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Dame Judi Dench, Janet and a Special Occasion at Chelsea Physic Garden!

Last week, Chelsea Physic Garden celebrated its 350th anniversary. Janet travelled to London to join Dame Judi and to raise a toast with the team…

Earlier this summer, when last I wrote, I told you about Chelsea Physic Garden. You might recall that LittlePod’s favourite haunt in London was preparing to mark its 350th anniversary. I’m delighted to report that last week, I joined the team at this magical corner of the capital for the official celebration of what is a major milestone. First established on the banks of the River Thames in 1673, the Garden can have seen few days like this, with more than 1,000 people passing through the doors to see the newly-restored glasshouses. The temperature was tropical as the sun shone on the hottest day of the year…

What a treat this was and a special occasion that was not to be missed!

I’m proud to be a patron at Chelsea Physic Garden – the CPG – and it was a great pleasure to catch up with Jen, who along with all the team has worked so hard on this long-running restoration project, and Jess, who is in charge of the Garden’s eight glasshouses. I was thrilled to see a vanilla vine thriving in one of the 100-year-old glasshouses, which have been restored so beautifully, and which will last for the next 50 years. Jess told me that she loves LittlePod’s natural vanilla paste and that she can’t believe the difference it has made to her creations in the kitchen. I couldn’t have been more pleased!

I also met Dr Jonathan Holliday, a former Master of the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, the group that founded the CPG in the 17th Century, and Tony Kirkham, a modern day Garden Trustee. Tony introduced his friend, Jude, who just so happened to be Dame Judi Dench! Truly, it was quite the occasion.

Judi spoke to us all about her love of Chelsea Physic Garden, a place that she – like me – feels has healing properties. Judi says that she hopes to visit more often and spend more time in the glasshouses and amongst all the newly-arrived plants. Perhaps you’ll bump into her or see her smelling the roses if you decide to visit. You should, for this is not just a place of peace, but also somewhere of great scientific importance, with much research carried out behind the walls that home a biome from every continent, as Tony was so keen to emphasise to all those gathered.

Given climate change and its impact upon us all I have no doubt that the work of all the volunteers and researchers at the CPG will be more important than ever for the next generation and for all those who follow. Thank goodness for all the apothecaries and for all those who value this unique garden. It is no longer a secret, but a place for all so why not become a Friend of Chelsea Physic Garden? You should go at least once in your life. You will not be disappointed!

If you do visit, be sure to say hello to Jess and to Jen and do look out for Dame Judi – who might just be found hiding in one of the Garden’s beautiful biomes…

To Sue, the Garden’s Director, to Tony, and to all involved at the CPG, we send thanks, vanilla hugs and best wishes for the next 350 years! Congratulations