This small museum, founded in 1977, is located in the historic former St Mary at Lambeth church. It tells the history of gardens and gardening and local history in its exhibitions. There are 9000 objects in the collection.
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Objects on display include specialist equipment used on grand country estates to tools for back yard gardeners. Ceramics dating from several hundred years ago as well as a collection of Victorian and Edwardian gardening implements add to the interest. There are also paintings, photographs, and books on display.
There are 26,000 graves in the churchyard.
The gardeners to Charles I, the John Tradescants, arrived here in 1628 and are buried here. They were plant hunters and introduced many shrubs and flowers we know today. Also here are the graves of William Bligh of the Bounty and Lady Anne Howard, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Boleyn.
Banana, oleander, and olive are found in the garden. Irish and nasturtium are among the plants lending colour. A 17th century style knot garden sets it all off. In it are found lavender, holly, roses, perennials, annuals, and bulbs. A wild garden with ornamental flowering annuals and perennials is in the graveyard at the front of the museum.
A potting shed has seasonal gardening advice. Special gardening events, activities, and plant sales take place at the museum.
Lambeth Palace Rd
London SE1 7LB
Across the Thames from the Houses of Parliament
Tel. 020 7401 8865
Open: daily except first Mon of the month, 10.30am-5pm, Sat, 10.30am-4pm; closed Christmas holiday period; vegetarian garden café open daily, 10.30am-4.45pm (cakes only on Sun; take away service)
Garden shop with seeds and gardening gifts and books
Underground: Lambeth North or Westminster
Web: Garden Museum
Photo © by Barbara Ballard