New talk! Tom Massey: Resilient Garden

Tom Massey is one of the leading designers of his generation and his new book, RHS Resilient Garden (published by DK in April) is a climate emergency call to action for us all to garden more sustainably. To celebrate the publication, hear Tom and some of the book’s expert contributors discuss the important issue of climate-resilient gardening.

How can we design our gardens and green spaces to become more adaptable in a warming climate? How resilient are gardens, in the face of extreme weather events such as heatwaves and drought or excessive rainfall and flooding? Why should we be planting our own food forests, adopting green roof and swale planting, harvesting rainwater, or adding hügelkultur mounds? What are the best plants to cool the air and trap harmful pollutants?

The evening will be chaired by Chris Young, who will welcome guests Tayshan Hayden-Smith, Dr Tijana Blanusa, Dr Hayley Jones, and Thomas Rainer on stage, joining Tom Massey for a panel discussion on resilient gardening.

Tues 11 April, 7pm
£15 Standard, £10 Friends/Young Fronds
£10 Livestream

Book tickets

Jane Jacobs Day 2023

Join us for the Garden Museum’s inaugural Jane Jacobs Day, a day of activities celebrating the renowned urban theorist, writer, and activist Jane Jacobs, most famously known for her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961).

The day will include a Jane Walk in our local neighbourhood, a community workshop, and an evening panel discussion on London’s future, to commemorate the outstanding contribution Jane Jacobs made to urban studies, sociology, economics, and activism.

Full programme coming soon, but tickets are available now for the evening talk!

Ideas for a Greener London
Chaired by Evan Davis, this panel discussion will explore how to envision a brighter, greener, and better future for London. Speakers include Architect Alex Arestis on the development of an urban arboretum; academic Dr Morag Rose on walking together to shape the planet; Oli Mould on the futures of golf courses and writer George Hudson on why utilities are the problem…

Thurs 4 May, 7pm
£10 Adult, £8 Friend, £8 Student, £8 Unemployed
£10 Livestream

Book tickets

Plant of the Week: Fritillaria verticillata

By Matt Collins, Head Gardener

As anyone who follows my Instagram account will know, my fixation with fritillaries began in earnest while living at Benton End in Suffolk, where the appearance of various species once grown by Benton’s renowned artist-gardener, Sir Cedric Morris, still appear sporadically in the rough grass, decades after his death. Going out in the dewy spring mornings to spot dainty, elegant and sometimes curious fritillaries half hidden in the walled garden there — during the strange quiet of the pandemic — will forever remain one of my most favourite gardening experiences. Not least as it tuned my eye to the nuances and natural appeal of species bulbs more generally.

This week, while the cold weather creeps on into spring, stinging hands and stiffening boots, I have rejoiced at the indifference shown by our clumps of Fritillaria verticillata— a completely magnetising species fritillary from Japan whose multi-headed, cream-white blooms appear to have almost doubled in spread and size since last year, despite the chill temperatures. Planted in the Museum courtyard as a little drift last April, I staked the emerging shoots this winter with little berberis prunings (sturdily pronged and advantageously sharp), to give its slender, tendril-clad stems something to cling to. Here at the damper, partially sunny end of the garden they have now risen to well above two feet, dangling as many as five flowers each: qualities that make verticillata (which means ‘whorled’, in reference to the arrangement of its leaves around the stem) a fantastic garden plant for spring.

Verticillata wasn’t among the fritillaries I encountered at Benton End, but I came to know it around the same time during a visit to a garden once owned by late garden writer Tony Venison. Venison died in 2019, but for many years was a frequent visitor to (and great chronicler of) Benton End. So there is a small chance the fritillary is linked; if not given by Morris (who was famously generous with plants) then perhaps discussed with him in the garden. Upon seeing it I was instantly charmed: if the height, floral abundance and butterfly antennae-like tendrils weren’t captivating enough, you lift the little pendent heads to reveal an exquisite, blood-red crosshatch beneath the petals. If you’re visiting the museum, I encourage you to wander out and look.

About our gardens

Otros Vinos at the Garden Café

Friday nights at the Garden Café are back from next week, and to celebrate we’ve invited one of our wine suppliers and good friends of the Café, the excellent Otros Vinos, to join us and pick the wine list for the evening.

Focusing on low-intervention wine makers, Otros Vinos use lesser known grape varieties from some of the more obscure regions of France and Spain. Head chef Myles has put together a Mediterranean inspired menu for the evening to compliment the list.

Spots are limited so please book online in advance.

Friday 24 March, from 6pm

Book a table
Images: Tom Massey (c) Wax London; Jane Jacobs, chairman of the Comm. to save the West Village holds up documentary evidence at press conference at Lions Head Restaurant at Hudson & Charles Sts (1961), New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection, Library of Congress; Fritillaria verticillata
Garden Museum
5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB