Founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, this is the second-oldest surviving botanical garden in England. Sir Hans Sloane, doctor to King George II, required the apothecaries of the Empire to develop 50 plant species a year for presentation to the Royal Society. The objective was to grow plants for medicinal study. Plant specimens and even trees arrived at the gardens by barge from all over the world, many to grow in English soil for the first time. Some 7,000 plants still grow here, including everything from pomegranate to exotic cork oak, and the garden also houses England's earliest rock garden.