Design Tips for a Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic garden

The design of the Chesea Physic Garden dates back to 1673 when it replaced market gardens and orchards on the same spot alongside the Thames. Intended to be a physic garden ‘pertaining to things natural as distinct to metaphysical’ it is exceptionally practical rather than being design led.

Design Features With Appeal

  • Many excellent descriptions of plants with their practical or medicinal uses, in my view put it ahead of the RHS show gardens.
  • Rectilinear beds are arranged and labeled in botanic classification.
  • Old walls and old trees give shelter and help create a micro climate but there are also hot houses for exotic tropical plants.
  • Because the garden is not about gardening in a modern sense there are many features that need to be studied to take in the benefit from a visit to the garden. I liked the slate beds for pot plants, the variety of berries and seedheads (see below) and the statuary.

Incorporate Helpful Plants

  • Plan your garden with a good herbal or read up on plants before you select your range of subjects.
  • Consider viewing points and natural aspects of your garden.
  • A few of the plants that profit from being grown together include:
    • Marigolds and roses, aphids are lured naturally by roses, and these feed on the flowers and leaves. By planting marigolds around the roses, they will keep at bay insects.
    • Garlic, when grown in annual and perennial gardens, aids in warding off insects that feed on leaves.
    • Monarda or Bee Balm is not only an herb but also a striking flower, and this plant draws bees, and butterflies to the flower garden to assist with pollination.
    • Dahlias hold off insects and enrich the soil with nitrogen but otherwise are big drinkers and feeders.

Design Tips

    • Place large plants to the rear and/or the middle of the landscape. It gives depth to the garden and makes it appear larger.
    • Shrubs and perennial plants should be used to form the basis of your garden layout. A couple of big perennial plants helps retain the garden shape.
    • Leaves of a dark green color present a rich appearance to the garden while leaves of multicolor or of pale green shade lend a tropical or stunning impression.
    • Annuals often have the most brilliant flowers and bloom for a longtime but survive just one season. By placing them on the external face of the garden, the whole garden catches the eye enhancing the apparent garden size.
    • Arrange plants in clusters, instead of just single plants. This creates a more alluring display and attracts attention to the flowers.
    • Experiment with the use of a wide variety of white flowers that will complement foliage and other colours. Blue colours tend to receed in the eye and thus give depth or length. Reds and oranges convey an arresting look.

Peonie seed


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