Just As I Am….

When we look at a Tree do we think about these reminders. They are powerful. So every time you pass a tree… be it small or large in stature…..think of what the tree is telling you. It’s a great example of how equally important both tree and “me” really are.

Thank you God….for all the trees…..and all the “me’s.”



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

We are delighted to welcome writer Umberto Pasti joined in conversation by photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo to celebrate the publication of their new book The House of a Lifetime: A Collector’s Journey in Tangier.Saturated colours, intricate patterns, striking architecture: 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 and ceramics, and other objets d’art worthy of a private museum.

Set in a lush hillside garden filled with the native flora of northern Morocco, the house offers glimpses of the serene landscapes and fountains through windows, archways and loggias. Umberto and Ngoc’s conversation will be chaired by garden designer and Garden Museum Trustee Tania Compton.

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

Book tickets

Garden Museum Literary Festival 2023: Parham House

We are delighted to announce that the next Garden Museum Literary Festival will be held at Parham House, West Sussex on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 June 2023, hosted by Lady Emma Barnard and her husband, James.

Parham House is one of the country’s finest Elizabethan houses set at the foot of the South Downs in West Sussex. This beautiful place, with its award-winning gardens, has changed little over the centuries and remains a family home.

This Monday 16 January we will be releasing tickets to Friends for a week of priority booking! To enjoy discounted tickets and grab your tickets ahead of the public release on Monday 23 January, become a Friend from just £36 a year.

Become a Friend

Sowing Roots: Esiah Levy

Esiah Levy, known as Rodney Levy to his family, created SeedsShare in 2016. This involved growing vegetables in his back garden, saving the seeds and then sending them to people around the world for the cost of postage. He hoped that people would send different seeds back to him, to grow, save and send. He came to the Garden Museum in January 2018 to take part in Incredible Edible Lambeth’s Seed Swap event sharing seeds that he’d grown.

Esiah was born in Croydon in July 1986, was married and a father to two young sons. The Garden Museum had hoped to interview Esiah for our Sowing Roots: Caribbean Garden Heritage project but in January 2019, Esiah passed away very suddenly, at the age of 32.

When we finally embarked on the Sowing Roots project in 2020, we still wanted to include Esiah Levy’s story. We set about trying to make contact with his family. Food writer (and Great British Bake-Off finalist) Ruby Tandoh had written about him. It was by contacting Ruby directly that we were introduced to Esiah’s widow Kealy and his sister Syreeta who both agreed to be interviewed and part of our Sowing Roots exhibition.

Keep reading

Enter the Lucian Freud raffle!

Enter our fundraising raffle to win an exclusive private tour of Lucian Freud’s former studio in Kensington! Second prize will win a priceless cutting from Freud’s own Zimmerlinde plant, the subject of many of his paintings, and third prize is a framed photographic print by Howard Sooley of Freud’s studio.

Each ticket counts as an additional entry to the prize draw and the money raised from the raffle will support the Garden Museum and help to ensure the continuation our exhibitions, education and community programmes.

£10 a ticket
Winners drawn on Monday 6 March

Enter the raffle

Could you be the next Chair of the Garden Museum Board of Trustees?

We’re currently recruiting for a new Chair to lead the Board of Trustees during an exciting period of the Garden Museum’s development. Read more about what being a Chair means, how the role supports the Museum, and how to apply below.

Find out more

Object of the Week:
Carters “Tested” Garden Seeds Catalogue, 1898

The back cover of a garden seed catalogue from James Carter & Co., 237, 238 & 97 High Holborn, London, featuring an illustration of dianthus varieties.

