THE GARDEN MUSEUM

New Talk! Darryl Moore: Gardening in a Changing World

Faced with the challenges of the climate crisis and increasing biodiversity loss, we are at a crucial crossroads in our engagement with the rest of the natural world.

In an event to mark the launch of Darryl Moore’s new book Gardening in a Changing World, he will be part of a conversation with Nigel Dunnett and Arit Anderson, discussing our past and present relationships with plants, and how we need to rethink our attitudes to them. This challenging and important conversation will be essential for anyone interested in making plants and gardens part of the solution to the current and future challenges we face, in a rapidly changing world.

Tues 11 October, 7pm
£15 Standard, £10 Friends, £5 Young Fronds / Students
£5 Livestream

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Gravetye Manor: A Week in the Wild Garden

By Caroline Cathcart, Horticultural Trainee

As part of her Horticultural Traineeship at the Garden Museum, Caroline has the opportunity to work with experienced gardeners across the UK. This traineeship has been generously funded by The National Gardens Scheme and the Museum’s Friends Group in Leicestershire and Rutland. Her first placement recently took her to Gravetye Manor in Sussex, the former home of William Robinson:

“The reputation of the place precedes itself, but nothing could have prepared me for the beauty that assaulted my senses when I stepped out of Gravetye Manor into the garden. I found myself flanked on all sides by flowers, spilling out of the mixed borders onto the paths in a voluptuous swell, their vigour unchecked by the lingering drought.Burgeoning with more flowers than I could count, the borders give a stunning impact, but their most precious treasures were not discoverable at first glance. It was only upon close inspection, while I waited nervously to meet Tom Coward, the head gardener, that they offered themselves up to me. First, the dahlias; the most beautiful was Dahlia merckii, a delicate little thing with tiny lilac flowers held on tall, wiry stems. This diminutive species found its opposite in the giant ‘Emory Paul’, with its ruffled deep pink flowers as big as my head. I was lucky to arrive just as it had unfurled to its most perfect bloom – the following day it had begun to wither…”

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A Discourse on Spaces

Inspired by our Sowing Roots project which explored the gardening cultures brought to the UK by Londoners of Caribbean heritage, we have invited horticulturist, writer and artist Edward Adonteng to curate this series of talks, A Discourse on Spaces.
What is the importance of space to humanity? How do the spaces that we inhabit define us? What happens to these spaces when different worlds collide?

In London, intersections and cultural exchange place the city in an ever-evolving state of hybridity. No two streets are quite the same. This reflective series, influenced by the contributions of the Sowing Roots exhibition, will explore gentrification, immortality, conflict, heritage, sustainability and the movement amongst peoples through a plethora of stories, conversations and perspectives.

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How to Grow the Flowers: Seed Sowing

Ahead of their book launch on 27 September, organic flower growers Wolves Lane Flower Company share an exclusive extract from How to Grow the Flowers: A sustainable approach to enjoying flowers through the seasons. Here are Marianne and Camila’s seed sowing tips to set yourself up for growing successful cut flowers:

“A brown speck burgeoning into a fully fledged plant in one short season is miraculous, and the rush of success addictive. Once you’ve mastered a few easy varieties and been able to cut armfuls of sweet peas or calendula, it’s easy to be totally seduced by the seed catalogues and order everything like a kid let loose in a sweet shop. Growing from seed is a thrifty way of filling your plot but not if you buy more seeds than you have room for or time to nurture. Be selective and remember, there will be future seasons to try new, alluring varieties…”

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Plant of the Week: Viola hederacea

By Matt Collins, Head Gardener

A key feature of the planting within the museum courtyard is the creation of pocket plant communities: three or more species that in partnership form distinct zones within the overall scheme. It’s a rather brilliant ploy by designer Dan Pearson, establishing zoning within such a contained little garden, so that you walk a series of overlapping yet contrasting spaces when circling the central planting. In one area, a loose grouping of poet’s laurel (Danne racemosa), velvety Persicaria virginianaand dark Asarum europaeum; towards the gardener’s shed, canna lily, Geranium ‘White Ness’ and the autumn fern, Dryopteris erythrosora.

Invariably, the underplants (here, asarum and geranium) are abundant and spreading by habit, and are encouraged to drift freely below the taller species, knitting plants together. But of all the courtyard underplants, probably my favourite is the Australian violet, Viola hederacea. It’s the plant I get asked most often to identify (until our giant dahlia flowers in December), and the one I’m frequently, politely, asked to lift a little section of, “just quickly, while nobody’s looking?”. Planted in swathes, to commune with the thornless bramble shrubs (Rubus lineatus), perennial actaea and disporum, and spilling out over the walkways, its near perpetual flowers are a subtle, welcome presence until capped by the cold: tiny scented blooms like purple ink on a sugar cube.
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Benton Iris ‘Strathmore’

This peachy iris variety bred by Cedric Morris at Benton End was named after The Queen Mother’s home Strathmore.

Images: Dry garden by Olivier Filippi, image (c) Olivier Filippi; Gravetye Manor photo by Caroline Cathcart; Wolves Lane Flower Company seed sowing (c) Aloha Bonser-Shaw; Viola Hederacea (c) Matt Collins, Iris ‘Strathmore (c) Claire Dawson
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