It’s sometimes referred to as ‘London’s Secret Garden’, and with good reason.
Walking along Royal Hospital Road in Central London, the long, straight path is lined with impressive buildings. Eventually, you reach an imposing-looking wall, a modest front door and a small, slightly faded hanging sign above that reads ‘Chelsea Physic Garden’. You’ve found it. London’s Secret Garden.
On the other side of that wall is a small area of land that is teeming with life. Thousands of shrubs, trees and flowers, some of which you have never even seen before, let alone heard of.
Founded in 1637 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, Chelsea Physic Garden was first used for training apprentices in the identification of medicinal plants. It is now the oldest botanical garden in London and is home to many rare and endangered species of tree, including the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree.
In fact, there are over 100 different types of tree in the garden, including eucalyptus, mulberries and pomegranates to name a few, many of which are rare in Britain.
There is also an impressive Davidia involucrata, or ‘Pocket Handkerchief Tree’. Its flowers are so delicate they almost look like tissue paper.
The garden is split into different areas, which include ‘The Garden of Medicinal Plants’ and ‘The Garden of Edible and Useful Plants’, as well as glasshouses that are home to tropical species.
Last month we helped organise a press day at Chelsea Physic Garden for our client Forest Garden and they, and the visiting journalists, were similarly bowled over by the beauty of the garden.
You could spend all day walking around here, and if you can find it, I recommend that you do!