Explore our collection online
Images: Umberto Pasti’s Tangier home (c) Ngoc Minh Ngo; Parham House (c) Elizabeth Zeschin; Esiah Levy photo by Maria Bell for Table Magazine; Cutting from Freud’s zimmerlinde (c) Matt Collins; Still Life with Zimmerlinde, c.1950 Freud, Lucian (1922-2011) Credit: Private Collection. Photo © Christie’s Images/© The Lucian Freud Archive. All Rights Reserved 2022/Bridgeman Images; Garden Museum exterior photo by Ollie Tomlinson
Garden Museum
5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB

About Us


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Hi…. I’m “Contessa.” I’ve been blogging as Contessa since 2010. I opened a garden and gift shop in 2008 and began blogging two years later in 2010. This was my choice to communicate using a social social media platform, so as to communicate, with the locals in my community. I was new to social media, but I had heard about WordPress from an intern I had hired to come to work with me during my first six months in business. I began by purchasing a WordPress account, with a yearly subscription. Prior to that, I had been operating a home-based gardening business for three years. It was actually my first attempt at owning something that was my own. It sustained me for three years, but I had always wanted and dreamed of owning a small retail shop. So after almost ten years of searching for a spot to begin my dream, I found a vacant location, signed a five-year lease, and began moving a few pieces of garden furniture and antique furniture, along with “antique smalls” of my own, into my new building suite. Once in…and open for business, I began contacting vendors from previous relationships at a business where I had worked part time, prior to owning my own shop. That previous part time job, gave me enough knowledge and confidence to venture out on my own. In fact, that was the very reason I had taken that position. I searched for so long to find a place to launch my own business, and the day I finally found it, was very exciting. My own brick and mortar store had become a reality. My official name was Contessa’s Garden and Gift, and I was now a retail business owner. The storefront I chose was in a trendy growing community called Delray. I opened my doors on March 1st, 2008. Little did I know…..that combining a gardening business and a retail shop was going to mean that I had bitten off slightly more than I could chew. I thought I could continue serving my gardening clients in my neighborhood, about one mile away from my new store. Within two weeks time I realized it was going to be either the gardening business or the retail store. But in my mind and heart….I did not put the idea away of gardening again. My home was in Parkfairfax about one mile from my new shop. It’s a known fact that starting a business from the ground up requires hours of one’s own “good will” and very hard work. I literally worked every day for six months from 7 am to 7 pm, and then at 7 pm, after closing my store, I would work until the midnight hours to unpack, price, display, clean, balance my books and go about setting up new accounts with over thirty nationwide vendors, so that a flow of new merchandise could be timed appropriately to arrive each season for my new customers. All of this was part of my huge dream of shop ownership. I’d achieved my wishes. Tears of joy and gratitude came.

Social media was the best way to reach my audience so I chose WordPress as my communication vehicle and began photographing with a digital camera and posting new arrivals of merchandise every day. I was so pressed for time as a sole proprietor, that I posted mostly pictures in the beginning. I was trying to win my audience by “wowing” them with daily photography posts. Within a year I purchased an Apple iPhone and my digital camera became history. Technology was moving fast and I had to learn very quickly to keep up. I was writing by now and content was very important. During this time each store visitor signed a contact roster when they came to visit. My contact list grew so rapidly I hired a Russian student part time to come three days a week and enter my new contacts into my customer contact database. It worked and became successful enough to put me “on the map” so to speak. I taught myself how to navigate WordPress and the rest is history. I was on social media and it really helped me grow my business.

It’s now Jan 2023  I’ve closed my store and once again I am back to my first love…. Gardening. My posting on WordPress has taken on many new posts related to my gardening projects, my Yoga practice, my Etsy selling activity, spiritual reflection, cooking and recipes and my faith based beliefs and highlighting the profound relationship I have with my creator, nature and my gardening endeavors. I believe God is calling me to write and to share through and with my faith. And…..the “love of my life” is encouraging me and politely “pushing” and attempting to stretch me, in his own loving way, to become the author and the person he knows…..and I know….has the skills and gifts to achieve all these dreams.  Amen!

So….where do I go from here. I believe I am being called to become a writer. I’m at the stage of contemplation. Do I write my “story,” do I write about gardening and nature, do I write about my faith journey… and how it has led me to this important calling in my life?  I’m praying about this and I know the Lord will bring me to his plan and path for his greater glory. I wait…and I pray….I am still… and I trust.

