A garden full of botanical beauty
PLANTS are inextricably entwined in the course of human history, a fact celebrated at London's oldest botanic garden.
The Chelsea Physic Garden, situated on the bank of the Thames, has a unique living collection of around 5,000 different edible, useful, medicinal and historic plants.
Founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to train apprentices in identifying plants, it has since become one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world.
In 1983 the four-acre garden became a registered charity and opened to the general public and has become a peaceful green oasis where visitors can learn about the relationship between plants and man.
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Head gardener Nick Bailey said: "We have beds dedicated to plants used in science, the arts, ancient civilisations and even a faith bed, with plants significant to the ten major world religions.
"In my opinion, the most impressive feature is the living amphitheatre which is planted with perfumery plants so visitors can relax there and enjoy the fragrances."
The Garden's warm microclimate means non-native plants such as grapefruit trees, pomegranates, gingkos, mulberries and eucalyptus can survive outdoors while in the glasshouses there is a collection of tropical and sub-tropical species.
There is also a gift and book shop and an award-winning licensed Tangerine Dream Café serving a range of fresh homemade food including light lunches and afternoon teas.
The garden also holds educational and family events covering topics such as composting, beekeeping, gardening and photography as well as school visits.
And both the garden itself and its lecture room can be hired for private events such as summer drinks parties, weddings or lectures.
Visit www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk for more information.