Friday, 8 September 2017

garden variety

Housed in a deconsecrated church and owing its existence to landscape artist, botanist and curio collector John Tradescant the Younger who designed the surrounding gardens and was entombed there along with twenty-thousand other souls, London’s unique Garden Museum is reopening after a year and a half of careful renovation that protected the character of the medieval structure.
The structure was abandoned and slated for demolition in the early 1970s until it was saved and converted into a celebration of garden design and history by an impassioned couple, with exhibits on the social and practical aspects of the craft. Tradescant (1608*-1662†) frequently made excursions to the new world and introduced many new varieties of plant-life (the taxonomy of many flowers are so named in his honour) to England and acquired in his travels new artefacts to add to his familial cabinet of curiosities—the Ark, which was the first collection of its kind put on public view in England and included a specimen of the Vegetable Lamb of Tartary. The Ark was also seed that germinated into the Ashmolean collections of Oxford but has been reunited with its curator and is now also to be found in a niche of St Mary-at-Lambeth’s.