May I put my heart out there to those of you who might shepherd and encourage me. I’ve led a long life with so many blessed experiences and plenty of real life barriers, and a few mountains to climb. But I am confidant that I have an amazing opportunity to share how I have come this far, and how my creator has led me and changed my heart and my life. I feel chosen to share with others….so that I might make a real difference in others lives, as it relates to their future spiritual paths and calling from their God.

Thank you for hearing my story. I am happy to hear your comments on where and how I move forward from here. I have great hope and am anxious to proceed. Your comments and encouragement are most…. Welcome!


A Covenant Prayer

My Prayer

Oh… my great and wonderful God. I now dedicate my life to you and to my outward service, which I intend to give to others in your name.

I wish to faithfully use all the many and generous gifts you have given to me by serving every “other” in my “wake.”  I thank you for my full and long life, and with my whole heart and soul, I wish to please and honor you. A new year with new opportunities to bring you into lives yet known to me. I accept your holy guidance over me and pray for your blessings over me this year. In Jesus holy and precious name I now pray this Covenant Prayer.

• AMEN •

Preparation of Broth/Stock for Chicken Noodle Soup

We have a chill in the air and rain coming tonight  Soup for this week will be welcome. Chicken Noodle is a perfect one, so we are preparing the stock now. A family favorite and it makes about ten servings. Enough to freeze a few small containers for those days when you haven’t prepared anything for lunch or supper and it’s cold outside..
……… its a good thing to do!

Remove the meat after roasting two chickens. Separate white from dark meat; bag and reserve for the soup assembly.

Break up the chicken carcass of both chickens and place in a stock pot. Cover with boiling water. Set the heat on medium high. Add two celery stocks cut up in large chunks, three carrots and one whole onion, also all cut into chunks. Add fresh parsley/a half bunch. Use a pepper grinder to add flavor. Generous amount. We add salt also….but only after the broth has finished cooking, because the roasted chicken already has salt flavoring and you may not need more. We are conserving on salt intake, so each individual serving can add their own later to their taste. In general, over salting takes away from the true flavor of the real taste of many foods. And it’s a healthy option to add it later.

Once the broth comes to a generous boil, cover and reduce the heat to your lowest possible setting. Cover. Avoid taking the lid off as then it cools down. Simmering the broth on a low stove setting creates a very rich broth. Simmer about two hours. You want it to simmer not boil.

Once it’s finished set the pot aside to cool.

Later we’ll give further assembly instructions. So keep in touch with us.

It’s way worth it.  Trust us……



Talk | Alice Vincent:
Why Women Grow

We are delighted to host the official launch of Alice Vincent’s new book Why Women Grow, a major narrative exploration of the relationship between women and the soil.

The book was borne of a determination to tell the stories that have too-frequently been buried in the earth for centuries. Over the course of two, largely locked-down years, Alice visited the gardens and growing spaces of 45 women from all walks of life. Why Women Grow is a collection of these conversations, along with Alice’s own personal journey as she contemplates a new phase of life.

She will be joined on-stage by two women from the book, herbologist and chef Maya Thomas, Medical Herbalist and Ayurvedic Practitioner Anne McIntyre and gardener and creator of Decolonise the Garden, Sui Searle, to discuss the reasons why women go to ground.

Tues 28 Feb, 7pm
Standard £20, Friends / Young Fronds £15
Book add-on available

Book tickets

Film | Lucian Freud: Wasteground, Paddington (1970)

The view from the window at 227 Gloucester Terrace in London was far from bucolic. Painted when the artist was in his late 40s, this abandoned garden in Paddington—then a rundown and densely populated area just north of Hyde Park—captures a story of human and plant resilience. Guest Curator Giovanni Aloi shares what we can learn from this unconventional l garden painting.

