If you are a gardener who lives in or is just visiting London and still have not visited the Garden Museum, then you are basically committing a professional sin. The Garden Museum is an absolute must-see for everybody who allows him- or herself the carry the professional title of “gardener”. It is a place to behold all the glory of reliable gardening and landscaping. Located in a deconsecrated parish church in Lambeth, near the south bank of the River Thames, the Museum is a collection of archives, activities and debates for both curious visitors and gardening professionals. There is always something new you can learn inside, so you should not miss a chance and see what it can offer you.
The moment you enter the church grounds you will notice the seventeenth-century style of the garden. They house the tombs of John Tradescant the Elder and John Tradescant the Younger: the amazing plant-hunters and two of London’s greatest gardeners. It was exactly the rediscovery of their tombs which sparked the inspiration to create the Garden Museum. At the heart of the grounds is a beautiful knot garden designed by the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury, and, as a tribute, filled with flowers and plants introduced by the Tradescant family: the red maple, the tulip tree, the scarlet runner bean, and many more.
Within the Garden Museum you can check out tours or go on yourself to see various exhibitions of flowers, gardening marvels and secrets, and a variety of collections. It contains over 6,000 unique objects gathered for three decades which include garden designs of famous gardeners, historical facts about plants, numerous tools, and a variety of items with cultural value. At the very heart of the Museum you can find the New Archive of Garden Design: design masterpieces by different master gardeners of the twentieth and twenty-first century. This is still under development, however, but once finished, the designers promise a place of ideas, manuscripts and photographs to inspire only the most dedicated of gardeners – the same ones who will be willing to pay the expensive entrance fee as this will eventually turn into the Museum’s central theme.
The Garden Museum is not only for viewing. You can learn a lot from the exhibitions and the people working there, and it can organise school visits and community educational programmes so that more and more people learn about and train landscaping just how all the historical individuals did it. As the New Archive continues collecting all the plans and designs, the Museum will always have volunteers to try them out and see what all those genius gardening minds were thinking. There are also places for family activities, such as the Museum’s Art Cart – a great collection of books for free use by children and adults, and tables for families to sit and read, play, or draw all the colours and designs around them.
The Garden Museum hosts a variety of lectures, debates, workshops and conventions throughout the year for all those eager listeners and fans of gardening who want to learn more and more. Hear out the world’s greatest gardening minds take up the stand and stir the professionals and amateurs’ imagination with history, theory, and arguments about the art of gardening. Take part yourself if you have any questions about that.
Apart from all else, small private gardens will be open for visitors to see individual effort by some professional gardeners during the special Exclusive Garden Days each year. And you can take specialist courses from UK’s leading schools of garden design who host annual educational events about horticulture.
If you are someone who calls themselves a gardener and have the opportunity to visit London, then the Garden Museum is the place you should first go to – this is the one place to fulfil all your professional desires.