greentapestry : Visiting The Garden Museum, London

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Visiting The Garden Museum, London


A DAY OUT! ~ which is what I most certainly enjoyed on Saturday when I made a rare excursion to London to meet up with a dear friend. Our destination was The Garden Museum in London formerly known as The Museum Of Garden History. This was the first time either of us had either visited the museum ~

I must admit that I was slightly disappointed with one or two aspects. The museum itself was a lot smaller than I had anticipated so there was not as much to see as I thought there might be. Maybe I am getting rather picky in my older years but the planting at the entrance seemed rather dull and drab - perhaps this was just reflecting the hot dry summer that southern England has experienced. It could also be the fact that there was an area of wildflower planting which may have been shining earlier in the year but was looking rather tired now. Impossible to tell on on the basis of one visit.  I would have thought though that a mid season brightening up - say just a few freshly planted containers might have made a more colourful first impression.

However all was not all doom and despondency you will doubtless be pleased to hear. We still enjoyed a delightful day out. There were displays of old gardening implements, artifacts and paraphernalia to be drooled over including daisy grubbers, colourful seed packets, old catalogues and the star of the show - none other than Gertrude Jekyll's desk!

I had particularly wanted to see the exhibition which featured the life and work of the great Christopher Lloyd. In this area some of his personal belongings were on show including items from his childhood days. Reflections from friends and associates including Beth Chatto, Fergus Garrett and Anna Pavord also threw more light on this fascinating character as well as giving more insight into the development of his garden at Great Dixter. We enjoyed reading a letter that he had penned as six year old giving thanks for the gift of a viburnum, peeking into his diaries, admiring an example of his tapestry, being surprised by the size of his shoes and glimpsing the dog biscuit tin which used to contain contain goodies destined for his beloved daschunds.

Throughout the proceedings we were sustained by some delicious food and drink from the museum's  Garden Cafe which specialised in vegetarian fare. We lunched before sitting out for a while and nattering in the sunshine. We intended to lunch outside but this coincided with a short shower. The main garden  was a pleasant spot to sit and be still. The museum is in the church at St. Mary at Lambeth so the garden contains a number of graves - the most famous horticultural occupants being the John Tradescants. Its link with so much history was what I most enjoyed about the museum. Then before departing we just had to sample the homemade cakes - we can certainly vouchsafe for their yumminess. Now we have to decide where to go for our next get together.

Now don't dawdle but dance over to  ABC Wednesday where there are most posts on the letter D.

P.S. This post started with more links and photos but having finally moved to the new Blogger editor I am still struggling with its somewhat erratic behaviour or is just me  ~ whatever it is driving me demented so I am calling it a day!


  1. I dislike when I do something I have anticipated and am disappointed.
    Good information.

  2. What a day! Lovely photos!

    Annelie E
    ABC Wednesday Team

  3. Dear Anna, I visited the Museum of Garden History [as it was then] many years ago and have yet to visit in its new guise. It is a long way for you to go and I can understand your thinking that it would be much bigger. As it is so near for me, its size is less important and I rather like the intimate nature of the place.

    They do, as you say, have some wonderful exhibits and the tea room, I am certain, has been much improved with the refurbishment. I am pleased that you enjoyed your day. I am now prompted to make my return visit soon.

  4. What problems are you having with Blogger's New Editor? I keep finding new tweaks. If it irritates me enough I battle on to find a solution. Went to that museum years ago, probably soon after it opened??

  5. I agree a few freshly potted floral plants would have been lovely, but perhaps the museum is run mostly on volunteers who happen to be away on vacation.

  6. It sounds like a delightful day, Anna, even with its small disappointments....

  7. It was an interesting post and full of much information, which I never would have known otherwise.

  8. Onely, Yes, Blogger seems to undo links I've noticed. Twoly, I can see where one would expect the grounds to be a little more gardeny, but the rest sounds cool. I love old seed packets and whatnot.

  9. Sounds like an interesting visit, especially the Christopher Lloyd exhibit, and it's alway great to share a nice day with a friend!

  10. I love the facade of what looks like an old church.

    Sorry for your difficulty w Blogger.

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

  11. It looks quite charming to me - but, I wasn't there. :) Sounds like you had a good visit with your friend and that's very desirable! Great D post.

  12. Looks like you had a lovely day - so glad they've got Christopher Lloyd as a highlight - he's a hero!

  13. Thank you for this timely reminder. I'd meant to go earlier in the summer but had no time; now would be perfect and a very easy day out as I'm already in London. I love vintage garden ephemera - that would be enough to draw me down there!

  14. I would love a Hyde type garden - but the chickens would soon have it otherwise.

    Re Blogger - Have you got vista? I use Windows Live Writer give me a shout if you need any help!

    ABC Team

  15. lovely photographs of your day out :) good one..! the new editor is erratic? thats odd.. it works fine when i use it for my meme blogs..

  16. I had no idea there was a garden museum!

    I think you're right about the wildflower area, late May, June perhaps.

  17. Sounds like a lovely day out, and such a lovely building to house a museum. I've been catching up on the posts you've written whilst I've been away on holiday. You've brought back many happy memories for me of a school trip I went on thirty years ago to the Loire Valley where I visited Chenonceau Chateaux.

  18. Hi Anna, Long time no visit. Forgive my absence, please.

    The artifacts from Mr. Lloyd's early years would be fun to see and Gertie's desk... fun! I often wonder what she would think if she were alive today and could witness the plants we have at our disposal. We're so lucky.

    Gardening and friendships, such a delightful alliance.

  19. Hi Anna,
    Just the idea of a museum devoted to gardening enchants me! Sounds lovely. :)

  20. A plus to see Gertrude Jekyll's desk! I have a friend who owns a famous desk and I love to stand there and imagine novels in the making. I love what Gertrude did for English gardening. Lovely photos of the gardens.


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.