The Urban Physic Garden

June 11, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Posted in Aunt Fanny, Eating and Drinking, Learning Stuff | Leave a comment
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I often like to ramble on about Aunt Fanny’s (potential) skills and interests as a country housewife, mostly because this gives me an excuse to write about making fruit syrups, how to use milk to remove freckles and how to make traditional remedies for all manner of ailments. Following this line of imagination, I suspect Aunt F. would very much enjoy the Urban Physic Garden which opened today on Union Street, Borough, London.

This pop-up garden has been created on a plot of urban wasteland and was built by a team of designers, gardeners and volunteers. Last year the space became the Union Street Urban Orchard, and as well as a fine array of fruit tress, it boasted some excellent avian action too (see my post on Bankside Birds). This time the planting and construction has been inspired by the medicinal, as the project website states: ‘a physic garden is a place where medicinal properties grow. For thousands of years people have been using plants to cure all ills’.

Today was the official opening of the garden, neatly timed to coincide with the London Open Garden Squares weekend. We arrived around lunchtime while the finishing touches were being put in place – plants in pots were being set out on newly-built shelves and information sheets outlining the properties and uses of various plants were being pinned up. Knowledgeable ladies were handing out homemade mint and ginger tea, elderflower ‘champagne’, gooey liquorice and a particularly delicious (and sticky) toffee-type creation made from liquorice and sage.

The raised planting areas are organised into ‘wards’ based on their healing powers (orthopedic, respiratory, dermatology, psychiatry etc) and there’s also a plant orphange, a decommissioned ambulance-turned-cafe, a consultation area and (somewhere) a compost toilet. The garden is open until 15 August and there are various events taking place over the summer including consultations, walks, talks as well as bread-making and drawing classes and a pop-up ‘Rambling Restaurant’ based out of the aforementioned ambulance. NB This is positioned somewhat close to the ‘Poison Cabinet’ but I’m sure they know what they’re doing.

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