Poetry Pharmacy launches £3,800 project to fund 'Physic Garden'

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The Poetry Pharmacy in Bishops Castle, Shropshire – a Victorian shop packed with poetry, philosophy and well-being books, ‘pills’ and other literary gifts and products, plus cafe, and a social space for workshops and readings – is launching a new project.

The pharmacy is backing a project by four horticultural students that it hopes will result in a ‘Physic Garden’ behind the shop.

‘Emergency Poet’ Deborah Alma, who used to tour poetry festival and other events in her converted ambulance prescribing poetry before setting up her Shropshire premises, said on Facebook:  “Although it is hard to ask for financial support at this difficult time for the world, we do believe that you will be supporting a number of artists, students and all the people in the future that might get a little light and solace from this beautiful project and we want the Poetry Pharmacy to thrive and grow. Please be a part of that if you can?”

She has set up a £3,800 Kickstarter project to support her idea. The funding page explains: “Your generous support would first enable a group of four horticultural students - Esther Cooper-Wood, Liz Colebrook, Laura Clark and Alex Valk from Winterbourne House and Gardens - to showcase their garden ideas, and set up a garden at BBC Gardener's World live in June at the NEC in Birmingham.

“Their garden was inspired by the work we do here at the Poetry Pharmacy and poetry will be threaded through the garden. The funds would pay for all the plants, materials, handmade ceramic plant-tags and some landscaping at the show. But significantly, as well as enabling the students to realise their ideas, we would love to bring back the garden to establish a permanent and beautiful Physic Garden at the Poetry Pharmacy. Accessible to customers, visiting writers, and workshop attendees of the Poetry Pharmacy,  it could also become a space for the workshops themselves, as well as readings within the garden and to inspire the writing of poetry.  A place to enjoy some quiet contemplation and to foster a connection with nature.  A place to practise meditative weeding, or use the Writer's Hut to write a poem whilst you sip on freshly brewed herbal tea. Your support will enable us to plant the garden, undertake some landscaping work and turn the shed into a Writer's Hut within the Physic Garden.

“Inspired by medieval ‘physic’ gardens where plants were cultivated by apothecaries, our Physic Garden updates the concept of plants and well-being for the 21st century, and will demonstrate how wild plants have been of benefit to all life throughout history. Although mediaeval gardeners favoured a geometric structure, our garden will have a wilder, softer planting scheme to encourage the pollinators and natural predators we need for our shared ecosystems.

“The structure allows gardeners to access every part of the border with ease and a small water feature offers a crucial haven for amphibians and insects. We feel gardens should be beneficial to all life. The students’ starting point was from research into the apothecaries' gardens of the medieval era and beyond.  They were also inspired by Shakespeare’s writing where he alludes to the four humours and their impact on our well-being. These humours were thought to be connected to different parts of the body; to the four elements of earth, water, fire and air; and even to the movements of the stars in the sky. We wanted to convey this visually with our border design, planting choice and colour palette.”


You can contribute to the Poetry Pharmacy’s Physic Garden project here



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