The Ladies to London outing in June 2016 was a behind the scenes visit to the Chelsea Physic Garden.  And, despite being 2nd June, it was freezing cold with a bitter wind. However our guide, the Head Gardener, Nick, was so enthusiastic and full of information that we hardly noticed.

Although in the heart of Chelsea, due to Sir John Sloane’s gift, they pay only £5 per annum rental. It is beautifully laid out in world areas, and we saw many plants from the tropics growing outdoors – including the only grapefruit tree in Britain. The Garden still pioneers plants for all diseases, and is used by pharmaceutical companies to grow plants for their future medicines. There is even a need for poisonous plants!

Our tour included all parts of the site, including the potting-on house where we were congratulated on being the only tour this year not to have knocked a plant pot off a shelf. The potting shed and seed house were very interesting with the seeds having to be washed and sieved by hand. There is a free seed service that operates worldwide and within 6 weeks of asking, Gardens all over the world will receive these from the Physic Garden to cultivate themselves.

Thank you Sybille and Sandy for organising such an interesting visit.

By Liz McLaren