Island Endemic Flora

The Garden holds a number of rare and endangered species from Crete and the Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Canary Islands.

Planted along the warmest wall of the garden is an extensive collection of species from the Canary Islands and Madeira. These include species of Argyranthemum, Lavandula, Lotus, the impressive Echium pininiana with its 8 foot blue flower spikes (see picture, below) and the rare Echium wildpretii from the top of the volcano (Mount Teide) in Tenerife.

Most of these plants survive mild winters with the protection of a fleece tent that extends the length of the border. Back-up plants of all species are kept in the glasshouses in the event of a very cold winter.

The collection of endemic Cretan plants is grown in one of the glasshouses as well as on the recently restored rock garden. It is the oldest planted rock garden in Europe still on view to the public and dates from 1773. It was built with stones from the Tower of London, chalk and flint and lava from a volcano in Iceland. The lava was donated by Sir Joseph Banks, it was used as ballast in his ship and was dropped off at the Chelsea Physic Garden as it sailed up the Thames.

Views of the Canary Island and Madeiran bed


British Natives and other regions of the worldThe Garden holds a collection of British native plants as well as collections of other continents.

The South African, display contains species from this part of the world, with a large example of Cussonia paniculata which survives our winters with the protection of a structure of bubble-wrap during the cold winter months.

The South and North American beds, display a selection of trees, shrubs and colourful annuals from these regions.

The photograph shows a selection of Cornfield annuals which, although not originally native to Britain, are now naturalised into our flora.