By Andrew Legg, Volunteer Gardener at Dr Jenner’s House
After six months in the planning and construction the new Physic Garden has actually arrived!
Museum Manager Owen Gower says a few words about the volunteer project
A small group of volunteers were brought together to implement the project in 2015. Initially the herb beds were going to be dug into the existing lawn but after a few trial holes were excavated it became obvious that this would not be possible.
Oak sleepers were sourced and created the skeleton of the four raised beds. Twenty tonnes of topsoil was imported and the beds filled. Andrew, Vicki and Paul, with support and help from other volunteers including a group from the world of commerce, undertook this task and with Vicki researching and sourcing the herbs the project moved forward. The four beds reflect the types of ailment that Dr Jenner may have been required to treat: “Digestion”, “Coughs and Colds”, “Headaches and Restoratives” and “Wounds and Skin”.
After planting a wide selection of young plants, a mulch of four tonnes of mushroom compost was spread over the surface to retain moisture and we declared the Physic Garden ready for opening.
Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall and Councillor Liz Ashton
Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall, the author and garden designer, who has had an interest in the garden at Dr Jenner’s House for some years, very kindly agreed to formally open the garden. In early June, on a warm sunny day in the presence of staff and volunteers from Dr Jenner’s House, local councillors, business owners, fellow heritage workers and visitors, the garden was formally declared open!
Staff and volunteers from the Holst Birthplace Museum joined our celebrations
The event was made extra special as it fell during our National Volunteers’ Week celebrations. The volunteer and staff team at the Holst Birthplace Museum in Cheltenham were invited to come along for the launch and were treated to a visit to the museum (including an exclusive tour of the eighteenth-century attics). Tea and cake followed, accompanied by the delightful sounds of Class Act, a local jazz quartet, who very generously offered to perform at the launch free of charge.
Class Act provided the music
We hope that visitors to Dr Jenner’s House will benefit from this additional experience and will learn and understand how medicine was practiced in the time of Dr Jenner.