Chelsea Physic Garden is one of Britain's oldest botanical gardens, a beautiful piece of living history with a unique collection of more than 5,000 medicinal and unusual plants.

The term "physic" meant of natural origin rather than spiritual as in metaphysical. Early physicians and apothecaries depended on plants for many of their medicines and cures. In order to teach new practitioners the difference between the beneficial plants and similar poisonous species, "physic gardens" were established.

The first such site was in Italy in 1543 and the Chelsea Physic Garden was established in London in 1673. Only the garden in Oxford preceded it. The four acre site on the banks of the River Thames provides a microclimate conducive to cultivation of many tender species of plants.

In 1722, the owner of the grounds signed a deed of covenant which granted a lease in perpetuity for the price of 5 pounds a year. That amount is still paid each years to the heirs of that owner, a Mr. Sloane.
 
Carl von Linne (Linnaeus), the great Swedish botanist, made several visits to the Garden in the 1730s. In the Historical Walk you can follow the Garden's own history, with plants introduced into cultivation by notable botanists, such as William Hudson, William Curtis, Sir Joseph Banks and Robert Fortune, who have been connected with the Garden over the centuries.

Chelsea Physic Garden
66 Royal Hospital Road
London SW3 4HS

This small garden on the banks of the River Thames if you are in the area. It is a short walk from the site of the Chelsea Flower Show and is a pleasant stop after spending a day being overwhelmed by its beauty. The Physic garden contains collections of plants arranged by their usage or traits such as poisonous plants or those used for diseases of the lung, etc.

Copyright 2000 -