The Geffrye's herb garden - photography M Williams
Since it opened in June 1992, the Geffrye's walled herb garden has matured into an oasis of beauty and botanical interest in the East End, an area with a long tradition of gardening and once noted for its horticultural significance. Hoxton, just across Kingsland Road in the parish of Shoreditch, was home to a group of extremely influential nurseries in the 17th and 18th centuries.
The garden, which was made from a derelict site adjacent to the museum, contains over 170 different herbs, and also includes a variety of plants traditionally associated with herb gardens such as roses, honeysuckles and lilies. The herb garden's 12 beds each contain an informal grouping of herbs which share a common use. There are beds for cosmetic, medicinal, culinary, household, aromatic and dye plants. The design is based on a traditional plan of beds intersected by geometric paths, with a fountain in the centre. Three arbours provide secluded seating beneath climbing plants and roses.
Although we use herbs in a much more narrow sense than our ancestors did, we are once again incorporating them into our domestic lives in an every widening way. Herbs, with their ancient uses and historic associations, provide us with both a tangible link to the past and with an alternative for achieving a more natural way of life.
See the Herb Garden 360 view
Follow the left hand menu to find out more about the period rooms and gardens or see the Virtual Tour.