Today I visited the Chelsea Physic Garden – heeding the warning that we are about to get a week of winter storms, I was desperate to get to Chelsea to see what is happening in the garden in January.
It was a magnificent day today – cold, blustery, wet and exhilarating. The gardeners were all busy, planting and preparing for the Snowdrop week (next week), when they open the garden to the public so that they can share the amazing display of snowdrops that are adorning every nook and cranny of the garden. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview – I will go back next week and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who has a love of gardens, city birds or who just wants to escape for an hour or two.
Of course, most of the plants are in their beds asleep – but there is beauty in the various stages of dormancy and the colours, although muted, are incredible and very inspiring.
Ultra green shoots are just starting to prick through woody stems and you know that in a matter of weeks we will be blessed with an array of Spring shoots and blossoms.
When it is so chilly, it is hard not to run straight home, head down and forget about the amazing spaces around us, but I felt so glad to be outside today and I forgot that I was in the middle of London – just for a few hours.
If I were made to choose my fave plant of the day it would have to be this – Clematis Tibetana (or the ghost of last years CT!) otherwise known as “Old Man’s Beard” – it is just silly and I want one! (A plant not a beard).
But then again – the Magnolia Grandiflora is in full bud – and my goodness, you cannot believe that this colour is natural – it’s London – it’s January – this is flaming-o pink!
For any student of Herbal Medicine, the garden is invaluable. The history and the original intent of the garden (founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries for its apprentices to study the medicinal qualities of plants) make it a pilgrimage site for me. It is a healing space, it is inspiring and more than once a visit it makes you gasp.
The tropical corridor – a heated and rather steamy glass house was a welcome shelter while it rained and I was happy to take the time to photograph many of the Ayurvedic plants that I am studying – I have been able to update my Cardamom post with an image of the plant actually growing in London.