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June 14th 2018


Twenty-four Firebirds gathered together on 14th June 2018 for a guided tour around the Chelsea Physic Garden, followed by lunch.  This garden oasis is tucked away beside the River Thames and is the oldest botanic garden in London, housing around 5,000 medicinal, herbal, edible and useful plants.

The Garden was a fascinating glimpse into the past.  Many of the 400 medicinal plants, the most common of which is digitalis, have been grown in the garden since the 17th Century. Pharmaceutical plants form the basis of around a quarter of all modern Western medicines.


We were divided into two groups, each with a guide.  The day of our visit was also the date chosen to remember the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster and at 12 noon a hush settled over the garden for the minute of silence in remembrance.

The garden has a warm micro-climate and hence is able to grow trees which would normally only be found in Mediterranean climates.  These include the UK’s largest outdoor fruiting olive tree, the most Northerly outdoor grapefruit tree and pomegranates.  It was a fascinating tour and an eye-opener to how much modern medicine depends on plants used several centuries ago.

We then hot-footed it to the Tangerine Dream café, which is in the garden, where we had an enjoyable two-course meal. 

It was great fun to catch up with both Firebirds we knew and also to meet Firebirds we had not met before.  It made a most delightful day out.

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