View of the period gardens - photography Richard Davies
Visitors can explore the museum's award-winning walled herb garden and a sequence of period gardens highlighting the past four centuries of middle-class domestic gardens. Inspired by the local area's history as a centre of horticulture, nurseries and market gardens, our gardens are chronologically arranged to explore the links between home interiors and gardens.
Changes in style and taste have influenced the design of gardens, and plants have been a major source of inspiration for the forms and patterns of furniture, textiles and ornaments. In the daily routines of home life, herbs have been not only used in the preparation of food and drink, but have also been essential for health and hygiene.
The front garden provides a popular open space and a formal setting for the Grade I listed almshouses in inner-city Hoxton. It follows the formal layout described in our almshouse records, with large areas of grass on either side of a central path leading to the chapel, bordered by London plane trees planted around 100 years ago.
The herb garden is laid out in a traditional, formal plan, centred on a bronze feature by local artist Kate Malone. The planting scheme acknowledges the many household uses of herbs, with separate beds for medicinal, culinary, aromatic and dye plants.
The garden contains over 170 different plants, including some traditionally associated with English herb gardens, such as roses, honeysuckles and lilies. It attracts insects, butterflies and birds providing a valuable urban habitat and a useful learning resource for schoolchildren and others interested in the properties of plants and the ecology of gardens.
The period gardens behind the almshouses 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 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.
Please note that the period and herb gardens are open to visitors between 30 March and 31 October
Follow the left hand menu to find out more about each of the gardens or click here to explore the individual 360 views.