Bath’s American Museum to launch new £2m garden

The American Museum and Gardens in Bath is launching a brand new £2m garden.

The New American Garden is the first European commission from Washington DC-based landscape architecture firm Oehme, Van Sweden.

It includes a series of American-themed gardens, all with views over the Limpley Stoke Valley. It will also feature many native US plants including trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs, and will follow the free-form style made famous by the firm’s founders, Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden.

A museum spokesperson said it was hoped that the new garden would “transform” the American Museum’s visitor experience, while providing a horticultural insight into the flora and fauna of the United States.

Celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh will officially open the New American Garden at a public event on 15 September.

Director Richard Wendorf said the museum was “really excited” to launch the New American Garden, and the transformed Mount Vernon Garden.

He added: “As the only museum outside of the US dedicated to celebrating American culture, we’re constantly seeking new and inspiring ways to showcase American history.

“Thanks to the generosity of our friends in the UK and US, the New American Garden will extend the experience beyond the doors of our period rooms and galleries.

“As an American, I’m so pleased visitors will have the opportunity to explore so many wonderful plants from my homeland.”

The garden will see the introduction of a natural amphitheatre which will enable the museum to host concerts and other events.

A new ticket office will serve as the entry point to the museum and gardens along with an accessible path providing a winding way through the new features.

The work of renowned international sculptor Angela Conner will also feature, with the siting of six larger-than-life portraits of key figures in American history.

Head gardener Andrew Cannell said the New American Garden was a “hugely exciting” project.

He added: “[There are] over 12,000 new plants thoughtfully arranged by Oehme, Van Sweden in bold, naturalistic swathes.

“Visitors in September will see the garden at its very beginning and over the years can return to see it grow and develop into something very special.”

Alan Titchmarsh will officially open the garden on 15 September.

The day will also feature live music and historical characters in the Mount Vernon Garden giving a flavour of life in 18th-Century Virginia.

Mr Cannell will be on hand to answer questions about the garden on guided tours, and visitors will also see the launch of an intimate exhibition of 14 portrait busts – ‘Face to Face with Angela Conner’ will be on display from the 15 September to 28 October.

The American Museum and Gardens will be free to visit on 15 September as part of Heritage Open Days 2018.

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