The Garden Museum is one of London's finest venues for visitors wishing to learn about all things horticultural, and its permanent collections offer a fascinating glimpse into "the uniquely British love affair with gardens". Established in 1977 and housed in the ancient church of St Mary's – opposite Tate Britain, and a short distance from central London hotels and landmarks – the museum documents the fascinating history and techniques of garden cultivation.
Those interested in visiting should find that next week offers the perfect opportunity. The weekend is the occasion of the Garden Museum's annual Spring Plants and Gardens Fair, which sees the museum "transformed into a plantsman's paradise".
Around 20 specialist nurseries are expected to congregate on the premises this year, selling a wide variety of different plants and seed specimens. Gardening enthusiasts are bound to find this an unmissable chance to collect some truly rare seeds and bulbs.
High profile exhibitors include Pennard Plants – a nursery who specialise in heritage and heirloom vegetable seeds alongside seeds for the nation's favourite flowers. Shoppers will also be able to peruse the wares of Nobottle Nursery, Beans and Herbs, Herbal Haven and more.
Better still, the Spring Plants and Gardens Fair coincides with the final week of the Garden Museum's latest exhibition, an exploration of trade and commerce in the horticultural world. Entitled Floriculture – Flowers, Love and Money, attendees trace the development of the global flower trade; starting at a 17th century Covent Garden market, they see how a tiny local affair became a £64 billion international industry.
Visitors will hear no end of fascinating tales, for instance of the 19th century snowdrop and daffodil growers who conveyed their wares from Lincolnshire to London by train every morning – not to mention the 1940 sale of four million bulbs to the American government as payment for arms.
Flowers, Love and Money wraps up on April 28th, so would-be attendees are advised to make their way to the Garden Museum with haste.