Lin kindly invited me to the Chelsea Physic garden as a birthday present. We were lucky to have one of the better days as far as the weather was concerned, having had a wet and miserable start to the month. The garden is London’s oldest botanic garden, founded in 1673 by the Society of Apothecaries of London in order that the apprentices could learn to grow medicinal plants and study their uses. When Dr Hans Sloane bought the Manor of Chelsea in 1712, he also took over the freehold of the Garden. He granted the Apothecaries a lease on the land for a rent of £5 a year in perpetuity, on condition “it be for ever kept up and maintained as a physic garden”. Today an independent charity runs the garden and in 1983 it was opened to the public. We were in time to take a garden tour with a knowledgeable guide and this gave us an idea of the parts we could explore further over the 3.8-acre estate.
Anonymous – Spanish Serenade (René Bartoli)