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Exhibitions and events

 2014 events

The RHS Lindley Libraries in Harlow Carr, Wisley and London hold a varied programme of events throughout the year.

Lindley Library Wisley Events

Genus Cyclamen: botanical portraits Saturday 8 February - Saturday 29 March

Lindley Library at RHS Garden Wisley is hosting a rare opportunity to see original botanical artworks on loan from the Cyclamen Society. The twenty five Cyclamen portraits on display feature in the recently published Genus Cyclamen: Science, Cultivation, Art and Culture. This exhibition complements the early and late spring Cyclamen shows at the Hillside Events Centre, RHS Garden Wisley.

Mr Wilson’s Wisley 1878-1902
An exhibition in the Glasshouse Gallery Wisley Monday 17 March - Monday 21 April

In 1878 George Fergusson Wilson bought Glebe Farm in Wisley and set about creating a garden out of about 13 acres of farmland. He called the garden ‘Oakwood’.

His purpose was to create an experimental garden, to record the adaptability of plants to a range of soils and growing conditions. The garden was also stunningly beautiful, and drew thousands of prominent visitors.

The exhibition draws on the archives held by the RHS Lindley Library to explore Wilson’s plant experiments and enthusiasms, areas he created in the garden, and his visitors and family parties.

Lindley Library Harlow Carr events

Show and tell sessions 12-13 April, 1-2.30pm

As part of Spring Gardening Weekend, view some of the fascinating 19th-century gardening books held by the Lindley Library, along with antique gardening artefacts and extraordinary Victorian gardening tools. Our library team and gardening history expert Marilyn Elm will be on hand to give you an insight into our garden heritage and answer all your questions. 

Library pop-up gardening heritage talks

Under glass: The coming of the greenhouse 2 May, 11-11.45am

Our new series of 'pop-up' displays and illustrated short talks fondly explore all aspects of our gardening heritage. Talks are free and drop-in. As spring gets underway, we rely on the greenhouse to nurture our more delicate plants, but how and when did this come about?


History of the lawn mower 6 June, 11-11.45am

Creating a beautiful green sward has been the desire of many gardeners over the years. Pop in to discover the origins of the machine which took this to another level, and gave us the stripy lawn.

Children and gardens 4 July, 11-11.45am

Discover some of the delightful literature and special tools used in past efforts to encourage children to garden.

The garden gnome 1 August, 11-11.45am

Love him or hate him! Find out more about the place the garden gnome has had in our garden history and explore the Victorian fascination with garden ornamentation.

On the home front: Wartime gardening 5 September, 11-11.45am

Learn more about how the nation’s gardens and gardeners became an integral part of the war effort during the First World War and beyond.




Lindley Library London Early Evening Talks 2014

All talks take place in the Library’s Upper Reading Room at:
Lindley Library London, Royal Horticultural Society, 80 Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PE
Tickets: £7 RHS Members (£10 non-members); call 0845 612 1253 to book (lines open Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm)
Doors open at 6pm for complimentary pre-talk drinks. Talk starts at 6.30pm
Total number of tickets for each talk: 36

Kate Bradbury, Climate Change and Biodiversity 1 April

Considers the interconnectivity of species, habitat loss and species decline. Kate Bradbury is author of The Wildlife Gardener, and writes for the Gardeners' World blog.



Stewart McPherson, Lost Worlds 6 May

A look at the unique “lost world” tepuis mountains of Venezuela, and their extraordinary animals, plants, landscapes and story of exploration. The tepuis are giant sandstone plateaus that have been isolated since the time of the dinosaurs. Their discovery captured Victorian imagination, and their final conquest directly inspired Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World.


Rosamund Wallinger, Gertrude Jekyll, her Art and her Place in Garden  History 10 June

Rosamund Wallinger and her husband bought the derelict Manor House at Upton Grey in 1984. With the help and advice of Penelope Hobhouse and the newly formed Hampshire Gardens Trust she obtained copies of Gertrude Jekyll's 1908 plans and set about restoring the five-acre garden. Today the garden is living testimony to her eclectic art. Rosamund will tell the adventure of its restoration and why Miss Jekyll is admired around the world today.

George Plumptre, Gardens are good for you: the Story of the National Gardens Scheme 22 July

Nearly 90 years ago, a Trustee of a nursing organisation had the idea of asking people to open their gardens to raise money for charity. That idea became the National Gardens Scheme and a charitable phenomenon. In its first year 600 gardens opened and raised £8,000; today 3,800 gardens open and raise £2.5m. Since its foundation the NGS has given away more than £42 million and it is one of the most significant funders of nursing and caring in the UK. Along the way it has discovered hundreds of gardens that have gone on to be world famous and has opened the gates to visitors of thousands of gardens that are never otherwise accessible. All the while it has demonstrated that gardens are good for you.

Katie Campbell, British Gardens in Time 16 September

Gardens have long been markers of social status, wealth and taste, this talk explores how four great British gardens also reflect the changing cultural values of their time.

In the eighteenth century Lord Cobham used his garden at Stowe to express his growing disillusionment with the government he helped create; in the nineteenth century James Bateman used his plant collections at Biddulph Grange to proclaim his - increasingly untenable - belief in creationism; in the twentieth century the Messel family used their garden at Nymans to achieve social acceptability; in the twenty first century Christopher Lloyd used his garden at Great Dixter to provoke and antagonise Britain’s horticultural establishment. 

Lia Leendertz, Inspiring allotments, their past and future 7 October

Over the course of a year Lia Leendertz visited 31 of the most beautiful and unusual allotments in the UK and Europe, and interviewed the plot holders. The resulting book is a simple and beautiful appreciation of the allotment scene: from Jamaican allotment holders growing callaloo and pumpkins, to old boys sticking to the traditional methods, to forward-thinking growers looking for alternative ways of growing that work with our changing climate. Her talk will use examples from her book to illustrate the history of the allotment movement and the way it is changing. She will also talk a little about her current research into the history of her own allotment site and plot.

James Wong, Maximum Flavour, Minimum Labour 18 November

Want to double the sweetness of your tomatoes yet halve the work? With the right, scientifically-proven, growing techniques you really can have your cake and eat it.

This is a foodie’s guide to measurably improving the flavour & nutrition of homegrown crops, using cutting-edge techniques that are positively easier than conventional gardening rules. From tomatoes to sweetcorn, strawberries to pears, James will be revealing exactly what to do to up the sugars, raise the aromatic compounds and remove the bitterness in a wide range of conventional crops using unconventional methods.

Contact us

 Lindley Library London
Tel: 020 7821 3050
Open: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm

Lindley Library Wisley
Tel: 01483 212428
Open: 11am-4pm (including bank holidays)

Lindley Library Harlow Carr
Tel: 01423 724686
Open: 11am-4pm (including bank holidays)

Garden Reading Rooms:
Hyde Hall: 0845 265 8071
Open: Variable hours
Rosemoor: 0845 265 8072
Open: Variable hours


Email us: Library Enquiry Service


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