Nestled in the heart of Hoxton, the Museum of the Home, formerly known as the Geffrye Museum, offers a captivating journey through the history of English interiors and gardens. One of the highlights of this charming museum is its lush garden, where you can find a delightful collection of roses. Housed in Grade I-listed eighteenth-century almshouses, the museum has been a beacon of cultural heritage for over a century. Following a significant £18 million refurbishment, the museum reopened in the summer of 2021, now boasting 80 percent more exhibition space, including a new lower-ground gallery.

The museum's permanent exhibit, "Rooms Through Time," showcases a fascinating sequence of middle-class living rooms from 1600 to the present. Each room is meticulously recreated based on real London homes, offering a unique glimpse into domestic life across the centuries. From a Victorian parlour set up for a séance to a 1915 Arts & Crafts drawing room, and even a 1998 loft-style Shoreditch apartment, the exhibit is filled with intriguing details that capture the essence of each era.

Rose Garden (Herb) Garden at the Museum of the Home

A Secret Rose Garden Awaits at the Museum of the Home

But beyond the interiors, the museum's gardens are a true hidden gem. On the ground floor, an airy café overlooks these beautiful gardens, which include a walled herb plot and the "Gardens Through Time" exhibit. This exhibit features a series of gardens designed in different historical styles, with each plant meticulously labelled and thoughtfully incorporated into the overall garden design.

One of the highlights for rose enthusiasts is the collection of historically significant garden roses. These roses, with their fantastic fragrance and beautiful blooms, are a delight to behold.

The museum's collection of 17 garden roses is a treasure trove for the rose lover, with each variety offering its own unique charm and history. While the museum may not specifically highlight its rose collection, it is certainly worth exploring and enjoying. Here’s a closer look at some of the standout roses you’ll find:

Garden rose collection of 17 roses at the museum of the home includes

  • Rosa New Dawn - Climbing Rose, 1930
  • Apothecary Rose - Rosa gallica officianalis, pre 1200
  • Fantin Latour - Provence rose or Centifolias, 1900
  • Rosa Alba Maxima - Old rose, 1500
  • Alba Semi-plena rose - Old rose, 1899
  • Rosa De Meaux - Centifolias, 1789
  • Rosa Mundi - Old rose, pre 1200
  • Rosa Centifolia Muscosa - Centifolias, pre 1720
  • Etoile de Hollande Climbing rose - Hybrid Teas 1931
  • Rose La Reine Victoria - Bourbon, 1872
  • Rosa mme Alfred Carriere - 1879
  • Rosa Hermosa - 1834
  • Rosa Irene Watts - China rose, 1896
  • Old crimson - China rose - 1733
  • Rose Boule de Neige - 1867
  • James Galway - English Climbing Rose, 2000
  • Wild Edric rose - Shrub Rose, 2005
Lush bright pink apothecary rose (rosa gallica officinalis, pre-1200) at the museum of the home
Apothecary Rose (Rosa gallica officinalis, pre-1200)

1. Apothecary Rose (Rosa gallica officinalis, pre-1200) - Known as the 'Red Rose of Lancaster' or 'The Apothecary's Rose,' this variety features semi-double, light crimson flowers with a delightful scent. It’s tolerant of poorer soils and shade, making it versatile for various garden settings. Of unknown origin, dating to pre 1200. In the Middle Ages its scent-retaining properties were much valued by apothecaries - hence it is also known as ‘The Apothecary’s Rose’. Rosa gallica, the Gallic rose, French rose, or rose of Provins, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family, native to southern and central Europe eastwards to Turkey and the Caucasus. Rosa gallica was one of the first species of rose to be cultivated in central Europe.

