Botanist in Residence

We are honoured to welcome Dr. Anne Pickering as our Botanist in Residence.

Anne is one of the Friends of the Garden, and her extensive skills are very much in tune with its ethos – a researcher, artist, tutor, hen house builder and motorcycle mechanic, we can call on Anne in almost any eventuality!

Anne studied Botany at Manchester, Horticulture at Bath and went on to present her Ph.D thesis on ‘The value of Botanic Gardens in Conservation and Recreation’ at The University of Newcastle. Anne was Director of Moor Bank Botanic garden for 20 years. During that time, she was a member of the Medicinal Plant Research Group,  undertaking collaborative research on the use of plants to improve memory. A number of her peer-reviewed articles on the antioxidant properties of plants has been published.

Anne’s botanical researches have taken her to Nigeria, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Pemba, Jamaica and Zambia, where she has served in a professional capacity for a variety of organisations, from governmental to the third sector. Closer to home, Anne enjoyed her time as research botanist for the Distillers Company based in Clackmannanshire.

In her personal life, Anne is an accomplished artist, illustrator and photographer, having exhibited in a number of galleries and holding three successful exhibitions of landscape art and plant watercolours. Her website can be visited here http://www.annepickeringart.co.uk

dilston_physic_garden_TWDA-9556-Edit

 

Following a successful Imbolc gathering, the Northumbrian Grove of Bards, Ovates and Druids invite you to join them in their Spring Equinox ceremony in the Physic Garden on Sunday 10th March 10:30am – 1:30pm.
At the Spring Equinox, day and night are once again equal and balanced. The sun rises due east, symbolising renewal.
As we greet the rising sun on the first morning of Spring, we will celebrate the mystery and miracle of birth and rebirth.
The event is free, but donations are welcome to cover costs.
Please bring an edible contribution for a shared vegetarian lunch.

Schedule – 10:30am Meet & Greet. 11:00am Discussion & Preparation. 12 noon Ceremony. 1pm Bring and share vegetarian buffet lunch. 1:30pm Farewell and merry part (until our next gathering!)
For information, and to register your interest, email celticspiritualitygroup@yahoogroups.com or phone 07792 606273
This event is independently facilitated by the Northumbrian Grove of Druids, Bards and Ovates. For more info, please click here

RESIDENCY: Plant Historian & Folklorist in Residence

Aconitum © Rachel Singleton

Aconitum © Rachel Singleton

History, Uses and Beliefs of Plants grown at Dilston Physic Garden.

Between April and September 2016, we are delighted to welcome Dr Marie Addyman, plant and garden historian. Marie will be working at the Physic Garden to explore the beliefs, uses, history, nomenclature and folklore of selected plants grown at Dilston.  These will include plants both familiar and unfamiliar, both wild and cultivated.  Marie will ask when certain plants came into cultivation in this country, how they acquired the names they have and why certain beliefs have accrued around them.

Marie’s residency will focus on identifying folkloric and magical information, examining the extent to which old ideas were sometimes different from, and sometimes consistent with, a plant’s modern use.  For example, St John’s Wort was believed to be an exorciser of demons, which we might want to read as a metaphor for depression; it is now used to help treat this condition. The information Marie gathers will be incorporated onto the Physic Garden information signboards and used in any Physic Garden associated publications; for example, see our Kindle ‘Herbal High’ Book In Pursuit of Herbal Happiness http://www.amazon.co.uk/TALES-FROM-PSYCHIC-GARDEN-HAPPINESS-ebook/dp/B00OABYVQE)

Many plants are particularly associated with specific festivals and times of the year, so Marie is running 4 seasonal workshops (Easter, Midsummer, Harvest Time and Christmas), providing the opportunity for us to learn more about this fascinating subject as we make discoveries with her during this residency.

Dr Marie Addyman is a plant historian and folklorist who has worked for many years on the history, names, beliefs and uses of some of our wild and garden plants. She specializes particularly in the late mediaeval period and also on Tudor England, and is an authority on the writings of William Turner, the Morpeth-born Tudor physician.

Workshops on the History, Uses, Beliefs & Folklore of Seasonal Plants Grown at Dilston Physic Garden

with Dr Marie Addyman.

These workshops will explore how many plants from the fields, the hedgerows and the garden were associated with specific seasons and festivals.

Saturday 23rd April: ‘Lenten is come with love to town’: the sap rises at Easter and in the Spring.

Wednesday 29th June: the dangerous and magical spirits of Midsummer.

Wednesday September 7th: Harvest home: gathering the products of  field and wood.

Saturday December 3rd: the midwinter spirits: Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe.

Sessions are held at Dilston Physic Garden between 2 – 4pm.

£7.50 each.  Tea/ coffee provided.

To book, please email Marie cangrande14@btinternet.com

 

An invitation from the Northumbrian Grove of Bards, Ovates and Druids to join them in their Imbolc ceremony at Dilston Physic Garden on Saturday 6 February, 3 – 6 pm.

