The nicer areas in London have some of the loveliest private gardens. Emphasis on private, meant only for the habitants of the surrounding buildings often accessible with a key only. But how lovely they are, looking in while realising you are at the wrong side of the gate. Or so I thought. I no longer have to despair since I have found a way. And it doesn’t involve purchasing a £1.5 million flat: it’s the Chelsea Physic Garden!
The garden is the oldest botanic garden in London founded in 1673, as the Apothecaries’ Garden, used for training apprentices in the identification and use of medicinal plants.
‘The location was chosen due to its proximity to the River Thames. This allowed the Apothecaries to moor their barge, collect plants in the surrounding areas and take advantage of the river’s warm air currents, which contribute to the Garden’s unique microclimate. River access also allowed plants arriving from around the World to be introduced to the British Isles via the Garden. Its international reputation was established early on as a result of the global seed exchange scheme, known as Index Seminum, which it initiated in the 1700’s and continues to this day.’ source
Today it is divided in sections such as useful, edible and medicinal plants. In the useful garden you can find plants that are used for making paper and yarn, ones which leaves, flowers or roots are used for dyeing fabric and crops that are utilized in interiors such as bamboo. The garden also houses its own beehives providing honey that is for sale in the shop.
Open to the public every day of the week for a small entrance fee the Chelsea Physic Garden is well worth a visit if you grow tired of the hustle and bustle of Sloan Square and King’s Road.
See more of my favourite gardens here.