Rosa Mundi at the Museum of the Home by the smell of roses, london rose gardens
Rosa Mundi at the Museum of the Home

2. Rosa Mundi (pre-1200) -A sport of R. gallica 'Officinalis', sharing all of its characteristics except the fuchsia flowers are striped with white. Although only once flowering, it is a very showy plant, producing a mass of fragrant blooms. It forms a bushy, compact shrub. Prior to 1200. (Gallica) 'Rosa gallica versicolour'. A striking and very old, bushy rose. The large, semi-double blooms have splashes of pink and white on a crimson background. Hardy. Will bare ornamental hips if left undeadheaded. Tolerant of poorer soils and shade. Can be planted in a container or as a hedge. Said to be named after Fair Rosamund, mistress of Henry II. Unknown origin circa 12th century.

Old rose Centifolia Muscosa pre 1720 at the museum of the home in London, secret rose garden in london
Rose Centifolia Muscosa pre 1720

3. Rosa Centifolia Muscosa (pre-1720) - (Centifolia) As 'Rosa x centifolia' - large bright pink, fully double flowers on long stems, but with the addition of the buds and stems heavily covered with green scented moss. Suitable for group planting in woodland and is tolerant of poorer soils. Of unknown origin, but pre 1720.

Rosa Alba Maxima pre 1500, at the secret rose garden awaits at the museum of the home
Rosa Alba Maxima pre 1500

4. Rosa Alba Maxima (pre-1500) - One of the longest-living roses, this old variety has full, slightly informal double flowers that start blush-tinted and later turn creamy white. It’s very fragrant and a lovely addition to any garden.

Old Chrimson China Rose 1733, Photo taken at the secret rose garden at the museum of home in London
Old Chrimson China Rose 1733

5. Old Crimson China Rose (1733) - (China) Unique to us in the UK. 'Bengal Rose' 'Rosa chinensis semperflorens' 'Slater's Crimson'. Bright red semi-double flowers on an upright, bushy slender plant. Prefers growing in sheltered sunny areas and can be planted in a container. For best results, extra care and feeding is required. Bred by Slated, dated from before 1733.

Rose De Meaux (1789) at the museum of the Home in London, rose garden with old garden roses
Rose De Meaux (1789)

6. Rosa De Meaux (1789) - Centifolia (Unknown, England, before 1789). A charming rose in every way, Rose de Meaux has a compact habit that surprises each season with lovely pink flowers. This dwarf, summer-flowering shrub has been in cultivation since 1789. Small, double pink flowers with frilled petals, resembling a dianthus but with little scent, adorn an erect and dwarf shrub. This rose has been named in recognition of the patron saint of gardeners, Saint Fiacre, who settled at Meaux in the Dark Ages and cultivated a garden.

Rose Hermosa 1834
Rose Hermosa 1834

7. Rosa Hermosa (1834) - Light pink double. Good disease resistance. Raised by Marcheseau (France) 1834 from a cross between unknown parents. Makes an attractive flower, constantly in flower. There is a climbing form.

Boule De Neige 1867 at the museum of the home in London, secret rose gaden
Boule De Neige 1867

8. Boule de Neige (1867) - Richly fragrant, camellia-like, white flowers of exquisite form and silky texture; each about 2 across, held in small clusters. Slender growth. Repeats well. Lacharme, 1867.

Rose La Reine Victoria 1872 at the museum of the home, secret rose garden in london
Rose La Reine Victoria 1872

9. La Reine Victoria (1872) - A(Bourbon) A slender erect bush bearing soft green leaves and beautiful, rich lilac-pink, cupped blooms in sprays. Perpetual flowering. Very fragrant, reminiscent of rose and bubblegum. Tolerant of shade. Suitable for planting in a container and to be used for cut flowers. Bred by Labryère/Schwartz.

Rose Mme Alfred Carriere 1879 at the Museum of home in London
Mme Alfred Carriere 1879

10. Mme Alfred Carriere (1879) - It bears large, cupped, rather informal, creamy white blooms tinged with pink, which have a strong, sweet fruity fragrance. First flowering in June/July, it repeats until late in the season. The growth is strong, bushy and upright with plentiful foliage. Although rather stiff, training the stems will create a graceful effect. Schwartz, 1879.

