Skip to content
We reopen on Saturday 12 June 2021

Functional and practical garden

A garden designed to be useful

Most urban gardens in the 1600s had a functional rather than leisurely use.

People used their outdoor space to carry out household tasks such as growing food and doing laundry. It was also where you would find the toilet.

Geometric shapes based on medieval patterns. Often enclosed with walls, hedging, fencing or railings.

Alongside the herbs and vegetables grown in raised beds, there were some decorative features. Arbours (shady areas created by climbing plants and trees) offered a place to shelter from the sun or rain, while fruit trees were prized for their scented blossoms and fruits.

Some plants that were grown in Stuart gardens more than 400 years ago, such as rosemary and roses, are still popular in gardens today.

Sweet rocket

Hesperis matronalis


Cichorium intybus

Common thyme

Thymus vulgaris


Salvia rosmarinus


Primula veris

Wild pansy

Viola tricolor

Sow a seed appeal

Help us replant our gardens

Cookie notice

By dismissing this banner you agree to our use of cookies. You can read more about cookies in our cookies policy.