London, then Somerset!

Today I had the great honor of going to a place that has been held very high in my esteem for most of my lifetime.
Awaiting spring opening at the gates of the Chelsea Physic Garden

Awaiting spring opening at the gates of the Chelsea Physic Garden

Today I was the first at the gate, on the first day of the spring opening of the renowned Chelsea Physic Garden, London. It is a very old place, full of the story of people seeking the latest and greatest in plant material, a place where traditional plant healing knowledge and the rapidly expanding new botanical knowledge was, and is, being tested, preserved, and passed on.
Eagerly anticipating spring season first day open at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Eagerly anticipating spring season first day open at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Begun by the Society of Apothecaries of London in 1673, the Chelsea Physic Garden was originally established as a place of training and education for apprentice apothecaries to study plants used for medicinal purposes. They were given instruction in how to grow and care for these plants, and how to make tinctures and poultices for medicinal uses.
Chelsea Physic Garden, London - Greenhouse interior

Chelsea Physic Garden, London - Greenhouse interior

Chelsea Physic Garden, London - Greenhouse

Chelsea Physic Garden, London - Greenhouse

The Forsythia, named after the second Curator / Gardener of the Garden, William Forsyth, was blooming with explosive golden-yellow today. It glowed into the spring sunshine like a living beacon, and could be seen from all vantage points in the four-acre garden.
Chelsea Physic Garden, London - Forsythia blooming with explosive golden color

Chelsea Physic Garden, London - Forsythia blooming with explosive golden color

Forsythia blooms - spring opening day Chelsea Physic Gardens London

Forsythia blooms - spring opening day Chelsea Physic Gardens London

I  enjoyed an incredible fern greenhouse and display, a cooperative project of the Natural History Museum of London (where I have spent several days this week researching) Botany Department and the Chelsea Physic Garden, serves as a growing place for Asplenium ferns being examined for taxonomic research. The light that travels though ferns has a magic glow not replicated anywhere else.  
Fern House, Chelsea Physic Garden

Fern House, Chelsea Physic Garden

Spring light through the ferns

Spring light through the ferns

The great botanical explorers brought their latest finds to this garden, sheltered in a lovely neighborhood of Chelsea, London, England.  Its leaders, such as Sir Hans Sloan (1660-1753), Phillip Miller (1691-1771) William Aiton, and William Forsyth served as the stimulus to intense international discussion about plants. This fascinating scientific learning and educational outreach continues at the Chelsea Physic Garden, which has long been an international leader in the promotion, conservation and continued scientific research of healing plants.
Chelsea Physic Garden, London - nestled in a lovely London neighborhood

Chelsea Physic Garden, London - nestled in a lovely London neighborhood

If you get a chance, do go to the Chelsea Physic Garden to enjoy a newly developed space, The Garden of Edible and Useful Plants. It opens in May 2012, and a wonderful book I recently bought from the National Geographic Society would be a great compliment to learning more about the plants soon to be seen in this new area.
Opening May 2012 - The Garden of Edible and Useful Plants

Opening May 2012 - The Garden of Edible and Useful Plants

Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine
http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/product/books/animals-and-nature/nature-and-environment/desk-reference-to-nature%27s-medicine