Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Garden Society Day Trip to Chelsea Physic Garden and Buckingham Palace Garden

Yesterday (Bank Holiday Monday), the Gardeners' Society hired a coach, and took a trip up to London for the day. And what a day! The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, and the Plane Trees were shedding their seeds in abundance. Let me tell you more...

At 9am the coach left the village. MrPB and I are going to get a reputation, as we were the last to arrive - again!! Ooops, well, at least we weren't late this time!! We had a clear run into London, arriving outside the Chelsea Physic Garden at 10.30.

Most of the group had opted for a guide, but MrPB and I decided just to wander. I'd done a bit of reading up on the website, so was able to point out things like the oldest fruiting Olive tree in England (it bearly fits in the photo, its so enormous!) 

We also watched the honey bees flying in and out of the WBC and National hives tucked away in a quiet corner. I think MrPB is now convinced that our garden couldn't have handled a honey bee hive - far too frantic! We're much safer with our Beepol Bumble Bee hive.

We saw the clipped bay trees in the...oooh, erm, I think it was the Aromatic part of the garden.

We sat on a bench and watched a wood pigeon drinking from the large rectanglar pond, surrounded by beautiful yellow flag irises. Went into the Fern House, which had some lovely curious plants, and a lovely white Rhododendron trained against the wall, which I've never seen done before.

Then we wandered outside again and sat on a metal bench near the tea rooms, enjoying the sunshine and the view,

and being entertained by a fearless little robin, who hopped right underneath my seat and sat there for ages!

Then we went into the Tea Rooms and had a beautiful selection of salads for lunch. I thought the minty pea, soya bean and parma ham one was just delicious, and might try to recreate it at home! But not the Stilton one - bleurgh!

After lunch and a wander round the lovely shop, we jumped back on the coach and headed off to Buckingham Palace. We had to go through a couple of security checks, first ID and then belongings, and then we were shown through a long gallery, and up some steps, where we were offered tea and coffee. We then went and sat in a room kitted out with a big screen and a laptop, and a lovely guide called Martin gave us a potted history of the Palace and its owners. He then lead us round the mile long path that traces the boundary of the palace gardens, pointing out plants and features of interest as we went. Unfortunately he wasn't a horticulturalist himself, and couldn't answer some of the more searching questions like 'what's being grown in those wire cages?', but nevermind, it was very informative nonetheless. It's a great shame that you can't take photos in the Palace gardens, but that's security for you.

Both gardens are lovely, and if you get the opportunity to visit them, then do, and you can easily do both in a day.

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