Garden Gallery: The Urban Physic Garden

Do you know what a physic garden is?  I have to admit that until I attended design school at the Chelsea Physic Garden, I had no idea what the term meant either.  So in case you don’t know, a physic garden is a special kind of herb garden whose purpose is to grow medicinal plants.   
urban physic garden
The  first known physic garden was started by Matthaeus Silvaticus in Salerno, Italy in the 1300’s and many more followed as the main suppliers of medical apothecaries.  With the use of modern medicine and the loss of a collective knowledge of the healing and medicinal powers of plants, it is rare to see a new Physic Garden so that is why the Urban Physic Garden is particularly exciting.

moss wall urban physic garden

medicinal plants at the urban physic garden via www.pithandvigor.com

The Urban Physic Garden, which in its original home was a pop-up space in Southwark, London, is currently a travelling exhibit that is making its way through Asia (anyone want to help me see if we can bring it to the states?).

gastro plants from physic garden

The Garden, which hosts a variety exhibits, a cafe, and lots of related arts and science events, is organized into wards – just like a hospital so you can learn about plants as related to their medical application.

urban physic garden via www.pithandvigor.comThe most clever part is that the kitchen for the cafe is in a converted ambulance and it is called the Rambulance Cafe (get it, rambling and abulance cafe….cute right?).

medicine cabinet via www.pithandvigor.com

medicine cabinet via www.pithandvigor.com
(click on the images above for a bigger version where you can read more about some of these elixirs)

I have made cocktails with mint and other herbs but despite a few lessons from a friend who is very good with this sort of thing…I don’t think to head outside or garden my way out of a headache.   I think this is a lost knowledge that we need to regain for the benefit of better understanding our world and how to make sure that our pharmaceutical companies are serving us well.

I’m curious if you use any plants from your garden to treat ailments?   And If you do use plants medicinally, I would love to hear your remedies and methods. 

-Rochelle

images from Urban Physic Garden

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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1 Comment

  1. Taunya on June 18, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Hello Rochelle,
    Corn Silk Sun Tea is a natural diuretic. 8 to 12 ears of fresh corn silk to one gallon of water, allow it to sit in the sun for a day and drink one cup daily with fresh juice or straight. Yes..it will have a faint taste of corn!
    ~Taunya

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