I have some generous readers. Just how generous I discovered a few years ago when I said that if anyone wanted to give me a Christmas present I would like a donation towards saving the gardens at Crarae. The National Trust for Scotland promptly received, among many others, an anonymous gift of well over £100,000. The target of £1,5 million was reached well before the April deadline.
For Christmas this year I’d like a donation to The Garden Museum. It is on the last lap of fund-raising for its essential and exciting development plan, which will establish Britain’s first garden design and manuscript archive at Lambeth, where my namesake Tradescant started England’s first museum, his ‘cabinet of curiosities’ – which in due course became the foundation of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
On the initiative of the director, Christopher Woodward, the Ashmolean is lending a chunk of the original Trad collection back to Lambeth. Christopher gamely did a sponsored swim from Oxford to London (eight punishing days in the Thames) to raise funds for it. The appeal is getting a matching Lottery Grant of £3.5 million, but £170,000 more has to be found by January. Please send my present to The Garden Museum.