Saturday, June 18, 2011

London Journal - Urban Physic Garden

The first thing I noticed about London when I came here was the general lack of greenery. In Calgary we have boulevards on most streets and almost every house has a back and front yard, most of which are twice the size of anything you would encounter in London.

This lack of greenery was a bit jarring for me, having been born and raised in a city which lay at the foothills of the Rockies and grown up in a community nestled between the river, a wild lands reserve and the city bird sanctuary.

But I've made it a point to find what greenery can be found in this incredibly concreted land I currently reside in, so when a friend invited me to investigate a new Urban Physic Garden near Southwark underground I happily went along.
It was a bit damp but not too chilly and getting there was easy enough. Just a brief five minute walk from Southwark station and we'd found it nestled at the base of the railway tracks.

Laid out like a hospital, the plants are divided according to 'ward', each corresponding with the part of the body they are most beneficial to. Certain plants pop up in more than one ward (rosemary, for example) and a few appear to be unassigned, growing in neat rows in a boxed off area on the ground.

The entire space has been decorated in clever and creative ways, from tin pots welded onto odd twisted sculptured legs to a mish-mash of two by fours nailed along a wall to make a jaunty shelving unit. I quite enjoyed the creative lettuce wall and medical cross made of moss.
It was a lovely little pocket to find and yet another reason why I find London so fascinating. There seem to be these incredible pockets of ideas, inspiration and positive energy all over the city. It's definitely inspired me. Thought I'm by no means a gardener (I simply can't commit to it) I am now eager to learn more about identifying certain plants and am considering some things to add to my own little herb garden, not to mention the ideas it has given me for lovely sculptured garden decorations.

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