Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chelsea Physic Garden, London

Honestly I didn’t plan for it to happen this way…I looked at the topics I had to post about and decided it was high time I go through the photos I took at the Chelsea Physic Garden. As I started to write “it was about 6 months ago…” I looked at the date on the photos and realized it wasn’t “about” it was exactly 6 months ago that I visited, on Thursday, September 27th, our last day in London. How quickly time passes.

The same could be said about the day I visited. By the time I made my way to the garden (having left Andrew a few blocks away at the Army Museum) I only had a little over an hour before they closed. I wasn’t sure what to expect…this is what I’d read online: “The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673, as the Apothecaries' Garden, with the purpose of training apprentices in identifying plants. The location was chosen as the proximity to the river created a warmer microclimate allowing the survival of many non-native plants - such as the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain - and more importantly, to allow plants to survive harsh British winters.” There is much more to read here.

It was a lovely afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed wandering the pathways through the garden. There is a plan to the layout but I’m afraid it won’t be terribly obvious from my photos, and I tried to scan the map I picked up but you still couldn’t read the labels. So just join me as we bounce around checking out the plants…

Eryngium lassauxii from S. South America

Eryngium eburneum, South America

Phoenix canariensis, Canary Islands

Echium wildpretii. There was a sign nearby saying "these plants are from the Macronesian Islands"...

Echium pininana, Canary Islands

Most of their Echium had these sicks stuck in the ground near the plant. It took me awhile to figure it out but they must be for securing the plant once it sends out it's tall bloom?

Like this!

Genista aetnensis, native of Sicily. And to think I have two of these planted in the front garden, they do get large!

Anthyllis barba jovis, from the Mediterranean

Pandanus amaryllifolius


Luma apiculata, (Chilean Myrtle)...look at that bark!

Colletia paradoxa, from Brazil and Uruguay

Colletia infausta, Chile

This was part of the section called "garden of useful plants"


Jubaea chilensis, Chilean Wine Palm

Butia capitata, I think it's been a bad palm to be tied up like that...

Dasylirion acrotriche, Mexico

Now we're over in the fern corner...

And inside the "cool fernery"

The outside of the fernery...

So many cool plants mashed together!

You've been warned...

It's just about closing time, but I've got to peek in the glasshouses!

Leucadendron argenteum

Beshorneria tubiflora, Mexico

As I was leaving (having been told it was closing time more than once…) I noticed this huge clump of what has to be Acanthus sennii (I couldn’t find a label)…

Wow! I would be thrilled if my tiny plant ever achieved this size. Maybe I need to reconsider its location.

With that we wrap up our visit to the Physic Garden as well as my trip to London. It’s been grand fun reliving it all over again. If you’re curious about any of the other places I visited they can all be seen under the label (lower right sidebar) of London 2012.

All material © 2009-2013 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.


  1. that is so incredibly beautiful!! I love the jubaea chilensis. That one has such a healthy crown of fronds.... one day I will have a monster jub of my own.

  2. They have so many gorgeous plants! We have yet to visit, being strangely closed on Saturdays doesn't help but we really ought to once it warms up :)

    1. That is truly bizarre that they're closed on Saturday, but yes you really should take a day off and visit!

  3. Oh, I have been waiting for this post! Thank you for the many pictures of these wonderful (and to me, unknown) plants and trees! Fabulous Colletia paradoxa and Dasylirion acrotriche, though I wonder what their medicinal properties might be...

    This fascinating collectors garden has been on my "must see" list for my next visit to London for a while. Now the trip planning needs to ramp up!

    1. Just plan more time than I did Jane. And make sure you eat before you visit too! Low blood sugar isn't helpful when studying a fabulous garden.

  4. Would I be wrong to assume that you are now in the hunt for Colletia paradoxa and his cousin? I never met an Acanthus I didn't have to have. Where did you find that one? This tour was a great way to start my day...and yes, I am often a late starter.

    1. Garden Fever has a trio of one of those spiky Colletia, and I've been very tempted. I really wish they were hardy here though!

      My Acanthus sennii came from Cistus. I'd never heard of it but my friend Derick (Mr Impatiens) insisted that I needed to buy it. Quite the leap of faith at the time since all I was buying was a 4" container of soil with a stick in the middle (last years growth). I'm glad I listened to him.

  5. That Acanthus is amazing! Mine comes back every year and increases but it's not in the best place, either. I've never seen a bloom though and that one is pretty awsome! Ricki, I got mine at Cistus. Fabulous garden and that Pandanus amaryllifolius is stunning! Cool idea to use stakes at the base of the echiums for support!

    1. Okay that's it...I'm moving my Acanthus today! Oh wait...I don't know where it is. I guess I'll wait until it pokes its nose out of the soil.

  6. Great photos.

    I must admit that as I have aged I have really started to hate London.

    It has such a distorting effect on UK policy (and they enjoy a relatively benign climate as well).

    Oh well, please ignore my (subdued) niggle.

    1. I think I understand your issue. I grew up in Eastern Washington, in the states second largest city (Spokane). However the politics of the state were run by the West and the better known (more populous) Seattle/Tacoma region.

      "Oh you're from Washington, it rains all the time there right?" Spokane is in the desert. One size does not fit all.

  7. Great photos. Definitely some dangerous plants across the pond.

  8. Harsh British winter..::giggle:: Looks like a really nice garden, yet another to add to my list!

  9. love those Eryngiums! It wasn't easy but I found Eryngium pandanafolium 'Physic Purple' seeds and started them this winter. They look very similar to your pic of Eryngium eburneum I think. A very tall eryngium with purple flower heads. Great photos, this one would probably be at the top of my list of gardens to visit while in London.

    1. Hopefully you will have so much success from your seeds that you'll want to share with your fellow garden bloggers...

  10. Loree, I loved reading through your comments on the Chelsea Physic Garden. I hope I have an opportunity to talk to you about it one day.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!