Chelsea Physic Garden

Keeping up my photowalks is a bit challenging at the moment, given that after last week’s foot injury I have a somewhat limited mobility. But I also have limited time before I leave, so today I put my spaceboot on, clutch my crutch (only one, as I think it’s going to make walking with a massive camera around my neck easier – which it doesn’t, so I’m taking both next time!), jump on a bus (well, not literally, I can’t jump anywhere as it stands) and head to the Chelsea Physic Garden.

The bus doesn’t take me right to the garden’s gates, so I have to walk a bit, turning from King’s Road to Flood Street.

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Then I turn onto Christchurch Street – and that’s the actual church in front of me. The area is quite empty, which was also my observation for Sundays in Chelsea previously.

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The church has the prettiest rose garden ever, and the scent of the beautiful flowers, spreading all around, is simply divine!

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Finally, I’ve hobbled my way to the Chelsea Physic Garden. The entry fee is around £10, so I’m intending to walk around the whole area to get value for my money! The garden was established in the 17th century, and today it is essentially a botanical garden, demonstrating how much we benefit from plants in so many different aspects.

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The very first section I get to see, for example, is the Garden of Medicinal Plants, where plants are arranged according to the branch of medical practice they are used it.

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In many cases I don’t have much to say about a particular photo, as it only has flowers which I find beautiful in it. This is one of those cases.

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Right in the centre of the garden stands a statue of Sir Hans Sloane, physician and naturalist, who purchased the manor of Chelsea and provided grounds for this garden.

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Many people come here not just to explore plants (or maybe even without the purpose of doing so whatsoever), but also to chill on the grass or sit on benches in the shade of some very special trees.

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Walking around, I come across an apple tree loaded with enticing fruits. However, something tells me that they are not to be picked: first of all, I doubt the garden authorities would appreciate it, and second of all, I know better than picking a fruit which I am not 100% sure I can eat safely. It may look exactly like an apple, but I’m not a botanist to tell with certainty.

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Now these, without doubt, are indeed apples, and quite ugly ones (which should mean they are tasty!), but then again, if picking them was allowed, they would have been gone long ago by now, I’m sure!

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An attraction the Chelsea Physic Gardens has running through summer is “Captivating Scents: fresh, floral, fœtid”. It is sort of a living exhibition, where you follow a ‘scent trail’ as per the map of the garden. This little section is part of the exhibition, and it’s called Sweet Pea Avenue. I never realised that sweet pea flowers had such a nice scent!

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And here I’m looking at the Perfumery Amphitheatre, which has the plants whose oils are used for most perfumes.

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The Amphitheatre is actually part of the Garden of Useful Plants.

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I personally think that this garden is the most beautiful section in the whole Chelsea Physic Garden.

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Apparently, the garden also runs Family Activity Days, and the theme of today’s one is Pond Life, so I can see a few kids with their parents busy discovering the creatures that live in the pond.

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Once again, you can simply treat this photo as an intermission. Nice flowers, those are indeed!

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The next section I find myself in is the Garden of Edible Plants. This plant looks particularly curious to me, I look out for the tag and realise that these are artichokes! I never thought about how they grow and which part of the plant they represent – it turns out they are the flower buds!

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I don’t know what this rose shrub is doing in the edible plants section, but anyway, the flowers both look and smell amazing (and by the way, rose petals can be used for cooking, to be very precise!)

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Here are some more edible plants, yet I hardly recognise most of them. Well, that plant with red stems and green leaves in the front plant looks like beet!

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What’s super easy to recognise though, are my favourite sunflowers! They are my favourite not because of the flowers themselves, by the way, but rather the seeds which I could devour by tons!

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What I said above about picking unknown fruits, applies twofold to berries – after all, it’s mostly berries which can be extremely poisonous.

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That’s the same rose shrub, which I mentioned just a couple of paragraphs earlier, but from the other side. It took me at least ten minutes to wait till everyone is gone from the sight, which wasn’t easy with an injured foot, but was so much worth it: the picture wouldn’t look the same with people in it.

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And another intermission – just look at the flowers and enjoy!

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So I’ve made a full circle and come back to the Garden of Medicinal Flowers, which I did not explore properly in the beginning as there was a guided tour happening right here.

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I am actually quite lucky that I came today and not yesterday, like I was intending to. I was assuming that the garden is open every day, but it turns out that it’s closed on Saturdays and Mondays.

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One interesting section is the poisonous plants bed, but of course one should be very careful not to touch anything here.

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There are also quite a few glasshouses around the garden.

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The last item on the ‘scent trail’ map is the Abhorrent Arbour, which is a collection of stinky plants. Most of them are not even poisonous, by the way, and they are encouraged to be touched and smelled. To be fair, ‘abhorrent’ is a bit too strong of a word, yet they do have rather unpleasant smells.

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Finally, the garden has a pretty spacious outdoors café, and since it’s afternoon tea time, many people are enjoying a cuppa with scones, cakes or brownies.

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