Community News

Historic Gardens Weekend, 30 June–1 July

By 6 June 2018January 26th, 2021No Comments
Carlotta and Karen, the Museum's gardening volunteers

Fascinated by plants, their uses and their history? Then head to our Historic Gardens Weekend this summer!

Visitors to the Museum can find out about our period gardens over the weekend of Saturday, 30 June to Sunday, 1 July 2018. Discover the herbs, flowers and vegetables that rural households would have grown and used from Tudor times right up to the Victorian era.

There will be displays, guided walks and talks to enjoy, plus a chance to view a short film about the gardens. You can also chat to the gardening team and see our herbarium.

Find out how plants grown in the Museum’s gardens would have been used for medicinal and culinary purposes, as well as natural dyeing and other uses. Learn how important gardens were to the ordinary working rural people of the past and how they would have been managed.

Walk through gardening history

Today we use gardens as outdoor rooms, with a strong focus on leisure, but this luxury was unavailable to the inhabitants of the historic homes within the Museum’s collection. With herbs and vegetables needed for health, cooking and strewing in the home, historic gardens were spaces essential for each resident family’s wellbeing.

This event uniquely showcases each garden, which not only represents the historic period of its adjoining farmhouse or cottage but also the social status of the householder.

Herbs, vegetables and plants that would have met the needs of rural households over the centuries provide an informative, attractive and historical display covering gardening history from the 14th century to the 19th century.

Displays, demonstrations and talks

Activities take place between 11am–5pm and include guided garden tours, the Museum’s herbarium, natural dyeing, scything, tool making, 18th century stillroom, Tudor apothecary, rosary bead and tussie mussie making, plus the hanging of herbs and their uses. Heritage herbs and seeds will be available to buy.

Produce from, for example, the garden and orchard at Bayleaf Tudor farmhouse is used in the Museum’s working Tudor kitchen, offering visitors insights into food production 500 years ago.

Rural Life Weekends

The Historic Gardens Weekend is part of the Museum’s Rural Life Weekend programme – a series of special activity weekends, each focusing on different elements of ours core themes of historic buildings and rural life.

As visitors tour the Museum and visit the exhibit buildings they can compare similarities and differences across the centuries – from Anglo-Saxon times to the lives of the Victorians.

Future weekends include:

  • Harvest (1–2 September)
  • Home (29–30 September)
  • Scything (4–5 August)
  • Charcoal & Woodyard (25–27 August).

Information for visitors

The Museum will be open for the Historic Gardens Day from 10.30am–6pm, with the garden activities taking place between 11am–5pm.

Dogs on leads are welcome and there is free parking. Regular Museum admission charges apply (free for Annual Members). Our dog-friendly waterside café will be open, plus there are indoor and outdoor picnic areas.