Sunken and Display Gardens

The Arts and Crafts style Sunken Garden has spectacular floral displays. Around this are displays showing some of the many uses plants have in our society.

The Sunken and Display Gardens were built in 1936, and are overlooked by a terrace with benches that prove a popular space in the sunshine.

The Sunken Garden beds are planted with perennials, to reduce waste from frequently changing floral displays. The seed bank that will develop in the soil from this planting will not only lead to more, lush beds but benefit our local bird population. The pond was deepened in 2023 to help support a greater biodiversity of wildlife.

These botanical displays have been carefully created by our Gardeners and Curators to unite our indoor and outdoor collections. They reflect themes, from the materials which make up some of the collections in our World Gallery, to outdoor examples of instruments to be found in the Music Gallery.

Medicinal Garden

Planted in 10 ‘body part’ sections, the Medicine Garden features a range of plants used to treat illness in different areas of our body.

Some are local remedies that have persisted through time while others have formed the basis of modern medicines.

Dye Garden

Discover a huge array of natural plant dyes and the processes used to produce them.

Read about how some of the dyes are made, and see the plants grouped together by dye colour.

Materials Garden

The materials garden features plants used by people around the world. They make products as diverse as building materials, textiles and musical instruments.