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National Gardening Week

In celebration of National Gardening Week, we'd like to take the opportunity to give you a taste of what we have in store for Heritage Open Days this year.

Madeleine Cox

This week is National Gardening Week! We'd like to take this opportunity to give you a sneak preview of our plans for Heritage Open Days later this year. As usual, we will be opening our doors on the second weekend of September (Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th) to give you the chance to get up close to items from our collections that are not usually on public display.

watering jug
A watering jug/pot; earthenware; patches of orange/green glaze; thumbed foot rim; deep belly; heavy, applied loop handle lose on short wide neck with thumbed grooving around; ringed neck with semi-covered opening, the cover thumbed; rose broken off and re-applied late-sixteenth century writing in wet clay of rose face.

The event will run from 10am-4pm each day and we hope that visitors and locals alike will pop in and have a look. This will be a free drop in event and we will be looking at plants, gardens and gardening in Shakespeare's time, the gardens of our town and country properties and gardens in the plays and nature as it is represented in performance of the plays, all through our world class library, archive and museum collections. So whether you want to see how the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust's gardens have evolved through time, find out what people were growing in Shakespeare's time or reminisce over favourite pastoral productions at the RSC (or indeed learn about Herbert Beerbohm Tree and his thyme and flower strewn A Midsummer Night's Dream... with added rabbits!); we will have something for you.

the gardeners labyrinth
A woodcut from The Gardeners Labyrinth: containing a discourse of the gardeners life, in the yearly trauels to be bestovved on his plot of earth, for the vse of a garden: with instructions for the choise of seedes, apte times for sowing, setting, planting, [and] watering, and the vessels and instruments seruing to that vse and purpose: wherein are set forth diuers herbers, knottes and mazes, cunningly handled for the beautifying of gardens. Also the physike benefit of eche herbe, plant, and floure, with the vertues of the distilled waters of euery of them, as by the sequele may further appeare. Gathered out of the best approued writers of gardening, husbandrie, and physicke: by Dydymus Mountaine. Thomas Hill and Henry Dethicke (Editor). Printed by Henry Bynneman in London, 1577.

Come along and meet collections staff and volunteers and enjoy Tudor gardening implements, early printed Herbals and gardening books, historic photos, theatre archives, and local archive documents and drawings.

queen elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth and Levi Fox in Shakespeare’s Birthplace Garden in 1975

One particular focus will be the history of New Place Gardens. Find out about the plants that have been sourced for New Place Garden in the past and how our gardeners are bringing these back. Learn about the work of Ellen Ann Willmott. Meet our gardeners and hear about their work and sign up if you fancy volunteering in our beautiful gardens in future.

sbt new place knot garden
New Place Garden – site of the Knot Garden c.1880

To find out more and to keep up to date with our plans, look on our website or on the Heritage Open Days site which goes live with events in mid-July. If you'd like to browse some of our garden photos, don't forget many of these are on open access in the Reading Room.