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Friends Events: Secrets from the Stores

In three special events this autumn and winter, Friends and Patrons of the Garden Museum will enjoy exclusive access to the archives of Britain’s best loved garden designers.

Dig deeper into the professional lives of gardening greats Russell Page, Beth Chatto and John Brookes with the experts on each designer. The Garden Museum’s Archivist will illustrate their stories through a carefully chosen selection of the designer’s letters, diaries, annotated designs and sketches – many of which have never been on public display. Each event begins at 11am and is limited to 25 Friends on a first come, first served basis.

Opened in 2019, The Archive of Garden Design is the only one in the world dedicated to modern British Garden Design. In these events, we would like to give Friends the chance to see first-hand the collections that their support helps to preserve.

Interested in attending Secrets from the Stores sessions but not yet a Friend? Become one by clicking here.


The Russell Page Collection with Dr. Lucy Inglis
Monday 28 October 2019 | 11am – 12.30pm
Book tickets

Russell Page (1906-1985) was a world-renowned British garden designer and landscape architect whose impressive geographic reach and high-profile clientele are hard to beat. For the past year, art historian and archivist Dr. Lucy Inglis has been researching the Russell Page Collection for an exciting new project at the Garden Museum. In this session, she will dive into the archive (which contains over 3300 plans!) to explore some of Page’s major projects and reveal a glimpse of the never-before-seen unpublished sequel to his classic memoir, The Education of a Gardener.

The Beth Chatto Archive with Dr. Catherine Horwood
Monday 25 November 2019 | 11am – 12.30pm
Book tickets

Fresh from the launch of Beth Chatto: A Life with Plants, Dr. Catherine Horwood will guide us through some highlights from the vast Beth Chatto Archive, which Catherine helped Beth to sort back in 2011 and which provided the research base for her new book. Beth Chatto (1923-2018) was a British plantswoman, garden designer and author best known for creating the Beth Chatto Gardens in Elmstead and for her influential principle: ‘right plant, right place’. Her archive is both personal and professional in nature, and as the author of Beth’s biography, Catherine is the best person to reveal it to Friends.

The John Brookes Archive with Dr. Barbara Simms
Thursday 23 January 2020 | 11am – 12.30pm
Book tickets

John Brookes is the landscape designer who introduced Modernism to British garden design, revolutionizing the way people use their gardens and outdoor spaces. He is widely associated with developing the concept of the ‘room outside’. The author of 25 books, John inspired generations of garden designers around the world; indeed he designed both public and private gardens in North America, South America, Japan, South Africa, and Europe, and taught and lectured in six out of the seven continents. His archive is extensive, with designs filling four plan chests, providing a unique insight into his career. In this session, garden and landscape historian Dr. Barbara Simms, author of John Brookes Garden and Landscape Designer, an illustrated retrospective of his career, will pick her favourite drawings and share what she thinks makes Brookes so special.

Image: Ref. RP/1/14/15/13 Title: The Frick Collection, Drawing of Garden Date: c.1976 Image courtesy of the Archive of Garden Design at the Garden Museum.