Tessa Traeger

I was asked to speak with Tessa Traeger at the Garden Museum Literary Festival about her exhibition A Gardener’s Labyrinth, which I was involved in commissioning when Director of the NPG, opened in the Summer of 2003, and is now being shown at Boughton House as part of its summer programme.   She reminded me of how it came about.   After we had commissioned a series of cooks to hang in the basement café in 1998, the Trustees thought that it would be appropriate to commission a series of gardeners.   I met Tessa at Hadspen, which had been the garden of Penelope Hobhouse, and realised that she was deeply knowledgeable about plants and gardens, as well as being a brilliant photographer, particularly of food.   The list evolved from the one originally drawn up by the Board of Trustees, to include artists like Ian Hamilton Finlay and Andy Goldsworthy, plantsmen, and gardeners from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.   Roy Strong thought the list was passé, but I thought it showed the longevity of gardeners since at least five of the sitters, including Roy, were in the room.

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3 thoughts on “Tessa Traeger

  1. Joan says:

    When we lived in Edinburgh and our children were tiny (1997-2001) we used to visit Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Little Sparta. We would spot him watching all of us visitors making our way round his garden. Ever since then I have tried – largely unsuccessfully – to grow astrantia in the abundant way it grows at Little Sparta. Edinburgh and its not too distant environs are wonderful for gardening visits. I spent much time pushing a double buggy around the Botanics (my favourite ‘celebrity’ spotting during the festival was the very petite Eve Arnold among the blooms). We only got to Charles Jencks’ garden of cosmic speculation once – but it was very memorable.

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