The Museum Gardens

Topsham Museum has two gardens; the main garden, adjacent to the museum itself, where visitors can enjoy afternoon tea, and a riverside garden opposite the Museum, bordering the River Exe. For security reasons the main garden can only be used when the Museum is open.

The riverside garden is open at all times for the benefit of residents of and visitors to Topsham. This garden, with its splendid river views, is of prime importance to the town. It is the only garden open to the public alongside the river and is a good place to watch the interesting bird life. The garden celebrates the Exeter firm of nurserymen – Veitch & Sons. The firm was established in 1832 and sent plant collectors to many parts of the world including South America, South-east Asia, India, Japan, China, the Pacific Islands and Africa. The ships returned to Topsham quay where the plants were unloaded. Many plants in the garden were chosen from the large range of Veitch introductions and are illustrated on wall boards along with details of the famous family.

In 2005 the two gardens underwent major changes, maximising the space for visitors and allowing easier access for the disabled. A few years ago the dilapidated Victorian greenhouse was restored to its former glory. More recently the introduction of a small herb garden reflects the ancient custom of growing a variety of plants for medicinal and culinary purposes. Two small ‘dry’ gardens in the Museum garden show what can be done to save water – these small patches of succulents and grasses planted in gravel have already saved the gardening team much watering time.