Nature-ist: St Luke’s Gardens, Chelsea

Chris Lockie
By Chris Lockie Last edited 70 months ago
Nature-ist: St Luke’s Gardens, Chelsea

Continuing our series detailing some of London's lovelier gardens.

What is it?
A picturesque garden beside St Luke's Anglican Church, open to the public from morning until dusk each day. Bountiful plants and unusual colour schemes are a treat, and the spot provides a lovely oasis of calm in the area, particularly for local workers skipping out for lunch. The gardens were converted from the church's burial grounds in 1881 and were designed by local horticulturist James Veitch. Its original use is commemorated by the presence of tombstones around the perimeter of the small park.

Where is it?
The main public gardens are at the conjunction of Sydney Street and Britten Street in Chelsea, to the south of St Luke's Church (which scuppered the 'Chelsea Batman' in 1874). North of the church is also open to the public, though this is mostly taken up by a multi-purpose sports and play area, dominated by local schoolchildren at lunchtime.

Why has it tickled our fancy?
London's open spaces have a tendency to drain the stress from overworked office folk on their lunch break, and St Luke's Gardens are no different. Its plants and trees and unconventionally colourful, and in an area well known for private, residents-only gardens, St Luke's is a lovely spot for everyone to enjoy.

Nature notes
Paths and benches weave between plants and trees lovingly cultivated through the park's 10-year management plan. Well-tended oak and ash trees mingle with more curious foreign imports, including a handful of unusually hardy palm trees. Shrub beds and tall potted plants are scattered around for additional interest. Hardy hedges such as hawthorn and blackthorn do their best to attract bees and butterflies and protect the park from pollution from the surroundings streets.

See other parks and gardens in this series, or explore the map below.

By Chris Lockie

Last Updated 28 May 2013