Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Urban Physic Garden

Remember that sweltering Sunday a few weeks back? My friend Vicki and I ended up slowly and stickily lumbering down to the Urban Physic Garden, near London Bridge. It's a patch outside London Bridge based around the idea of historical physic gardens, growing plants with medicinal purposes. And, in this case, with added seesaws.

There are the seesaws - an installation by Skart. In the background is Oliver Bishop-Young's ping pong skip. Obviously we tried both.

In the image you can see the wooden structure used as the basis for the garden. Against another wall, an irregular shelf-like structure was stacked with pots - really simple but inspiring ideas that made me wish I'd been blessed with green fingers and a talent for using a hack-saw.

There was something in about being in the heat in a makeshift place under a thundering railroad that made me feel like I was in some interesting corner of New York, rather than being metres away from the grottier side of London Bridge.

A temporary cafe was housed in the corner of the garden based from the Rambulance. Sadly their  power was down when we visited so no NY-style iced coffee for us, unfortunately.

The garden was based around four 'wards', each area filled with plants for a different branch of medicine: dermatology, gastroenterology, cardiology and psychiatry.

Street art style stencils and beautiful sketches were used alongside the plants to signal the way.

My knowledge on plants is pretty weak and my criticism of the garden would be that I didn't really learn too much more from being there. However, as a space to wander round, smell, look and stop, it was a perfect respite from the city.

Here's a heat-battered me and my seed pill - a little plastic container you could fill with your own selection of seeds. Mine has now been lovingly replanted and I'm waiting for my own medicinal plants to blossom.

You'll have probably noticed that these photos are better than my usual quality - that's because they were taken by Vicki, a very gifted girl with her camera. I'm trying to persuade her to start her own blog to publish her images - till then I'll use as many as I can for myself. Thanks Vicki!

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