Chelsea Physic Garden
Identity, Exhibition Design, Interpretive Display, Research, Writing
For LGBTQ+ History Month, Chelsea Physic Garden collaborated with Queer Botany to look at plants and the Garden through a queer lens. Queer Botany aims to share marginalised perspectives, support more diverse representations in the environment and outdoors, and acknowledge connections between queerness and plants.
Historically the LGBTQ+ community has been stigmatised and often referred to as being ‘unnatural’, however the natural world has many connections with queerness. One set of examples can be found in the sheer variety of plants and their reproductive methods. Concepts such as science & culture, male & female, human & nature are often contrasted in stark binaries, but queerness favours multiplicity and gradients. There is a peculiar cultural link between queerness and the symbolism of flowering plants, which can be found in the terms ‘pansy’, or ‘a streak’ or ‘dash’ of lavender’. There are many applications of floral symbols to reference homosexuality, especially in literature. Moving forward, we want queer stories from culture and nature to be more broadly interwoven into our understanding of the world. 
Photo by Fikayo Adebajo
In addition to the outdoor trail exhibition, there was programming in the forms of a talk, guided tour, botanical drawing session, and poetry reading. Materials were chosen based on environmental impact, opting for biodegradable and renewable plant-based resources. The displays were made from responsibly sourced birch plywood for the plant labels and organic linen for the larger displays. The map was 3-colour offset printed on recycled paper. All printers were UK-based.
Photo by Fikayo Adebajo
Photo by Fikayo Adebajo
Photo by Fikayo Adebajo
QR codes on the map and plant labels link to pages on the Garden website with extended text, images, and resources. 
LGBTQ+ flags display, Photo by Fikayo Adebajo
Inclusive Rainbow Pride Flag, Photo by Fikayo Adebajo
Past Residents display featuring Oscar Wilde
Past residents display featuring Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West
Poetry Reading with (left) BSL interpreter Peter Abraham and (right) poet Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson, Photo by Fikayo Adebajo
Queer Botanical Drawing Session with Edward Luke Thrush
Head of Learning and Public Engagement at Chelsea Physic Garden: Katy Parry

Head Gardener at Chelsea Physic Garden: Nell Jones

Making and Installation: Rosa Pascual

Artist & Illustrator leading Queer Botanical Drawing Session event: Edward Luke Thrush

Installation: Lucy Hayhoe

Copy Editing: Kiron Ward

Consultation for Poetry Reading event: Fraser Buchanan

Poetry Reading Host & Poet: Carlos Mauricio Rojas

Poets: Jack Cooper, Lateisha Davine Lovelace-Hanson, Imogen Aoife Ann Mansfield, Danni Spooner

Printers: Prinfab, Aldgate Press, Bespoke Laser UK

Special Thanks: Xavier Llarch Font and Andy Stevens

More in this collection

Back to Top