Join Dr Nicolette Perry from Dilston Physic Garden who is giving a FREE talk on ‘Nutraceuticals – Plants with Benefits’ for Heritage Open Days Edible England. The dates are Sun 12th Sept at Hexham Old Gaol and Sat 18th Sept at Hexham’s Moot Hall at 11am on both dates. Tickets are free with limited numbers – collect from Cogito Books on St Mary’s Chare, Hexham (and check out their ‘Edible England- themed window while you are there!).
Junior Herbalist Club is a brand new venture. It’s taking place with the support of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH). The aim of Junior Herbalist Club (JHC) is to let children learn about the healing and medicinal plants all around them in a safe and supervised environment – in this case, Dilston Physic Garden!
JHC meets at Dilston Physic Garden once a month from September to July and is led by NIMH medical herbalist Davina Hopkinson.
The children’s learning will include
- Identification of common herbs growing all around them
- Safety – which herbs are safe to use and which are poisonous
- Folklore – taught through stories and songs
- How to grow and harvest herbs
- Medicinal uses of common herbs
- How to use a variety of common herbs for first aid
- How to make a variety of herbal preparations to keep and take home
- Respect for all plants and their environment
By the end of the year, the children will be able to
- Correctly identify many common medicinal plants growing in their gardens, parks, hedgerows and streets and distinguish between poisonous and non-poisonous plants
- Know the medicinal properties of many common plants
- Understand how to use some of these plants in first aid and how to use some plants for making medicines
- Enjoy listening to the stories and tales of folklore and history surrounding the plants and plant medicine
- Know how to cultivate and harvest plants whilst respecting their environment and all of nature
Junior Herbalist Club meets once a month.
Ten lessons are delivered over a year from September to July. At the end of the year the children are given certificates of attendance and a badge.
Each month we focus on one particular healing plant. The children are taught how to correctly identify the plant, about the origins of the plant name (both common and botanical names) and about the plant’s habitat and life cycle. Next, we look at the history and folklore surrounding the plant. This may include storytelling, songs and funny anecdotes. We then discuss the medicinal qualities of the plant, the primary constituents responsible for the healing activity, and the uses for the plant, both internally and externally. Children are encouraged to participate in the discussion, adding their own ideas and thoughts.
The children are also given a worksheet after each session to be completed before the next meeting. This helps them to remember what we have learnt and acts as their own portfolio of medicinal plant learning. JHC has been planned so that each month the children build on their knowledge and skills. We start off with lavender – a well-known and easily identifiable plant and make lavender bags and lavender-scented sugar and progress on to making sun-teas, infused oils, poultices, cordials, bath-bombs and lip balms. In the second year, the tasks become a little more complex, building on the skill set developed in the first year and include making marshmallows, syrups, lozenges, salves, creams and hydrosols.
JHC is aimed at children between the ages of 8 and 12. However, older children are welcome and children aged 7 can come but will require a parent or guardian to stay with them during the class. Parents of children over the age of 8 are welcome to stay if they wish! Please note that we are not able to provide supervision or care for siblings not registered on the JHC course. Please make sure that your child wears clothes suitable to the activities – comfortable old clothes, and shoes or boots that can get muddy, and bring a raincoat to each session as we always try to go outside, even if it’s wet.
The cost for the year is £80.00 payable in advance to secure your child’s place. This cost covers all tuition and materials. Children who attend regularly will receive an award and certificate at the end of the year.
To book your child’s place just email Davina Hopkinson email@example.com.
The Grey Lady has been seen visiting the physic garden. We are hoping she will come again most Saturdays this summer to give a Magic and Medicine tour of the physic garden. Please book a place by 1pm and meet at the garden gate at 1.30pm £2 per person.
The ghost of the 3rd Countess of Derwentwater lives in the remains of Dilston Castle on the other side of the Devil’s Water river. She will appear to tell the magic stories about medicinal plants – the herbs she looked after before her castle was demolished 250 years ago. You will hear how the magic stories of old led us to today’s medicines and you will also meet:
Ellie the Mischievous Elf
The Plague Doctor
Belladonna the Witch
The Archangel Angelica
The Devil Chaser
Kitty in the Sky
See you at the physic garden!
The Dilston of Plant Medicine is back 2021, open 5th May to 15th September – Wednesdays 12.30 to 3pm – just click the image above for more details.