'The Triumph of Hope' exhibition

The garden at Nymans painted by Alfred Parsons

This programme of activities finished in 2018. The Triumph of Hope exhibition, part of the National Trust's Women and Power programme, opens on Saturday 16 June and runs until Sunday 28 October 2018. 11am - 4pm.

" I think that the garden may fitly be described as the triumph of hope. It was always full of experiments, it gave endless pleasure, and if you walk through it, you will see the careful thought that was bestowed on each plant."
- Muriel Messel, 1918, writing in A Garden Flora
Muriel Messel
Muriel Messel
Muriel Messel

A Garden Flora

100 years since the publication of A Garden Flora, this summer’s exhibition will explore the lives of Muriel (1889-1918), Maud (1875-1960) and Anne (1902-1992) and how they influenced the garden’s design at Nymans. The exhibition celebrates their creative legacy and highlighs each of their unique contributions to the development of the garden through their correspondence and sketches.

Anne, Countess of Rosse
Anne, Countess of Rosse
Anne, Countess of Rosse


The exhibition will also show how their love for garden flora influenced other areas of their lives. From our collection we’ll be displaying Maud’s beautiful Spitalfields silk, rose bud embroidered dress. The dress was worn at a Chelsea Arts Club Ball and will be on display alongside her floral illustrated letters.

Nymans Muriel messel's sitting room
Nymans Muriel messel's sitting room
Nymans Muriel messel's sitting room

Horticultural circles

All three women were part of a wide network of horticultural friends. The exhibition will uncover their links to, among others, William Robinson, Ellen Willmott and Vita Sackville-West.

The last room of the exhibition will recreate Muriel’s sitting room from a contemporary photograph and show how she brought her love of plants and the garden at Nymans into the interior of the house.

Call for papers: Study day on Women Gardeners c1500-2000 

Gardeners Symposium (PDF / 0.1572265625MB) download

The Triumph of Hope garden trail

A trail highlighting plants in the garden that relate to each of the three Messel women whose contribution to the garden’s design is examined in the exhibition  ‘The Triumph of Hope’.

The Triumph of Hope garden trail (PDF / 0.419921875MB) download


A member of the garden team hard at work

Gardening Women Exhibition at Sissinghurst Castle Garden

As part of our Women and Power celebration for 2018 we're hosting a new exhibition which was co-curated by Dr Catherine Horwood, using her book, Gardening Women. Read on to find out about the history of gardening through the centuries as well as how gardening women made an impact on the suffrage movement.