England’s Finest Gardens & Chelsea Flower Show 2010
May 25th – June 2nd, 2010


Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Kew Gardens - One of the World's Leading Botanic Gardens!

Botanic Gardens have a long history in the UK, beginning with the foundation of the Oxford Botanic Garden in 1621 and the Apothecaries’ Garden (Chelsea Physic Garden) in 1673. Over the succeeding centuries the European botanic gardens became increasingly tied in with the expanding empires and colonial exploration, and seeds and plants were sent back to the gardens from all over the world. Private collections became important status symbols for the wealthy during the 18th century, a time when scientific exploration was part of the discourse of nobility. Some gardens were eclectic, intending to be as diverse as possible, while others were closely supervised, ordered and maintained.

In 1759, Princess Augusta and Lord Bute established the first botanic garden at Kew, employing William Aiton as the gardener. The Physic or Exotic Garden is the direct ancestor of today's establishment and this date is now accepted as the foundation of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The Physic or Exotic Garden was one of a number of small formal gardens at the north end of the Site and incorporated Chambers' Great Stove - a hot house that continued to function for exactly a century, until it was finally superseded by the Temperate House. The Great Stove was demolished in 1861 and the huge and ancient wisteria that once grew across its eastern end now marks its site near the present Secluded Garden.

The garden in William Aiton's charge covered an area of about 10 acres (4 hectares) and was devoted to medicinal plantings. It continued to grow and flourish under Aiton's care and Princess Augusta's patronage, but it was not until after her death in 1772 that Sir Joseph Banks began his involvement with the site and it developed an international significance in its own right.

On 3 July 2003 the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was officially inscribed on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Kew also has a few places that you can stop and have a bite to eat at as well as an excellent gift shop.

Kew had a photography exhibit set up outside so I looked at that. Went inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory to see the tropicals…always something of interest there and so much in bloom! Then I always make time to visit the water lily conservatory and was not disappointed. Almost every lily was in bloom, just magical to see those watercolour beauties.

‘One of London’s best small museums’ The Daily Telegraph

The Garden Museum explores and celebrates British gardens and gardening through its collection, temporary exhibitions, events, symposia and garden. Whether you are an enthusiastic amateur gardener, more of a specialist or someone with a passion for museums, history even architecture the Museum has something for you. Situated on the South Bank of the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament, the Museum has a spectacular home in the former St Mary-at-Lambeth parish Church, which itself its steeped in history and has some interesting stories to tell. For example, the tomb of the John Tradescants, gardeners to Charles I and adventurous plant hunters, can be found in the Museum Garden. They introduced many of the flowers, shrubs and trees we grow today. The centrepiece of the garden is a 17th century style knot garden that is planted with the plants that the Tradescants grew, and offers year-round interest to the visitor as well as a calm oasis away from the hustle and bustle of London. The Shop offers a range of perfect presents for those who love gardens. ‘Inner-city gardening can be a challenge, and this garden is perhaps more demanding than most, with thin, free-draining soil and poor air quality. Added to which, the period-theme of our planting in the knot garden means that plants are selected for historic interest, rather than on a ‘right plant right place’ basis, and they often become stressed, especially during hot summers. However, we also benefit from a microclimate that means we can grow tender and borderline hardy plants with ease. Banana, oleander, and olive thrive, Mirabilis jalapa, usually grown as an annual, appears year after year and we see agapanthus flowers almost every month. Iris germanica has been known to flower in March, nasturtium behaving as evergreen climbers and Phlomis fruticosa bloomed all last winter. We are particularly proud of an 8 year-old specimen of Echium fastuosum partnered by the structural Geranium maderense wrapping round the base of the west facing wall of the building.’ The Museum is grateful to the band of volunteer gardeners who give time and energy each week, sweeping, watering, propagating and pruning to ensure the gardens are maintained in good condition.

Chelsea Physic Garden - Second Oldest Botanic Garden in England!

Situated in the heart of London, this 'Secret Garden' is a centre of education, beauty and relaxation. Founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, it continues to research the properties, origins and conservation of over 5000 species. Some years later, Dr. Hans Sloane, after whom the nearby locations of Sloane Square and Sloane Street were named, purchased the Manor of Chelsea from Charles Cheyne. This purchase of about 4 acres was leased to the Society of Apothecaries for £5 a year in perpetuity.

Environments for supporting different types of plants were built, including the pond rock garden, constructed from a variety of rock types, namely stones from the Tower of London, Icelandic lava (brought to the garden by Sir Joseph Banks in 1772 on a ship named St. Lawrence), fused bricks and flint. This curious structure has been listed Grade II* and is the oldest rock garden in England on view to the public. It was completed on 16th August 1773.

In 1848 Robert Fortune used Wardian cases, which are rather like miniature greenhouses, to transport seedlings of Camelia sinensis (tea) from China leading to the establishment of the tea industry in India.

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. There is a café on site as well as gift shop.



  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row