockwood Discovery Centre tells the stories of real people behind the collections, exploring the history of the region from prehistoric times to the evolution of Stockwood House and the Farley estate.

The display collections include:

  • Geology
  • Archaeology
  • Social history
  • Rural crafts

Highlights include:

  • The Wenlok Jug - a rare medieval masterpiece with strong links to Luton’s history 
  • Luton's last tram
  • The award winning display of Mossman collection of carriages - the largest collection of its kind on display in the UK.

A paradise for garden enthusiasts, Stockwood Discovery Centre is one of the few places in the country where the work of acclaimed artist Ian Hamilton Finlay can be seen on permanent display. His Improvement Garden is a classical garden in which the sculptures are an integral part of the landscape. Once part of the original Stockwood House walled areas, the Period Gardens reflect the changing styles of gardening in this country. New areas include a contemplative Sensory Garden, a colourful World Garden and a Medicinal Garden highlighting the usefulness of plants - designed with environmentally green and sustainable principles in mind.

Venue Hire:

Stockwood Discovery Centre is the perfect setting for events, meetings and celebrations. See Venue Hire for more information. 


To become part of Stockwood Discovery Centre's programme, please contact our Head of Arts & Cultural Programmes, Fahim Qureshi at


Stockwood Discovery Centre Map

Other Gardening Events

Community Gardening
Fri 17th Apr 2020

Community Gardening

An after noon creating a community gardening at Ambleside Community Centre


Family Friendly Gardening

See All Gardening Events See All Events