Chelsea Physic Garden London + Sir Hans Sloane

Sloane Range

Hospital Road Chelsea London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

It’s the alternative Chelsea Flower Show. The permanent one on the banks (or at least literally used to be before the Embankment got in the way) of the Thames. A little bit of Kew gone upstream. Somewhere to learn the difference between dicotyledon and monocotyledon order beds. Permanent is the word. London’s oldest botanic garden was established by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries seven years after the Great Fire of London.

Chelsea London Townhouse © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Its original purpose was to grow medicinal herbs as a training facility – the river provided handy transport for plants and people. In 1680 an Irish apprentice Hans Sloane (later knighted) began his studies at the Garden. Little did the Apothecaries realise he would become its saviour and set it on the path to 21st century survival. The Irishman would later found the nearby Cadogan Estate, lending his surname to golden real estate such as Sloane Square and Sloane Street. Oh, and there’s even an upper class caricature that borrows his surname: Sloane Ranger.

Cheyne Walk Chelsea London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Chelsea Embankment London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Chelsea Physic Garden London View © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Branches Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Plants Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Pond Rockery Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Trees Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Urn Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Sir Hans Sloane Statue View Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Sir Hans Sloane Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Sir Hans Sloane Statue Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Glasshouse Lawn Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Glasshouse Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Glasshouse Garden Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Glasshouse Entrance Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Glasshouse Finial Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Glasshouse Roof Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Glasshouse Roof Frame Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Statuary Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Stone Urn Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Red Flower Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Plants Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Plant Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Pink Flowers Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Pink Flower Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Green Plant Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Horticultural historian Sue Minter relates his rise to fame and fortune: “After qualifying in 1687 Hans Sloane travelled to Jamaica to serve as private physician to the 2nd Duke of Albemarle. Two years later, he returned to London armed with a special recipe for milk chocolate and the compound was quinine – a medicine capable of preventing and curing malaria.” He purchased the Manor of Chelsea (which included the Physic Garden) in 1772. As a thank you for his training, he rented the Garden to the Apothecaries in perpetuity for £5 a year. The same rent is still paid to his descendants.

Flowers Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

Paths radiate from a centrally placed statue of Sir Hans Sloane. Despite the Garden’s relatively small size – 1.6 hectares – it is a cornucopia of historic delights from the 18th century Pond Rockery, the oldest in Europe, to glasshouses built in 1902 of Burmese teak. One of the glasshouses, The Cool Fernery, rejoices in Pteridomania, or fern madness. The Chelsea Physic Garden is now home to 5,000 different medicinal, herbal, useful and edible plants. On that note, anyone for Piedmontese peppers, aubergine caponata and braised artichoke in the restaurant marquee?

Flower Chelsea Physic Garden London © Lavender's Blue Stuart Blakley

 

About Lavender's Blue

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3 Responses to Chelsea Physic Garden London + Sir Hans Sloane

  1. roryabu says:

    Has it re-opened? Had no idea Sloane was (Anglo-)Irish

  2. Yes! Book online; semi alfresco lunch in the marquee (masked chef delivers food on plastic tray with disposable cutlery). The shop is also open for basic necessities such as Gisela Graham napkins, Benamor Jacaranda hand cream and Fer a Cheval perfumed soap.

    Bit of a revelation here too – Sloane was Irish or as you more correctly suggest Anglo-Irish.

  3. janice porter says:

    Very interesting article wih beautiful photographs

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