While we’re all waiting for the Chelsea Flower Show to open next week and for pictures to emerge, here are a few things that I particularly liked when I visited the original Chelsea — the Chelsea Physic Garden — about a week and a half ago.
The four-acre London garden was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in order to grow medicinal plants and train their apprentices. It is the second oldest botanic garden in Britain, after the one at Oxford.
2. This giant fennel. It was a beacon in the Botanical Order Beds at about 8′ tall.
It did not have a label, but I have since looked it up — Ferula communes.
This tamarix in the center of the beds was a star too.
7. This primrose display, which — with the giant fennel — made my “most desired” list that day (along with this).
(And the café is excellent.)
I want to bring you a little late summer update on this garden.
I started out in March meaning to track the flowers of the Spielhaus (playhouse) perennial garden at the University of Hohenheim for this year’s GB Bloom Days. However, travel, gloomy weather, and hurting feet have interfered, and I haven’t posted an update since May.
Above, American Rudbeckia hirta or Black-eyed Susans draw the eye, paired with a red cultivar of Ricinus communes, and Coreopsis on the other side of the path.
The obelisk in the background memorializes Duke Carl Eugen von Württemberg and Franziska von Hohenheim. They built Hohenheim Palace (now a University building) and the English landscape-style garden/arboretum around it (now the University’s botanical garden).
Franziska was first the king’s mistress, then his morganatic wife. The main palace building was barely finished when he died. The family then pressured her into giving up Hohenheim for another estate.
The garden is roughly a rectangle with a bit of slope, set in front of the Spielhaus terrace. Narrow stone paths run through it lengthwise.
I don’t have the name of the species of the Panicum grass on the left above. The smoke bush on the right of the path is Cotinus coggygria ‘Young Lady’.
Above: the center area.
I particularly like the garden’s layout. And the display of plants is very popular with the neighborhood. It’s rare that I get it almost to myself.
Throughout this summer, the University has opened one room inside the Speilhaus on weekend afternoons. If you click on ‘Continue reading’ below and then on any of the thumbnail images, you can see some snapshots that I took in late July. The room holds a scale model of the palace grounds in Carl Eugen’s time, when there were about 60 folly-type buildings. Today, only the Spielhaus and one other remain.
Spielhaus Garden, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, last August.
“Flower bed (blomsterrabatt) with gladiolus at Trädgårdsföreningen, The Garden Society of Gothenburg, founded in 1842,” Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden, 1944, a color slide by Fredrik Bruno, via Swedish National Heritage Board Commons on flickr.
The glads offer no solution:
you mustn’t count the days—
livid, tattered, or beautiful.
— Gottfried Benn, from “Gladioli“