May 16, 2016

Apothecary gardens

I have always been intrigued by the idea of apothecaries and physic gardens, but in the last few years as we have been growing increasing amounts of herbs in our garden I have wanted to understand more of the history of using plants for wellness and medicine as well as the usual culinary uses. I love the idea that delicious herbs can also help our health, and the monastic and guild history of plant growing for medicine is so fascinating. I want to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden this summer, but we are lucky enough to live near a small market town that has a famous history of lavender and herb growing for early pharmaceutical purposes, and there is a small but lovely physic garden in the centre of town. Framed by locally made wrought iron railings, the garden has york stone paths between beds of medicinal plants laid out in groupings for external ailments, internal ailments, household and culinary usage. There are nearly a hundred different plants in the garden, including foxgloves, poppies, rosemary, roses, mint, peonies, pansies, marigolds, solomon's seal and lots of lavender.

Although I have a small kitchen garden full of herbs and flowers for culinary purposes, I have set aside a little corner bed in our garden to make our own 'physic' patch, and hope to fill it with plants inspired by this garden.

This bed already has lemon balm, lavender, poppies, nigella, foxgloves and lemon verbena, but I want to add other plants to add to food and tisanes. Some of these plants have such beautiful leaves and flowers, I am sure they will find their way into my jewellery designs, and I am thinking that an apothecary inspired collection might be really interesting? I am going to get myself a little notebook and get sketching as well as planting! I am really looking forward to this little adventure of learning, growing and designing...

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