Monday, October 4, 2010

Pick a spade... any spade...

Tucked away in a little corner of Lambeth, on the banks of the Thames, is a lovely little church-come-garden museum.

The Garden Museum, boasts an interesting history--formerly the St. Mary-at-Lambeth church fell into disrepair and faced demolition in the 1970s. Enter a host of individuals who realized that among the tombs in the churchyard lay the tomb of leading 17th century plant hunters, gardeners, and collectors--the John Tradescants.

The fledgling garden museum was born, and more recently, has been renovated to reflect a contemporary design. The church facade remains intact, with elaborate stained glass windows and stone archways. Upstairs, the permanent collection is housed, an eclectic gathering of more than 9,000 artifacts which reflects British gardens and gardening.

My favorite artifacts? the cucumber straightener (for those obsessed with perfection in form) and the grape bottle (keep your grapes fresh for months!)...

As you enter the museum, you can enjoy the wild garden, a mindfully-created space to support bio-diversity and the needs of a wide range of our urban wildlife inhabitants.

Downstairs, there's a gallery space for traveling exhibits, a well-stocked gift shop, and a cafe, which leads outside to the museum's piece de resistance--an intricate 17th century style knot garden.

Among notable tombs and burials in the garden--six Archbishops of Canterbury, a host of 16th century aristocrats, and Captain William Bligh (of the HRS Bounty)

After wandering around the lush garden, my appetite was whet, and soon remedied by a delicious bowl of broccoli soup and home-made bread from the cafe.

Then came the dangerous and delightful part... the bulb sale!!!

Too bad I couldn't bring any home.

I'm hopeful to visit the museum before my departure for one of their regularly-scheduled featured events and lectures. This splendid little find was a pleasant way to enjoy the afternoon after a long journey from the other side of the pond.

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting and appropriate find during your London travels. I am sorry that I did not contact you before you left, but hope that you are enjoying yourself--RHB.