Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sun, rain, rain, signs

It's been mostly raining...again. But we did get some work done in a brief bit of drier weather on Saturday. We moved some Autumn fruiting raspberries and put in some Summer ones from Mum's garden. We also popped in some wild garlic to put in the shady wild part of the plot. I also did my first bit of greenhouse planting (part from the peas, still alive!) - just plopping 3 potatoes into a big carrier bag with some soil, and sowing some carrots in pots. 

Today in the rain we visited Cressing Temple in Essex, a medieval farm complex with two cathedral like barns. This was great, not only to see the beautiful whopping great timber masterpieces, but also to check out the walled gardens to get ideas for the allotment and the herb bed/garden we'll be incorporating into it.  Mandrake anyone?  I've never seen it before!

The real reason behind the visit was as part of a project I am undertaking to review and redesign the signage and interpretation of my local museum garden (Vestry House Museum, Walthamstow).  This will also contribute to my MA dissertation, looking at the presentation and interpretation of museum gardens. If anyone has any thoughts about good or bad examples of this I'd love to hear about it. I'll  write more about it in future.  Here are a couple of signs I noted today:
This one hasn't stood up to the weather very well and it didn't seem particularly clear anyway.

You can't tell much from this poor photo,  but actually in real life this sign in the herb garden looked clear, attractive and informative to me.

But I do like this plain plant label, if only for the name and the touch of lichen!

Any thoughts on sign design and content greatly welcomed, on gardens attached to museums, or indeed any outdoor historic site interpretation. The Vestry House Museum has random objects from its collections in the garden including a Roman sarcophagus- anyone know of any similar open-air collections around the country?
Tomorrow I visit  the Horniman Gardens in South London.....


  1. I think signage needs to be simple and to the point. As usual with any sign not too cluttered with white space and with lines not too close together. Not too fancy a font and take into account size as not everyone will have 20/20 vision. If possible signs not at ground level but higher to allow for accessobility for those in wheelchairs or can't bend.

  2. I agree with all your points Sue. We are also thinking about content- it's for a former workhouse garden and there are a number of large objects in the garden including a Roman tomb! It's a lovely little garden and I reckon we could add to the interest with informative and attractive signs. We also have a strong tradition of artists working in the area so may go for something a little different in places! Thanks for your feedback.