Thursday, 28 January 2016

Cowbridge Physic Garden

Having moved to a house with a smaller garden this summer I have been thinking long and hard about what to grow in this new space. I brought some plants and pre-made raised beds with me so these immediately went in, as much to brighten the place up as anything else. Thinking longer term I wanted to do something with the front garden that would require very little maintenance, make a big impact and of course taste great.  The solution I came to was to start a herb garden. Something that I can use everyday and after the initial set up not spend too much time on.

I already grow a few herbs for everyday use in an old trough outside the backdoor. These are added to many of our meals so never get the chance to grow too any sort of size or run to seed as they are constantly being harvested. Even so this little offering has kept me in good supply throughout the past couple of months, the only thing it's not providing is variety.

With hundreds of species and variants available I was never going to be satisfied with just eight different plants. For inspiration a couple of weeks ago I took a trip to Cowbridge physic garden to explore the possibilities on offer.

Just off Cowbridge high street hidden behind four large stone walls is this real gem of a place. Restored and maintained by volunteers after falling into neglect, it boasts a huge variety of medicinal plants and herbs that once would have been commonplace.

Despite visiting in winter there was still plenty to see, some plants were past their best and others still in full glory.

There aren't many physic gardens left in the country these days having fallen out of favour with the development of modern medicine. In the past people would have used these plants for treating all manner of things, To name a few lemon balm was traditionally used to ease anxiety and insomnia, rosemary to improve concentration and memory, lavender as an antiseptic, parsley was used to prevent flatulence and bad breath, and lovage to cure colic.

Some great ideas and well worth a visit, I'll certainly be back again in the summer.

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