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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Saturday, 30 June 2012

(London Museum #7)The Garden Museum

In my hunt for unusual museums that I haven't visited,  this one certainly fits the bill. It is in the deconsecrated church of St Mary's next to Lambeth Palace ( home of the Archbishop of Canterbury) on the South bank of the River Thames. It claims to be the first gardening museum in the world.

St Mary's is the burial place of royal gardeners and plant hunters John Tradescant and his son in the 17th cent. and it was this connection that gave John and Rosemary Nicholson the idea of turning the abandoned church into a museum.

I have driven past this church on many occasions as it is just before the roundabout which takes you onto Lambeth Bridge, yet I never noticed that the church had been converted to a museum. Once you walk through the gates you are met with beautiful wild flowers growing amongst the gravestones.

Inside the museum it still looks like a church but with some partitions. There is a large collection (actually not that large) of paintings, books, posters and leaflets to do with British gardens. There was also a video showing extracts from the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice as this was filmed in the gardens of Lyme  Hall, Cheshire. This was of great interest to me as I had visited Lyme Hall just a few weeks ago (see Blog on Lyme Hall) and loved being able to trace the steps of Colin Firth around the gardens.
Other exhibits included a collection of gardening tools - a cucumber straightener was one I didn't recognise.

At the back of the church is a small 17th cent style knot garden which shows the geometric patterns formed by low hedges which were very popular in the formal gardens during that time

A plaque dedicated to the founders of the museum, John and Rosemary Nicholson in 1977.

Walking around the knot garden I notced this large grave and on closer inspection discovered it was the grave of Captain Bligh  known for the mutiny on The Bounty.


  1. That's fantastic! I've never given Bligh's burial place a moments thought - but if I had, I'm sure I wouldn't have picked anywhere like this!!! Great find!!

  2. Such a beautiful place you live! Who needs to get on a plane and fight the crowds when they could just go there with YOU? Thanks for the tour, I really enjoyed it.

  3. Wow, amazing post. Who'd of thought a gardening museum.

  4. Oh I could get happily lost in tranquility browsing this museum and gardens.

  5. Nothing cheers me up like topiary! I think I'll go plant a turtle outside this week. Ten bushes and five years and I'll have Lonesome George the late Galapagos tortoise back again.

  6. Hi there - I would have said that the building itself would have been worth a visit. And the gardens look great.

    I have no idea if the Earth Stars are edible - I know puff balls are (surprisingly!) - but I have no intention to "giving them a go!" The other issue would be that these are the only ones I have ever seen!

    Cheers - Stewart M

  7. À wonderful museum in such beautiful surrounds ... London seems to be full of hidden treasures and I'm sure if I lived there I would be forever out and about with my camera.

  8. I love the idea of a "knot" garden!

    Yet another wonderful place you've introduced us to, thanks! :o)


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