A Potted HistoryJuly 27th, 2020
In the beginning, there was a garden…
The Story of Gardening is an interactive, immersive, full-sensory experience. Join Monsieur Vert and other historical characters for a journey of discovery through gardens past, present and future.
For the Ancient Romans, gardens were a reflection of their sophistication and advanced principles of design; in Ancient Islamic society, a deep spiritual significance was ascribed to the garden; for the ‘Sun King’ Louis XIV, the gardens at Versailles were a symbol of his divinity; whereas for Victorian plant collectors, they were a living library of nature’s wonders and the rich biodiversity of earth.
The Story of Gardening entertains and educates. Full of surprises and activities for all ages, the exhibition is designed to spark a conversation and will leave you with a new understanding of the relevance and cultural importance of gardens, both throughout history and for people today.
Whether 10 or 100, green-fingered or naturally blighted, get hands-on with games that reground you to the earth. Interact with soil, digging to learn about its profiles and characteristics. Explore the beauty of atmosphere and how they affect plants, using sound, light and movement. Trace different fragrances back to their sources (be warned, not everything comes up smelling of roses!). Solve riddles to spot animals in the glass-domed taxidermy display.
Virtual Reality Pods
Step into the pods to be transported to famous gardens throughout the world today, from strolling through the abundant fruit trees of Babylonstoren, to admiring the fountains of Villa d’Est and gazing into the lily ponds at Monet’s Giverny.
A striking collection of rare gardening tools through the ages. Curated by our heritage manager and displaying themes such as the evolution of the lawnmower, from sheep to robo-mowers.
The Story of Gardening café will soon be serving plant-based teas and cakes inspired by the international Garden Room cuisines.
Earl Grey, Chocolate & Prune Cake inspired by the English Landscape Garden
- 260g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
- 260g butter
- 8 eggs, separated
- 100g soft light brown sugar
- 160g golden caster sugar
- 85g cocoa powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 250 prunes soaked in 100ml strong Earl Grey tea, roughly chopped
Grease a 23cm cake tin and line with greaseproof paper. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until smooth, then stir in the prunes and set aside to cool slightly. Heat the oven to 140°C.
Put the egg yolks and sugars in a food processor and whisk until doubled in volume. Turn off the machine and sift the cocoa powder on top of the egg mixture (the sifting is important to avoid getting lumps). Add the salt, then mix on a low speed until the cocoa is well combined.
Put the egg whites in another large bowl and whisk to soft peaks.
Gently fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Fold a third of the egg white into the mixture to loosen before very carefully folding the rest in, until the mixture is no longer streaky but a rich, even brown.
Spoon into the tin and bake for 40-50 minutes until just set on top, then allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
The Story of Gardening is open 7 days a week.