View of the period gardens - photography Jayne Lloyd
The Geffrye is closed until spring 2020 for a transformational two-year development. Throughout closure we are running events in our front gardens and tours of the restored almshouse.
The museum's front gardens are open at the following times:
- Monday - Friday 7.30am - dusk
The museum's award-winning walled herb garden and period gardens 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.
The front gardens 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, which opened in 1992, 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, created in 1998, 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.