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Museum of Garden History|
Lambeth Palace Road, SE1
Nearest Tube: Waterloo
This museum is a delight for garden lovers and is located in the de-consecrated St Mary-at-Lambeth Church, in the district of Lambeth. It is based on the lifework of John Tradescant and his son, who were gardeners to James I (1603-25) and Charles I (1625-49). The two men travelled the world in the 17th century bringing back botanical specimens from all over the world.
Nowadays the gardens are home to a wide display of plants and flowers, some dating right the way back to the Tradescants. And there is also a good exhibition of botanical paintings and horticultural tools from through the ages.
The Tradescants are buried in the church grounds, as is Captain Bligh of Bounty fame, who was also a plant collector. William Bligh's most famous adventure took place in 1789 and involved a mutiny by his crew on his ship The Bounty. He was cast adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but miraculously survived.
In the garden, Bligh's memorial is a sculpture of an eternal flame, whilst the memorial to the Tradescants includes the interesting combination of a seven-headed griffin surrounded by several crocodiles!
The museum is open every day except Saturdays from March to December. Opening hours are from 10.30am-4pm Mondays to Fridays and from 10.30am-5pm on Sundays. Entry is free and there is a café available for refreshments.
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