11. Irene Watts (1896) - (China) Cushioned shaped, fully double, large, rich warm pink, bordering on salmon blooms. Prefers a sheltered sunny area or warmer climate. Suitable to be grown in a container. Bred by Guillot. The previous rose under this name has now been re-named ‘Pink Gruss an Aachen’, with thanks to John Scarman.

Rose Alba Semi-plena 1899 at the museum of the home
Rose Alba Semi-Plena 1899

12. Alba Semi-plena (1899)- This elegant rose shrub features clusters of large, flat, almost single, milk-white flowers with golden stamens. It blossoms once a year and has a very fragrant old rose scent.

Rose Fantin Latour (1900) at the Museum of the Home
Rose Fantin Latour (1900) at the Museum of the Home

13. Fantin Latour (1900) - (Centifolia) Full petalled, quartered, flattish, blush pink, highly fragrant flowers are abundantly produced on a handsome bush. With training it can be grown as a small climber. Tolerant of poorer soils. Of unknown origin dating to 1900.

three pink roses close up, rose New Dawn (1930) at the Museum of the Home
Rose New Dawn (1930) at the Museum of the Home

14. Rosa New Dawn (1930) - This climbing rose is the forerunner of modern perpetual flowering climbers. It produces clusters of sweetly fragrant, medium-sized, silvery soft pink flowers that deepen in color towards the center, complemented by plentiful glossy foliage.

Rose Etoile De Hollande 1931 at the musem of the home
Rose Etoile De Hollande 1931

15. Etoile de Hollande (1931) - (Climbing Hybrid Tea) The highly scented, large, double blooms are of rich velvet crimson. Tough and vigorous growth. Suitable to be used for cut flowers. The climbing form of this famous old rose is far superior to its parent. Bred by Leenders.

Rose James Galway (2000) at the Meseum of the Home

16. James Galway (2000) - An English climbing rose with mid-pink flowers that become lighter towards the edges. It has a slightly domed shape and is named after the Irish flautist.

David Austin English rose Wild edric 2005 at the museum of home in London
David Austin English Rose Wild Edric 2005

17. Wild Edric (2005) - This shrub rose has semi-double flowers of velvety rich pink with golden stamens. It has a strong old rose fragrance with hints of cloves, watercress, and cucumber.

Whether you're a history buff, a garden enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, the rose collection at the Museum of the Home offers a delightful escape. Come and explore these enchanting roses, and let their beauty and fragrance transport you through time.

Rose Garden at the Museum of the Home
Rose Garden at the Museum of the Home

Garden at the Museum of the Home

Another lesser-known treasure of the garden is its stunning wisteria, which has made appearances in a few viral social media videos. Though the wisteria blossoms are fleeting, they add a magical touch to the garden when in bloom.

The Museum of the Home's gardens are classified according to the reigns of various monarchs, offering a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of garden design. From the Elizabethan garden with its vegetables, herbs, and flowers like peonies and roses, to the Georgian townhouse garden with its symmetrical layouts and gravel paths, each garden captures the essence of its time.

The Victorian garden, more colorful and elaborate than its predecessors, features bedding plants, ferns, and conservatories. The 20th-century garden reflects the Arts and Crafts movement's influence, focusing on natural materials and simple design. Additionally, the contemporary roof garden showcases how gardening can thrive even in the most limited spaces, providing both beauty and insulation.

Gardens, much like interiors, have evolved significantly over the years. Initially devoted to herbs, they have transformed into spaces of leisure and beauty. The gardens at the Museum of the Home beautifully illustrate this evolution, highlighting how new plants from around the world have shaped garden design.

Whether you're a tourist, a garden enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful garden in busy London, the gardens at the Museum of the Home offer a delightful escape. Come and explore these enchanting spaces, and let the beauty of the past inspire your present.