Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Traveling Plants: Chelsea Physic Garden, London

Greetings! Andrea Doonan horticulture + design is out of the office for a couple weeks and I'm taking to the road for a sampler of London, Paris and a large bite out of both Spain and Morocco. Along my adventure I hope to share tales of botanic and design discoveries with you.

So here I am, in the heart of London- and in the land of Royal Parks, lies the Chelsea Physic Garden, an unassuming, far less grandiose hidden gem than its towering neighbors. London's oldest botanic garden, it was founded in 1673 by the "Worshipful Society of Apothecaries" for apprentices as a teaching garden, designed to allow apprentices a structured environment in which they could learn to identify and study important medicinal plants.

It became one of the most important centers of botany and plant exchange in the world. If that wasn't cool enough- they managed to create microclimates by combining the location of the garden near the river and creating high walls. This enabled them to grow and study plants that otherwise could never grow in London, including the largest outdoor fruiting olive in all of Britain. The Chelsea Physic Garden has developed a major role in public education focusing on the renewed interest in natural medicine. The Garden of World Medicine which is Britain’s first garden of ethnobotany (or the study of the botany of different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples) is laid out together with a new Pharmaceutical Garden.

It's a great teaching tool for novices and amateurs alike to learn the many uses of common plants... From the common willow (asprin) to less common treatments for opthamalogy, gynecology, arthritis, you name it. Including a kind of artemesia that's been funded by the Gates foundation to grow over the world in treating malaria. Such a joy to see all walks from herds of school kids to the elderly strolling about these grounds. 

Some mobile uploads below for you. I'll plan to add captions once I return to a real computer. More info check out Cheers!!

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