Spring Plant Fair 2023

Our Spring Plant Fair returns on Sunday 16 April

This beloved specialist plant fair has been held at the Garden Museum for over 40 years, gathering expert plant growers and specialist nurseries from around the country to sell some of the best garden plants you’ll find in London. From shade specialists to plants for pollinators, meet the growers and they will help you pick something special that will flourish for whatever growing space you have available, be it a garden, window box, balcony or allotment.

Stalls will include Beth Chatto Gardens, Moore & Moore Plants, Glendon Farm Nursery, and Nobottle Nursery. This year’s fair will also feature a programme of talks and activities curated by Susanna Grant, founder of Hackney-based shade specialist plant shop Hello There Linda.

More details coming soon!

Sun 16 April, 10am – 4pm
£5 Standard, £4 Friends

Book tickets

The Wild Escape

There’s a worm at the bottom of the garden…
what else can we find outside?

We are delighted to be taking part in #TheWildEscape with Art Fund and hundreds of other museums this year! The project unites schools, families and museums in a big celebration of UK wildlife and nature.

Our project will explore science and art through school visits exploring the world of earthworms. Pupils will investigate the structure of earthworms using microscopes, and then make a small wormery to take back to school. The Garden Museum will also create our own wormery!

And in February half-term and the Easter holidays, we will have family workshops creating two-dimensional creatures out of paper inspired by the wildlife we find in our gardens. These will be displayed as a collaborative artwork for Earth Day on 22 April, and on display until the end of May.

Attend a workshop

A History of Potted Plants

By Giovanni Aloi, Curator
Lucian Freud: Plant Portraits

In 1939, Lucian Freud painted a stack of clay pots. At first glance, this is a simple and charming image. On the right is a potted prickly pear (opuntia). On the left is a small silvery pachyphytum. From the perspective of a plant lover, there isn’t much to see… The pads of the prickly pear are cropped by the picture frame—much of the plant is left out. It is not what Freud wanted to focus on. The pachyphytum looks unassuming and fragile in its tiny clay pot. Unusual in composition and even stranger in subject, this is one of the most overlooked paintings by Lucian Freud. But this is one of Freud’s most meaningful works, especially if considered in the context of his long-lasting determination to paint plants in a way that no other artist had previously done. Potted plants have a long history and yet western art has had a complicated relationship with them.

It is known that clay and ceramic pots were widely used in India, Japan, China, and Korea over 3000 years ago, mostly to bring plants closer to houses and in courtyards rather than indoors. Terracotta plant pots have been found in the Minoan palace at Knossos on Crete. The Romans preferred to plant lemon trees in large marble pots. And throughout the Middle Ages, pots were used in convents to grow herbs as well as to keep life-saving medicinal plants close at hand.

Keep reading

The House of a Lifetime:
Umberto Pasti and Ngoc Minh Ngo

Last few tickets!

Writer Umberto Pasti’s house and garden in Tangier is the ultimate example of a well-curated Moroccan villa, filled with museum-quality pieces of furniture, luminous textiles, rare tiles, ceramics, and other objets d’art; set in a lush hillside garden filled with the native flora of northern Morocco.

To celebrate the launch of their new book The House of a Lifetime, Umberto and photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo are joined in conversation by garden designer Tania Compton.

Tues 21 February, 7pm
£20 Standard, £15 Friends, £10 Young Fronds / Students
£10 Livestream

Book tickets

Object of the Week:
Horticultural Basketware (1937)

This advert for horticultural basketware was pubished in the catalogue for the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘Great Spring Show’ in the Royal Hospital grounds at Chelsea in 1937. The baskets were produced by disabled soldiers at the Lord Robert’s Workshops in London, which were established in the 1890s to provide employment and training for injured servicemen. By 1920 there were eleven workshops producing goods such as baskets, toys and furniture.

Explore our collection online
Images: Spring Plant Fair 2022 (c) Graham Lacdao; Islington Back Garden by Susan Shipp  (c.1960), Garden Museum Collection; A hand-coloured woodcut print of a 16th century gardener from ‘The Herbal’ or ‘Krauterbuch’ by Adam Lonicer (Lonitzer); Umberto Pasti’s house (c) Ngoc Minh Ngo
Garden Museum
5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB

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Garden Museum · Lambeth Palace Road · London, London SE1 7LB · United Kingdom