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
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.