November & December at Dilston Physic Garden

Visitors at the Bamboo AvenueFour more workshops this year.  And we need your help – please fill in a survey!

Though officially closed for the season, we are still open for group visits by appointment.  The physic garden re-opens to the public on Wednesday April 13th 2016.

 

SURVEY

Win a free trip to Dilston Physic Garden!

Newcastle University are conducting research on how herbs are being used for health. They need as many people as possible to participate in a survey online and would love your response. Upon completing the survey you can enter a prize draw. To access the survey please go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/useofherbalmedicine

 

WORKSHOPS

EXPLORING DRUIDCRAFT Explore nature based spirituality SUNDAY 1st NOVEMBER

10am-4pm E. celticspiritualitygroup@yahoogroups.com   T. 07792 606273

ROOTS MEDICINE Discover the healing power of autumn plant roots SATURDAY 7TH NOVEMBER

10am-4pm E. jill.schnabel@btninternet.com

ASTRONOMY INTRODUCTION WITH KIELDER OBSERVATORY FRIDAY 4THDECEMBER     7pm-10.30pm E. gary@kielderobservatory.org

CHRISTMAS WREATH MAKING COURSE Make your own festive wreath SATURDAY 5th DECEMBER 11am-3pm E. emckenna2012@yahoo.co.uk T. 01661 611600

Simply book your place with the above contacts.  Visit our Workshop page for more details.

Come and Meet our St John’s Wort Serpent

Our wondrous St John’s Wort Serpent has just arrived.  Hypericum perforatum is a plant with holes in its leaves.  It acquired its common English name, St John’ s wort (SJW), as it flowers in midsummer (this Sunday) on the day of John the Baptist.  So it is truly a holy plant!  The ancients believed the plant would exorcise the devil – that was the metaphor used when people felt depressed – they thought they were possessed.  So the old story of the magic has kept the medicinal use of the plant going all these years up to modern times when SJW is used as an antidepressant herbal medicine.

SJW is used clinically in modern botanical medicine today in the UK to treat depression. There are many clinical trials indicating it as effective as antidepressant drugs like prozac for mild to moderate depression, but without the side-effects.  A recent review suggests it “has a very favourable safety profile, with adverse event rates on the same level as placebo and lower than that of synthetic antidepressants, in randomised controlled trials. It may therefore also be an option for patients who do not tolerate other antidepressant drugs. Patients with polydrug treatment should nevertheless use the drug with caution, due to its potential for interactions.”

The new sculpture thus represents that fascinating bridge between magic and medicine. It is made by our sculptor in residence, John Rutherford.

We are always open to suggestions for new outdoor artworks, and artists.  The next may be an image of a plant that has given us a modern drug, like the foxglove, willow or opium poppy.  If people had isolated and identified a single potent chemical from SJW – which they haven’t yet, only a variety of partly active ones – the plant might have provided a new and safer antidepressant drug.

The Dilston Physic Garden exists to spread the word on such great plant potentials for new, safe and effective therapies.

 

Two New Booklets for Sale by our Curator Brain Booster Herbs

TALES FROM A PSYCHIC GARDEN :

STRESS-LESS HERBAL CHILL PILLS and IN PURSUIT OF HERBAL HAPPINESS

 

Buy in our Botanical Shop for £5

‘In Pursuit of Herbal Happiness’ is available to buy on Kindle

Or send us your address and a cheque or BACS for £7 & we can post to you

STRESS-LESS HERBAL CHILL PILLS

As part of a Herb Spirit series, this book focuses on plants that promote calm and dispel states of anxiety. The story is about a group from the local Angst society who visit the garden to discover herbs to help them. Some think it’s Physic, others Psychic.

They are informed, according to belief, in parallel ways of down to earth science and medicine, or less tangible folklore and magic. Anti-angst herb uses are conveyed by garden advocates, such as a hermit herbalist and clinical evidence conjurer, together with an assortment of serenity sprites and neurotic animals.

The group are treated to a show in the nearby jousting grounds, allegedly as entertainment, but actually to see how an Anxio-Lytic botanical concoction performs in high stress situations. The Society’s President pursues plans to capture the heart of the garden diva while marketing this product.

This book, as for others in the series, is intended to inform readers about the powerful properties of plants for mind/brain well-being, The content is factual, as regards effects of the herbs, set in the context of an fictional narrative designed to draw the reader in. Illustrations are based on pictures from Dilston Physic garden.

Like the garden – physic or psychic – the text shape shifts between story lines (in roman type), and factual details (in italics). Readers are invited to absorb fantasy or facts as they like, but not to actually take whatever herbs they like. The story comes with a health warning – not to ingest herbs without being very sure of their identity, safety (especially in pregnancy, mixing with other medications) and dose.

Further titles for the Mind / Brain Herb Spirit Series include ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, ‘Sweet Dreams’, ‘Botanic Blues Busters’, ‘Plant Pain Killers’, ‘MedPlant Memory Matters’ and ‘Botanic Brain Booster Cook book’. Readership extends from young adults to adults of all ages.