Lucian Freud: Plant Portraits is open until 5 March
Digital Partner Patch Plants

Watch more films in our online exhibition

William Pamplin:
Nurseryman of Lavender Hill

By Thomas Rutter

Former Horticultural Trainee at the Garden Museum, Thomas became curious about William Pamplin when he discovered his diaries in the Museum’s Archive. The full article ‘William Pamplin: Nurseryman of Lavender Hill’ appeared in The London Gardener journal (v26).

William Pamplin (1765-1844) is today not a name known to most. Yet he was once a celebrated nurseryman acquainted with some of the leading lights in the horticultural world. Pamplin’s diaries, donated to the Garden Museum Archive, cover the period 1827–1841 and paint a vivid picture of the life and times of a Regency nurseryman.

On the expiry of his lease on the Pine Apple Nursery in c.1826 on the Kings Road, Pamplin moved his enterprise south of the Thames to what Robert Sweet described as ‘the more airy and healthy situation of Lavender-hill, in the Wandsworth-road, at a pleasant distance from London, and where the choice herbaceous, and other plants, may be expected to thrive much better than nearer the smoke of the metropolis’.

Pamplin’s diaries describe not only his growing and purveying of plants but document a range of activities that suggest that metropolitan nurserymen were imaginative and resourceful at a time of great horticultural extravagance…

Keep reading

A New Season of Cooking Masterclasses

Got a new year’s resolution up to up your cooking game? Join us in our Learning Studio kitchen for a hands-on cooking masterclass! Hosted by expert food writers and chefs, the sessions include tastings or a full meal eaten together depending on the course. All profits from our cooking masterclass series help to cover food costs for our community programmes.

Coming up this season:

Fermentation with Claire Heal | Sun 19 Feb
Book tickets

Vegetarian Feast with Zita Steyn | Sun 19 March
Book tickets

Borough Market: The Knowledge with Angela Clutton | Sun 30 April
Book tickets

Herbs with Rachel Davies | Sun 21 May
Book tickets

£90 per person, includes all ingredients

See all cooking classes

Happy New Year!

The Garden Museum will be open again from Monday 9 January, and we look forward to welcoming you back this year.

But before we get digging into 2023, over on Instagram we’re celebrating some of our highlights from the past twelve months, from show-stopping floral design for British Flowers Week to talking compost at our Spring Plant Fair, and luxuriating in the glamour and beauty of roses.

See our 2022 highlights
Images: Why Women Grow illustration courtesy of Canongate; Fermentation jars (c) Claire Heal; British Flowers Week 2022 (c) Graham Lacdao
Garden Museum
5 Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7LB

Our Wellington Client – Today’s Assignment

Our client has been away since December 10th and today  we are making preparation for her arrival back home from Tennessee. Her back yards common area had never been cleared since she bought the property five years ago. So yesterday and today we finally completed this task. She had hired a contractor to build a lovely brick patio, which due to covenant rules in our  condo association, had to be removed. The center of the yard is now just dirt after a demo crew came and tore the patio out. So in anticipation of her being approved for a new “regulation” patio, we completed a serious clean up of her entire open area in the back. She has a number of patio pieces and we clustered them at one corner of her back wall area. When she returns we plan to tarp them and leave them there until the new patio construction is approved by our Condominium Board.

So while there today we cleaned up all her beds, deadheaded all her Pansies and hauled away four bags of debris including a good bit of the crumbled cement foundation of the first patio structure. It was quite a mess but it’s taking shape. Her small wooded common area has a rich and dense undergrowth that’s actually kind of native woodlands, so even though we cleaned up a goid bit of it, she still has some perimeter growth at the back of the property offering her location some very nice privacy.

We had secured permission to take care of this clean up and we think she is going to be very pleased with our progress.

Once cleaned up it provided an opportunity to see lots of  new spring flowering shoots coming up, which you couldn’t even see prior to our work. It’s looking very promising now.

