Gardens are not unusual sites to practise cultural geographies. In an earlier ‘cultural geographies in practice’ Steve Daniels reflected on his work on Art of the Garden, an exhibition at Tate Britain in 2004, which toured to other galleries,1 and a more recent contribution from Laura Lawson recounted public engagement with a community garden site in Chicago.2 This latest account documents a different, practice-based approach to the British garden, one that involved wide public engagement through a public seminar, a writing workshop and an exhibition of ‘lay’, i.e. amateur material, principally photographs. Both in its making and for its duration the exhibition caused us to explore the production and limits of lay and expert knowledge, not least because in many cases the photos on display did not conform in any way to the standards of composition and editing associated with public exhibition. Here we outline some further challenges we encountered when running the exhibition, highlighting the value of engaging with the public to deepen understanding of both everyday spaces and everyday academic practice.