The Gardens at Westminster Abbey by Ruth Ridley

Herbs and serenity in central London

Last week, the London herb group visited Westminster Abbey with Head Gardener and Herb Society member Jan Pancheri. The gardens comprise several areas: Deans Yard; Great Cloister Garth; Little Cloister; St Catherine’s Garden, and the College Garden which contains a beautiful herb area.

outside westminster abbey
Westminster Abbey in the hustle and bustle of central London. On entering the Great Cloister, peace reigns.
little cloister
Once inside the Abbey grounds, the atmosphere is incredibly tranquil, for example in the Little Cloister
st catherines garden
St Catherine’s Garden with column bases and self seeded erigerons
college garden
Corners of the College Garden – roses planted for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee; a grape vine, and bluebells in grass

As herb enthusiasts, it was the herb garden that attracted much of our attention. It is square in shape and separated into quarters, with a central decorative circular bed planted with Rosa Mundi. The four main beds each contain vegetables; culinary herbs; medicinal herbs and dye plants. The garden was opened by the Queen in 2010, and reflects the way herbs may have been used by the Benedictine monks who lived in the Abbey centuries ago.

herb garden
The herb garden beautifully set out with willow edging – we were shown around by Jan (stripy top)
herb garden plants
Herb garden plants that caught my eye: woad; very early nasturtiums; milk thistle, and white flowered borage
greenhouse
It’s always great to see behind the scenes. Jan has a lovely corner of the College Garden for office work and propagation

It was a really enjoyable morning, and Jan was kind enough to include a visit to the Abbey’s impressive library in her tour.

Find out more about Westminster Abbey Gardens

If you are a Herb Society member and would like to join the London herb group, contact Gwenneth at garden@gbz.demon.co.uk

Written by Ruth (Social Media Advisor and herb enthusiast).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.