The Museum was set up in 1977 in order to rescue from demolition the abandoned ancient church of St Mary’s. The churchis the burial place of John Tradescant (c1570 – 1638), the first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history. His magnificent and enigmatic tomb is the centrepiece of a knot garden planted with the flowers which grew in his London garden four centuries ago.
In 2008 the interior was transformed into a centre for exhibitions and events by the construction of contemporary gallery spaces. Three exhibitions each year explore the making of British gardens, and a programme of over 30 talks and interviews celebrates figures from gardening history, from the forgotten plant-hunters and gardeners of the past to the designers and writers in fashion today. Visitors will also see a permanent display of paintings, tools, ephemera and historic artefacts: a glimpse into the uniquely British love affair with gardens.