Secret World of Plants

Rediscover the natural world and delight in its secret details with our summer series of immersive experiences.

Secret World of Plants illustration

Date and time

1 May – 19 September 2021


Throughout the Gardens


Included with your entry ticket

Explore the hidden secrets of the plant world like never before with unique art installations across the Gardens.

Come to our summer festival Secret World of Plants to enjoy amazing immersive experiences and discover the untold stories of our native plants and landscapes.


Vaughn Bell

Get up close to our native UK plant world in a series of unique large-scale installations by acclaimed artist Vaughn Bell that will begin to pop up across the Gardens from early May* onwards.

You'll get to explore our overlooked native plant habitats in a series of six immersive structures, from native meadows and hedgerows to sand dunes and woodland.

Pop your head into the viewing holes and you'll see these incredible environments, specially curated together with our world-renowned team of horticultural experts, from a whole new perspective.

Artist render illustrated below

*Please note that the final Plantscape (Woodland) will be completed by 6 May.

Render of the plantscapes moorland structure
Moorland Plantscape

Tree Listening

Alex Metcalf

Think trees don't make a sound? Think again. 

Stand beneath one of the suspended sound domes along our Syon Vista and listen to the inner workings as water moves up through the trees.

Four majestic oaks will have sound domes suspended in their branches offering a variety of tree noises and specially commissioned classical music composed by Carol Jones, giving visitors a unique insight into the movements of a tree throughout the day. 

Compose Carol Jones under a clear dome listening to tree music.
Tree listening, ©Alex Metcalfe

Extinction Songs

Jason Singh
 From 17 May, depending on coronavirus restrictions.

Sound artist, beatboxer and composer Jason Singh takes over the Temperate House with a fascinating look at ‘plants as composer’.

Environmental factors such as light, sound and temperature all provide naturally occurring ‘biodata’ generated from plants. It is this biodata that Jason uses to create a musical score, using technology to record the plants' 'voice' as a beautifully melancholic soundtrack.

Across festival weekends, we have invited musicians to perform alongside the live recording, allowing the plant to not only become the musician but also the composer. 

Sound artist Jason Singh crouches in the Temperate House with his laptop as he produces his music.
Jason Singh, Temperate House © Underhill Creative

Please be Seated

Paul Cocksedge

Take in the beauty of the Gardens from a different perfective with the monumental and playful seating installation by architectural designer Paul Cocksedge.

The design is a rippling wave of wood that rises to form arches for you to walk through, and curves under to create spaces for you to sit, lie, and relax.

An artists rendering of Please be seated
An artist rendering of Please be seated

The Little Gardener 

Saturday 29 May – Sunday 6 June 2021

The interactive greenhouse puppet show comes to the Gardens during the May half-term. 

Based on The Little Gardener picture book, our little horticultural expert gets involved with a range of chores and may require the odd helper or two...

A puppet little man in a small garden
Little Gardener © Rachel Ferriman

Supported by Starling Bank

Starling Bank Logo
An illustration of the secret world of plants festival

Secret World of Plants After Hours

Rediscover the natural world as the sun goes down.