In celebration of Mother’s Day, David and I spend the afternoon with his mother out in London. Our first choice of the Ice Age exhibition at the British Museum had to be put on the back burner as tickets have been selling out way in advance. Instead we ventured to Lambeth to the Garden Museum.
Brits do love their gardens and D’s mum is no exception. It was only natural (and given the weather) that we head to this museum. The website lets us know that the museum was set up in 1977 in order to rescue from demolition the abandoned ancient church of St Mary’s which is the burial place of John Tradescant (c1570 – 1638), the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history.
The church is a great space to house this museum. There is a permanent exhibition on the first floor which goes through the history of gardening, tools, gnomes etc but it very small. I did learn that gardening throughout the ages has been fairly gender neutral with women and men equally working side by side. There were also old photos of families and individuals posting in gardens dating back to the early 1900′s.
‘Roses’ – Installation by floral artist Rebecca Louise Law
The temporary exhibit on the ground floor at the moment is titled Floriculture: Flowers, Love and Money. It showcased how important flowers are to the country and how much the industry has changed. In the 1980′s about 50% of cut flowers sold in the UK were also grown here. In present day less than 10% are grown in country. Where are they coming from? Places like Holland, Chile, Kenya, and the Caribbean. Sustainability of the industry and ethical questions are also posed. Like other industries the customer has the option of supporting flowers were carry the fair trade label.
The Museum’s garden was created in 1980. At its heart is a knot garden designed by the Museum’s President, The Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury (who was then also re-making the gardens at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire).
A garden museum wouldn’t be complete with out seeds, rows and rows of them. There was an over abundance of quantity and choice of vegetables and flowers. I began to dream up the perfect garden, but that will have to wait until we decide to move.
A Mother’s Day special meant it cost £5 to enter whereas it would usually be £7.50. While I probably wouldn’t have gone to this museum otherwise it was an enjoyable day. The cafe had lovely treats and if you have a green thumb and the garden space you’d be missing out if you didn’t visit.
Closest Tube: Lambeth North