Gardening Group

Photo of two gardeners and the gazebo in the garden
The gazebo fits exactly in the space we have and provides shelter from sun and rain

2017 update

This year the Library Gardening Group is continuing to open the ‘Tradescant’s Retreat’ garden every 2nd Saturday each month, from 1.30 til about 4.00. You will also find us open at other times, for example, when there is an event in the library square.

It is an opportunity to meet others interested in gardening, share seeds and plants,  do some gardening or just sit and read or enjoy the garden. There are benches and a gazebo so there is somewhere to sit and shelter.

If you have any spare plants that you could donate, we would be most grateful. Please bring them on the day.

About the Group

The Friends of Tate South Lambeth Library (FTSLL) gardening group was launched on 12th May 2012.

The objective of the group is to share local skills; seeds; cuttings and produce.

We also regularly garden in the small library garden, located at the back of the library.

We hope to support each other with our own garden planting concerns and to support the local vicinity community / street gardening initiatives.

We meet every second Saturday of the month, from 1.30 onwards.

We also meet for additional gardening sessions.  Join our phone list – and we will send you a text message when we are having an extra gardening session.

We are also on the London-wide ‘Project Dirt’ site as  Tradescant’s Retreat Gardening Group.

Garden phonelist

If you would like to be on the phone list for short extra gardening sessions to help us in the library garden, send a text or call Penny on 07821 401 793.

We will send the date and time by text, then you just come along if you have time. No obligation!

(Note, you can still receive texts if you have a landline.)

How Tradescant’s Retreat was founded

In 2010 FTSLL obtained funds from Lambeth Council’s Ward Purse (a programme of grants to community projects endorsed by ward councillors) for the renovation of the then decrepit courtyard.

The whole area was repaved and a garden are installed at one end , with a water butt fed by a downpipe from the library roof. An outdoor table was also installed. FTSLL contributed money to buy plants, compost, a watering can and a yard brush. Members also kindly donated plants.

Named Tradescant’s Retreat the courtyard was ready for use in Spring 2010. Gerry Holtham, husband of the Friend’s chairman, established and previously tended the garden.

We have had funds from the New Covent Garden Market to buy plants, including some from the list of plants collected and brought to England by the Tradescants. We are also supported by the Garden Museum, who have provided us with compost, Tradescant Area Residents Association  for transporting the compost, and the South London Master Gardeners who have provided coaching support.

Five lined orange boxes each planted with Chamomile, Yarrow, Daisy, Mint and Lavender - the repeated plantings are very effective
Five lined orange boxes each planted with Chamomile, Yarrow, Daisy, Mint and Lavender – the repeated plantings are very effective

Some things we have been covering:

  • Growing you own
  • Growing and propagating the Tradescant plants
  • Getting involved in street plantings
  • Talks and workshops
  • Gardening for dry areas
  • Plant uses
  • Garden coaching support, swapping tips, seeds etc




Google map of local community gardens and places of interest to gardeners

Note, to view the details of each place easily, click on the ‘View Tradescant’s Retreat Gardening Group Map in a larger map’ link to open a larger version.

View Tradescant’s Retreat Gardening Group Map in a larger map

Some information about the great plant collectors, the Tradescants

According to the the Vauxhall Society’s “A guide to the church of St Mary-at-Lambeth, London” by Francis Terry:

John Tradescant the Elder first settled in Lambeth over 350 years ago. With his son, also named John, he was responsible for introducing so many new trees, shrubs, herbaceous and climbing plants into England, that he can truly be said to have founded English gardening as we know it.

The library is very near to Tradescant Road which was built on the location of the gardens of the John Tradescants’ house in Lambeth.

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