Chelsea Physic Garden

Friday 9 September 2011

Roger Dean, London photographer and partner of Penny, an old friend of my sister’s, compiled a list of places we should see while in London in September 2010. Chelsea Physic Garden was on the list, and Roger and Penny took us there for lavish cakes, tea, and a wander around.

Beds of medicinal plants arranged by use - for opthalmology, parasitology, and anaesthetics and analgesics.

This garden was founded by the Worshipful Society of Apoth­e­car­ies of London in 1678 for training apprentices in the me­dic­i­nal qualities of plants. Such gardens were the precursors of systematic botanical gardens.

Rhubarb growing in the area of the garden devoted to culinary plants. The larger label notes Rubarb forcing: The forcing of rhubarb in order to produce earlier & more tender stems is thought to have been dicovered at the Chelsea Physic Garden around 1817. The small label identifies the plant: Solanaceae: ‘Culinary rhubard’: Rheum Rhaponticum: Asian USSR.

Roger is the creator of the Esoteric London blog. Each day he presents one of his photographs of London, paired with a piece of historical text. This is delightful, quirky stuff that expresses his deep connection with the richness of the city. I start each day with a quick look. The picture and the words don’t have to match exactly​—​rather, the two play a kind of counterpoint. I was prompted to look back at my photos and to write this piece about Roger’s blog by his entry for today​—​a photo of lichen at the physic garden. Did he take that picture the day we were there together? I photographed exactly the same subject that day.

A specimen of lichen growing on a wooden board in the garden. The label reads Xanthoria Parietina: ‘Common Orange Lichen’: Teloschistaceae: Before modern chemical dyes, many lichen were used as dyes. This species was prepared by steeping & soaking the cloth in urine. This gives a pink colour which turns blue when dried in the sun. Lichen are rarely used nowadays as they have been replaced by chemical alternatives.

filed under Food + History

comment on this article by private email

Search marquis-kyle.com.au

Vegetable sheep
Esoteric London: the book

Monthly archive
2021 A
2020 O A J J M A M F J
2019 D A J
2018 O S A J J M A M F J
2017 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2016 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2015 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2014 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2013 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2012 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2011 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2010 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2009 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2008 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2007 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2006 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2005 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2004 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2003 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2002 D N O S A J J M A M F J
2001 D N

Subject archive
The web
This site

About marking time


Contact me