A day at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London

It is 11:30 in the morning and I am sitting in the Chelsea Physic Garden, drinking a cup of coffee, looking out over beautifully sunny flower beds. I am recovering from a shock – a very pleasant one, but still a shock.

I had applied for membership with the Chelsea Florilegium and was invited to submit five pictures for review today. My ‘bag carrier’ Robin (his phrase – not mine) and I took the early train from Bosham and arrived here precisely on time at 11:00. I delivered my pictures and was told that we would be collected from downstairs about 20 minutes later.

I think it was about five minutes or so and they came to tell me the good news. I have been accepted. I am still recovering.

No doubt as time goes on you will hear more about my involvement with the Florilegium, but today I am taking advantage of a very pleasant day out, in beautiful relaxing surroundings. However, it will mean a bit of gardening when we get home as I have spotted some ‘must have’ plants!

Me, writing the words of this blog post to you.
Me, writing the words of this blog post to you.

I’m afraid that after we were given the good news, Robin did spoil me for the rest of the day. We spent the rest of the time meandering around the garden, with a break for a lovely lunch. I’m glad that it was so early in the year as not everything was above soil level – but even today there was so much to look at. Although I had forgotten my phone and camera, I was able to take one or two pics with Robin’s iPad.

How to plant what size bulbs at which depth!
How to plant what size bulbs at which depth!

We noticed this super idea in a bed that was about to be filled.With the aid of pot fragments, they had created the shape of a flower pot, laid different size bulbs at different depths from the soil surface to show how deep bulbs of certain sizes should be planted. It looked really good and certainly brought home how to plant bulbs.

Ribes speciosum
Ribes speciosum


I was intrigued by this plant. It is Ribes speciosum,  the common name is apparently ‘fuchsia-flowered gooseberry’. It was growing up a wall. The flowers were small and elongated, very delicate as well as attractive.

Rosa chinensis 'Crimson Bengal'
Rosa chinensis ‘Crimson Bengal’


Roses at this time of year! I thought that the Canary Bird Rose was one of the earliest. We have quite a large on in our garden, but it hasn’t begun to flower yet. But this Rosa Chinensis ‘Crimson Bengal’ was in full flower. Again very attractive and in particular at this time of year before so much has started flowering.

Rosa chinensis 'Crimson Bengal'
Rosa chinensis ‘Crimson Bengal’


It won’t be too long before everything in the garden begins to run rampant. So being able to study fewer plants in more detail, is quite a treat.


If you take a trip to London – do go to the Chelsea Physic Garden too. It is well worth it. It is the second oldest botanical garden in England after the one in Oxford, and is from 1673.


15 thoughts on “A day at the Chelsea Physic Garden in London

  1. What a fantastic day Gaynor. Many congratulations, but I’m not surprised that assessing your paintings took such a short time, everything you do is so precise and perfect. Eileen

  2. I am thrilled you were accepted by Chelsea , it is one of my favourite gardens, as I spent a year there doing my course, and I am a member and go there very often when in London and meet friends there for lunch/ supper in the summer It doesn’t feel like you are in London! I am back from SA, and will speak in next couple of weeks and see if you still have any spaces left on your courses. Best wishes. Sarah

    Sent from my iPad


    1. I hope you enjoyed yourself in SA Sarah? Hopefully will hear about it before too long. I remember that you were at the Chelsea Physic, but didn’t realise that you still went there frequently. I can understand why though!

  3. Gaynor – huge congratulations and so deserved ! Your work is just amazing and such an inspiration. Very special love to you and Robin for this weekend – and what a wonderful birthday present !

  4. Hi Gaynor

    Just read your blog about Chelsea Physic Garden. Huge congratulations on being accepted by Chelsea Florilegium, but well deserved! You go from strength to strength!

    It was lovely to see you at the SFP Open Day, hopefully will get down to Bosham some time this summer.

    Kind regards, Diana

    Sent from my iPad


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