View of the period gardens - photography Jayne Lloyd
You can explore the museum's award-winning walled herb garden and period gardens which show how domestic gardens have changed over the past four centuries. Inspired by Shoreditch’s history as a centre of horticulture and market gardens, our gardens are chronologically arranged to explore the links between home interiors and gardens. Please note that the period and herb gardens are open now until the end of October. The front gardens are open all year round.
The front gardens are open all year round and are a popular open green space in busy inner-city Shoreditch. The garden layout follows that described in our almshouse records, with large areas of grass on either side of a central path leading to the chapel, bordered by magnificent 100-year-old London plane trees.
The herb garden is laid out in a traditional, formal plan, centred on a bronze water feature by local artist Kate Malone. The planting scheme shows the many household uses of herbs, with separate beds for medicinal, culinary, aromatic and dye plants.
The garden contains over 170 different plants and herbs, including some traditionally associated with English herb gardens, such as roses, honeysuckles and lilies. The garden attracts insects, butterflies and birds and provides a valuable urban habitat, as well as a useful learning resource for schoolchildren and others interested in plants and garden ecology.
The period gardens are based on the design and planting of urban middle-class gardens since the 17th century. Evidence has been pieced together from drawings, prints, maps, garden plans, planting lists, diaries and literature to achieve accuracy in plant histories, planting relationships and the layout of the beds. For example, the design of the Tudor knot garden, planted in santolina and wall germander, was taken from a parquetry motif on the oak livery cupboard in the museum's 1630 Hall.