Stars’ plea to Charles in fight to save gar­den cafe

The Mail on Sunday - - Talk Of The Town - Edited by Rob­bie Grif­fiths

THE tran­quil­lity of one of Bri­tain’s most his­toric – and posh­est – gar­dens has been shat­tered in a row that has drawn in Prince Charles.

Celebri­ties in­clud­ing ac­tress Kristin Scott Thomas and play­wright Sir Tom Stop­pard are among t hose at­tracted to the peace­ful Chelsea Physic Gar­den, of which the heir to the Throne is pa­tron.

Now 2,000 sup­port­ers are fu­ri­ous about the de­ci­sion to axe the caterer of the gar­den’s beloved cafe, Tan­ger­ine Dream, and have writ­ten to the Prince to com­plain.

To their dis­may, chef Lim­pet Bar­ron has been given her march­ing or­ders and the name Tan­ger­ine Dream binned.

Mu­si­cian Bryan Adams, de­sign­ers Sir Paul Smith, Manolo Blah­nik and Anya Hind­march, Princess Diana’s hair­styl­ist Sam McKnight and TV pre­sen­ter Loyd Gross­man have all signed a pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing the cafe’s re­in­state­ment.

It will be de­liv­ered to Clarence House this week.

One pe­ti­tioner tells the Prince of Wales the de­ci­sion to re­place Tan­ger­ine Dream is ‘dis­grace­ful’. ‘This is a ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tion,’ says an­other.

Tan­ger­ine Dream was launched 13 years ago and has been cred­ited with help­ing to trans­form the gar­den’s fi­nances. ‘I put my heart and soul into the cafe and the Physic Gar­den,’ Ms Bar­ron, 63, told me last night. ‘It was never go­ing to make me a bil­lion­aire, but it did cre­ate a com­mu­nity.’

The es­tab­lish­ment will now be run by Rocket And Radish Ltd, which cur­rently man­ages the cafe at Clifton Nurs­eries in Maida Vale, West Lon­don, a venue pop­u­lar with the Range Rover brigade.

A spokesman for Chelsea Physic Gar­den said: ‘ The con­tract with Rocket And Radish is a com­mer­cial agree­ment and due dili­gence was un­der­taken prior to its ap­point­ment.

‘Tan­ger­ine Dream Cafe will re­main an ac­cred­ited sup­plier to Chelsea Physic Gar­den and the trus­tees would like to thank them for ev­ery­thing they have done.’

Founded in 1673 by the Wor­ship­ful So­ci­ety of Apothe­caries, Chelsea Physic Gar­den is one of the old­est botan­i­cal gar­dens in the coun­try.

Set in four acres be­side the River Thames, its high walls pro­tect Bri­tain’s largest fruit­ing olive tree and even a grape­fruit tree.

In 1983, the gar­den was es­tab­lished as a char­ity and opened to the pub­lic. It also has 7,000 mem­bers who pay £56 a year for greater ac­cess.

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