Happily today it was 67 degrees here and quite lovely day outdoors for doing a yard work project like this one. We had a good time and feel accomplished. Gradually it will all come together we are certain.

We completed and billed our client for four (4) hours of work today.

Contessa” says….. it’s all a very good thing!

Learning New

good morning!

A new day to learn new things…CARPE DIEM!

They say you learn something new every day! I wholeheartedly believe this, however when I started to ask myself what did I learn yesterday it was rarely top of mind. It did not lead me to discount this adage; it did make me realize I needed to be more conscience of the information coming into my life. For 30 days I decided to actively keep track of one thing I learned  every day. To make this experiment more robust, I also kept track of where this learning would make an impact (Work, Personal or Both), and how did I learn it (though conversation, an event, or was I seeking knowledge – i.e. a book). Through doing this I learnt far more than 30 things.

  • I confirmed that only when I choose to be conscience of what I am learning can I understand the impact it can have on my life, and will have a better chance of remembering it to be able to consciously use it in the future.
  • Things that impact me personally, both just personally or both work and personal, are the things I remembered most frequently, as these things have the biggest impact on my life as a whole.
  • Although I actively seek out knowledge that is of interest to me every day, most of what I recorded was learning that happened through a conversation or an event. Interactions I have with other individuals always create the most meaning in my life.

This lead me to confirm that we do learn something new everyday; however, I think I realized that we learn so much, and have so much information coming in, we are more naturally selective of what we remember. If I look at the things I choose to write down, they were things that I knew if I could remember them, would have a positive impact on my life and others. Enabling me to create more meaning in the information I receive.

Yes, we learn something new every day; I know I learned at least one new thing yesterday. It was: to ensure that the learnings coming into my life can have a positive impact, I need to create more awareness around what it is, what it means, and the impact it can have on myself and the world around me.

I’ll report back later today on what new I’ve “learnt” today.
How “bout” you?
Seize this day…. on your end….
Sent from my iPhone

December….Birds and Blooms

Our favorite winter bird. They always come round in pairs. He travels fast. She follows. But often you will see him scouting for morsels. Two things are going on. She is very independent and she may still have a “yungin” close by. But her demeanor suggests she will always join him. Her coloring is subtle but his is blazing red. We love to watch them. Our cover certainly shows his majestic prowess.

And this photo below…..was captured during a huge snow storm. This northern cardinal is puffing up his feathers to keep the damp snow from settling on his plumage. Then when the snow packs down he can ruffle his feathers and shake the snow off. And the puffed up feathers helps to keep  him warmer. 

We think this December copy is fantastic.


Birds and Blooms reminds us not to forget to provide water for the birds in the winter months.
…….and to decorate low hanging branches with bird treats that you’ve made yourself. Make sure to include some peanut butter on a pine cone. They love it.
Very helpful and sweet ideas children can do indoors, and then the family can visit a tree in the yard together, to string the garlands where they can be seen from an indoor window. Family fun and a learning opportunity too.


Also published in this issue was the Grand Prize Winner of the Annual B & B Photo Contest. Literally thousands of entries were sent to the magazine. This one was the winner. Very cool. I mean how often could this “pose” be possible.

Butterfly photos are featured on page 48 and 49.

Finally,  a Kale plant left over from a summer garden, turns pink in the cold.

I don’t often feature so many photos in my B & B posts, because the magazine photo copy doesn’t really do justice to these great photos in this publication. What I see is not what you see, unless you borrow our copy. But…. I hope your curiosity is keen enough to even order this magazine for your family. It’s $10 a year. You will improve your knowledge of birds, flowers, indoor plants, berry bushes, and insects,  and the readership is from all over the US.   It’s a fantastic and compact way to educate yourself and the members of your family. I grew up with books and publications of all these pictures in my home. It’s a fantastic way to take the natural world and bring it into our lives. We need to appreciate our natural world…. way more than we do. I hope you will take the time to do this with your family, or even just for yourself.

Contessa” says….it’s  all a very….very…good thing!