English Gardening

My Garden Today-Feb 8th

My Garden Today-Feb 8th

I live in the Pacific Northwest of America,  fairly close in latitude to London.   Our weather isn’t exactly alike, but it’s close enough that I can grow most of the same plants in the same way.  It’s February, so I’m starting to think of spring and getting some seedlings going.   There is a place in London that I have been wanting to visit for years,  but for some reason, it just hasn’t happened yet.

The place I want to visit is The Museum of Garden History, which has recently changed it’s name to the Garden Museum.  It’s located in Lambeth.   At any rate,  on my first visit , I knew nothing about it.  Each subsequent visit,  it was either closed or I ran out of time.  I am determined to get to it on my next trip over.

My garden has some English influences.  Some of my plants were chosen because I had seen it in England and wanted to add  to my collection.  Euphorbia is one of them.  I have a lovely David Austin rose that is wonderfully prolific and smells heavenly.  There are a few whimsical details that just seem English to me, like a teapot and cup that an artist friend of mine made for me.  It makes me smile every time I see it.

"Tea" by Cindy Dunn

“Tea” by Cindy Dunn

Wikipedia defines the quintessential English garden as:  “the cottage garden is a distinct style of garden that uses an informal design, traditional materials, dense plantings, and a mixture of ornamental and edible plants”.  Mine is certainly this.  Always a work in progress, I consult many books of English Cottage Gardening,  go online,  ask my British friends, but equally use  my American resources.   I am American and I do live in America, but at the same time want to embrace my British heritage and my love of all things English.

The Garden Museum is coming into it’s own now.  One of the reasons I missed it so many times is that it used to be opened for only  part of the year and I seemed to only go in the wrong months.  I went to the website today and it looks as if it’s opened year round now, but closed the first Monday of every month.

It was started in 1977 as a way to save  from demolition the church of St Mary’s which is the burial place of John Tradescant (c1570 – 1638), lauded as “the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history.”  It has evolved into an interesting looking museum with a vast array of exhibitions from garden tools,  garden art, fashion,  art with a garden theme, famous garden designers and plant experts, and the list goes on.   Please check out the website and decide for yourself.  I would think that anyone interested in gardening, design,  history, or English culture would want to visit this beautiful place.

( I lost power shortly after writing this and have been unable to post until today!  Good times)


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