The Chelsea Physic Garden is full of contradictions. It is organized and scientific. It is wild and mysterious. It is lush and full and hemmed in by apartments and busy London.
The 'front' part of the gardens contains regimented beds, glass houses, and a cafe and gift shop. The corners are square and the paths are raked.
Several gardners were busy prepping beds, setting up stakes for taller plants, and doing early spring upkeep.
I love the look of grass paths around beds. Not something I'd ever seen before, but I imagine it takes a lot of upkeep.
Beyond the regimented paths of the front part of the garden, I found a small forest. Everthing was still labeled and marked, of course, but, in addition to it being a nice contrast, it reminded me why many large gardens do contain even a small plot of 'wilderness'. And here is where I had lunch on a bench in the shade.
Though the Chelsea Physic Garden is closer to the garden I’ll be writing about than the larger parks in London, being there was a bit of an overdose. Every plant is labeled–in Latin, of which I have none. There are markers to differentiate beds of plants that were found or brought to England by this scientist and that plant hunter. Beds of herbs and medicinal plants are labeled according to what part of the body they benefit. Glasshouses contain numerous variations of the same type of plant. There is even a small table-top garden of carnivorous plants. It was like being inside a dictionary.
So I paid attention to certain details:
I fitst saw this on an Alan Titchmarsh gardening special, but had never seen it in person before. A tree (in his case if was an apple tree) is forced to grow along a low, horizontal fence around a small bed. Called horizontal cordoning, the process makes the tree low enough to easily step over!
Veggie beds covered in protective netting.
Decorative trees grown with herbs.
Finally, the obligatory flower close-up: