So, I was in London last week for a friend’s wedding, and remembered a well-timed email from a month or so earlier, suggesting I check out the Chelsea Physic Garden, if I ever had the chance. I don’t recall which of you sent the note, but Thank You!
The original walled garden was created in the 1600s as a training aid for apothecaries. I could have easily lost an entire day or more there, just wandering from section to section, reading and learning about what amazing plants they held. The only bad part?
I didn’t bring a camera. *facepalm*
If there were a single place from this whole trip for which a camera would have been amazing, it was here. Thankfully, I have been able to purloin a few from the web.
The gardens themselves are amazing. Many hold plants that are clustered by purpose: there is a section of fiber plants- hemp, cotton, bamboo, flax, etc; a section of perfumery plants, and of course, one of my favorites: the brewing plants. Bog myrtle, yarrow, and other plants, plus a woven skep behive, for mead-making. There I learned, much to my delight, that sweet woodruff is used in Germany to make May Wine- I’ve got loads in my front garden. You know that’s going on the list.
The garden of medicinal plants was redone just last year, and already looks fantastic. The centerpiece of that section is a giant serpent and staff woven out of grapevines, a nod to Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing.
In that redone garden, the medicinal plants are grouped in several ways. Some are by continent, a fascinating yet brief look at medicinal plant culture from around the world.
This visit was an inspiration for my gardens at home. Many of you have been following my progress with the first herb garden via the Inn’s Facebook page, but I have such grand plans after this trip. Eventually, I hope to have dedicated brewing, kitchen, and medicinal gardens. Of course, some of that is prone to overlap, but plants seem to be doing so outrageously well in the dirt here at the new house that I just want to plant everything.
But one seedling at a time… :)