Bees, flowers and sculpture at Chelsea Physic Garden

In 1673 the Society of Apothecaries of London founded a Physic Garden at Chelsea, so that their apprentices could learn to grow medicinal plants and study their uses. Yesterday I visited the garden, for the second time this summer, and found many new delights amongst its paths. It is a place where a sense of calm descends as you walk in, a place to shed all the bustle and cares of London and breathe in deeply from the heavy scent of evening flowers. Follow me in a walk round the garden.

The pink dappling effect of hydrangeas, against the dark of their leaves.

A harvest of vibrant pumpkins and gourds shone out, glowing in the evening light.

Honey bees and bumbles buzzed gently, busy using up their last minutes of light amongst the sunflowers.

Carder bee

Carder bee

A sculpture exhibition was on in the garden. Above is a seed-pod sculpture.

I was fascinated to learn about squirting cucumbers! Have any of my readers ever been squirted by one?

Bumble on blue flowers

And excited to find a huge bumble, bottom wriggling in the air, on these vibrant blue flowers.

Bumble on blue flowers 2

Think she’s a buff-tailed bumble bee.

Another sculpture, this one swaying high amongst the trees.

Summer pudding

Summer pudding

Summer pudding, full of juicy berries, was the perfect dessert to eat in the garden’s Tangerine Dream Cafe as dusk fell.

About Emily Scott

I am a UK beekeeper who has recently moved from London to windswept, wet Cornwall. I first started keeping bees in the Ealing Beekeepers Association’s local apiary in 2008, when I created this blog as a record for myself of my various beekeeping related disasters and - hopefully! - future successes.
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16 Responses to Bees, flowers and sculpture at Chelsea Physic Garden

  1. I’m not too sure about the squirting cucumber. Six metres is a long way, I think I’d give it a wide berth!:)


  2. Mei says:

    What a scrumptious end! yumm


  3. I love the Chelsea Physic Garden. Tim Cutler, the garden fellow (think he is still there) writes lovely articles about the traditions and uses of the plants in the garden. Lovely photos of bumbles and solitaries 🙂


  4. beatingthebounds says:

    It looks and sounds like a beautiful, peaceful place.
    Although an afternoon tea there might not be so restful if the cucumber sandwiches were made with the squirting variety.


  5. Pingback: There be dragons or maybe damselflies | Miss Apis Mellifera

  6. milapostol says:

    What an interesting sculpture in the tree. I first thought it was some kind of bee hive! Shows you where my mind is!


  7. Alex Jones says:

    What an awesome alternative system for the dispersal of seeds re: squirting cucumber.


    • Emily Heath says:

      Yes! I like to imagine it produces a squelching noise as it projectile squirts people standing several metres away, but I’m not sure if that’s close to reality at all. The inspiration for triffids perhaps?


  8. Gracious! That squirting cucumber does sound suspiciously like a triffid. I was going to suggest it to a friend of mine who likes to grow unusual and exotic vegetables, but now I’m reconsidering.


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