An exciting opportunity has arisen to volunteer with the Garden Team. We are looking for a volunteer who is able to assist us with the administration of our seed exchange service, which began in the late 17th century.

Chelsea Physic Garden was founded in 1673 by The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries. By 1682, it was well established and the Director, John Watts, invited Dr. Paul Hermann of the Leiden University Botanic Garden to visit the Garden. The idea of a plant and seed exchange between the two botanic gardens was formulated and John Watts visited Leiden early in 1683, taking plants and seeds with him. This scheme is known as Index Seminum (Latin for ‘List of Seeds’). 

Such exchanges of plant material have continued until the present day, enabling botanic gardens all over the world to introduce new plants to their countries, help conserve rare plant species and to maintain interesting and diverse collections. The seed exchange now operates between the Garden and approximately 368 other botanic gardens and universities in 37 different countries.

You will be working closely with our Propagation Manager and full training will be given. The tasks undertaken include:

  • Maintaining the contacts database of Gardens participating in the scheme.
  • Sending out Chelsea Physic Garden’s Seed List to participating botanic gardens.
  • Receiving requests for seed, selecting the correct seed and sending it out to the institutions.
  • Searching other gardens’ Seed List catalogues for seeds required by Chelsea Physic Garden and requesting seed when available.
  • Maintaining records of seeds requested and seeds sent out.
  • During the summer months, collecting seed for CPG’s contribution to the Index Seminum scheme.

The ideal candidate will be someone who:

  • is able to commit to helping one day a week (currently on a Thursday).
  • has good administration skills, is organised, computer literate and is competent using Excel and Outlook.
  • has a keen interest in plants and/or botanic gardens.
  • can work independently and with attention to detail. 

If you are interested, please contact the Volunteer Manager at [email protected]