Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5

We began our last day of this glorious tour visiting two epic stops that will necessitate me dividing this days tour into two posts. The first half was at the Chelsea Physic Garden and later that day, the Chelsea Flower Show, which you can imagine is a monster post on its own. Chelsea Physic Garden

Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673, as the Apothecaries’ Garden, with the purpose of training apprentices in the identification and use of medicinal plants. The location was chosen due to its proximity to the River Thames. This allowed the Apothecaries to moor their barge, collect plants in the surrounding areas and take advantage of the river’s warm air currents, which contribute to the Garden’s unique microclimate. River access also allowed plants arriving from around the World to be introduced to the British Isles via the Garden. Its international reputation was established early on as a result of the global seed exchange scheme, known as Index Seminum, which it initiated in the 1700’s and continues to this day.
Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5
You can imagine our groups collective “Ooohs and aaaaaahs” when we came upon this sign outside the garden. We were all giddy with excitement on our last and most glorious day of the tour.
Chelsea Physic Garden
Our intrepid tour guide Carolyn Mullet, who is an amazing designer in her own right made sure we all felt truly spoiled on this trip and today was no exception!
Though we were all bundled up in May, it was classic London gray weather. Nothing was going to stop us from enjoying this amazing day. We had a fabulous lunch in the Physic Garden before heading out either for formal tours or independent exploration of this historic location.
I’m SUCH a foodie, I just had to show you our dessert! decadent chocolate cake with creme fraiche! A most excellent send off to the extravaganza that lay ahead of us. 🙂
This artistic garden is all about health and medicinals. I took particular note of the artistry in how they displayed and used all manner of plants here. I love the twig bundles arranged on this path that will feature a bounty of ‘Lord Nelson’ sweet peas.
Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5
There were an enormous number of details to take in during this short time we had to explore in this extraordinary city garden.
Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5
Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5
One of my favorite spots in this garden demonstrated the context of where we were standing so beautifully; right smack in a busy and dense neighborhood in London only blocks from the River Thames with both row houses and high rises all around us. And yet here we are in a garden that is hundreds of years old and still going strong.

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5
Take note of this garden art and the medical symbology here, you will see it again in an amazing garden at the show!

Whatever the snake and stick mean, the rod should not be confused with another snake & stick combo: the caduceus, featuring two snakes, a stick and wings, that’s often used as a symbol of medicine in the U.S. The staff is said to have been that of Hermes, the messenger of the Greek gods.

Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life.


I was beyond shocked to see this incredible Echium not just existing, but blooming in May in cool, damp London! When they said micro-climate they weren’t kidding!

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5

Ther must have been some significance to this bust I’m sure, but the placement was unique, down low in the geranium!

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5

Intimate, shady paths wound through parts of this garden that featured shade plants and a fernery right behind me.

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5

“Rooms” in the garden were intended to feature groups of plants for varied uses in medicine, health, and wellness.

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5

Handsomely handcrafted waddle fences of different heights, styles, and materials confined various groupings of interests and plantings within the garden for study.

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5
In a garden that has a very specific focus and intent, design with floral focus in mind was mostly understated. But, then you look at and appreciate them, even more, when you see them stand up and say “Take my picture!”

Our time was VERY limited, so we had to scoot through this garden in time enough to go stand in line for our check-in time at the Chelsea Flower Show. SQUEEEEEEE!

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5

We walked just a few short blocks from the Chelsea Physic Garden to our staging spot for the Chelsea Flower Show, but what a view on our walk along the river. The photo makes it look SO peaceful when in fact it was nutty bananas with traffic and humans.

Something THIS show does that is unusual is that when you get your tickets to the show, you are assigned an entry time. So, you get in the queue and wait your turn for entry. Our time was later in the day as the light was fading and this photographer was panicking. 🙂

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 5
But, as you can now see, we made it in! Now you just have to stay tuned for the final chapter that covers this incredible one of a kind show!!!

Chelsea Flower Show, London & Country Gardens with CarexTours Pt. 3


Spring at the Pettifers garden in Oxfordshire owned and designed by Gina Price is a privilege to behold. Upon arriving, you have no idea the delightful spectacle that awaits you through the beautiful gate.



The front of Gina Price’s home gives only a minimal taste of what you’re about to see. Our tour group came in through the larger gates on the entry drive. 


This fantastic color was only mildly foretelling of the visual treat we were in for during this lovely visit.


Wouldn’t you LOVE for this to be your garage? I could have photographed just THIS for half the day, there were SO many fantastic details to take in and it was so neat and tidy!


Then you turn and take in the incredible old country home before you. Since 1984 Gina Price has been gardening here after her inspiration from learning about the “New Perennial Movement” that emphasized featuring grasses within the mixed border. Her interest in focusing on perennials rather than the tradition of roses and shrubs became the theme of the garden.


Keeping certain larger formally clipped, traditional shrubs for the effect of defining spaces served this garden very well!


I could not take my eyes off of the two urns placed on top of the pedestals filled with succulents in cracks and crevices. The blending of two seemingly distant trends in the garden of traditional, old world and the new ways of using practical sedum for color, texture and low maintenance beauty were magical!


The deep borders displayed voluptuous colors in both flowers and foliage and were incredibly well designed. Combining both old world planting style with 21st century ideas came together expertly.


Drifts of spring perennials and bulbs worked together in harmony. I would have loved to be able to see this garden in fall too!


Renowned for the formal parterre garden of clipped boxwood and yew, it also had a quite graceful, casual flair as well.


Far from the house, this portion of the garden featured more demure color. This clematis must really be a sight in summer!



Seating both intended for socializing, view gazing or solitary contemplation marked spots all over the property.


I love the artistic nature and placement of these smooth wooden chairs and the unusual shapes that reminded me of oxen yoke.


A broader shot that shows the lower part of the garden away from the house and the beautiful rolling hills and glowing rape seed growing in the distance make for an iconic view.


So many plants to photograph, so little time! 





Happy gardeners! 


Terrific backdrop for garden loving couples! 

Gina Price on the far right generously toured all of us through her exquisite landscape answering all of our questions before serving all of us proper tea and crisps.



Pettifers also enjoys having a very talented garden assistant on site who had a wonderfully encyclopedic memory for plants and the history behind the garden too. It was a pleasure chatting with her!




It was our good fortune to be visiting this garden in spring to catch it at the beginning of the growing season all fresh and lovely. What a garden!

Want your very own taste of the English countryside in spring? Click HERE for more information on the spring tours that are about to happen for 2017 and how to secure your own spot. GO-CLICK-NOW! 🙂