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Hellebore Drawing

Sometimes in dull moments when there are no visitors the garden stewards find that time can go slowly.

Not so for Pauline Elkins. In spare moments she applies her drawing talents to committing plants and flowers from the Garden to paper. She usually has her sketch pad and pencil to hand and is always eager to record a huge variety of interesting subjects.

Pauline's skills are demonstrated in the charming picture of the Hellebore which she created using a large number of coloured pencils.

She is hoping to exhibit some of her work at the Autumn show of Petersfield Arts and Crafts in the Physic Garden.
Broken Urn
One May morning gardeners were greeted by this sad sight. An urn which had stood by the back gate for many years was found shattered with no known explanation. The urn which was a gift to the Garden was made by Whichford Pottery and was a copy of that designed for the National Trust for Ham House near London. It was based on existing stone gate finials dating from about 1680 and was the sort of exuberant design which would have been appearing in English gardens at the time.
The tale thankfully has a happy ending as the Physic Garden is fortunate in having a very gifted volunteer in Paul who was able to collect all the broken pieces together and restore the urn to its former state.
Family Fun Day
On Bank Holiday Monday the Physic Garden was full of happiness and children like never before. In brilliant sunshine, outdoor entertainments filled the Garden. Under the direction of Vicki (art), Dawn (spontaneous storytelling) and Louise (plants) the children enjoyed collaborative drawing, mini mysteries and simple gardening including the search for scented herbs.
Collabrative drawing - Creation of a beautiful garden
Concentrating on potting up a Lavender cutting
Sticking coloured leaves to the Spring Tree
Visit of Bidbury Mead WI
The pictures show members of the  Bidbury Mead WI, who were given a guided tour of the Garden by Garden Manager, Jenny Hill.They were shown many of the herbs grown in the Garden and told of the ways in which they were used medicinally in the 17th Century.Stories of the associated myths and folk lore also entertained the group.
New Tree

Visitors to the Physic Garden recently may have noticed a new tree had been planted alongside the bench on the East Wall.This is a Liquidambar tree and is a gift from the Twiddy family. It has been planted by Sue and Alan in memory of their son George who spent many happy hours in the garden.
Liquidamber styraciflua
Liquidamber is a deciduous tree which is native to warm temperatures of North and Central America. It was so named by Linnaeus because of the tree's fragrant gum which exudes from the bark of the tree when wounded. The species was introduced to England by John Banister in 1681 and planted in the palace gardens in Fulham. It is a popular ornamental tree cultivated for its distinctive foliage and intense autumn colours.

Veg Plot

Encouraged by a little warmth and some late Spring sunshine our vegetables are starting to grow. Here the broad beans are sprouting under the support of traditional birch pea-sticks. The tall plant in the background is a Globe Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) which will produce its thistle-like flower heads later in the year.
Hidden Rocks
The Physic Garden is still proving to be a popular spot to find and hide Hidden Rocks. This was proved by Isla who found two very attractive stones and is now faced with the job of hiding them to be found by another pebble seeker.
The craze for Hidden Rocks certainly continues. It is a simple idea, get a pebble, paint it and hide it, and possibly leave a hint on Facebook so that others can find it. Finders then have the choice of either keeping the rock or moving it somewhere else.They may also share their finds on social media.
Rocks are left in a variety of places, woodlands, parks, hidden paths and many have been left and found in Petersfield.
Stripping the Willow
Willow Support for young Woad Plants
Joy with Jenny, garden manager , at work
On a very wet day the volunteer gardeners found a job that enabled them to seek legimate shelter! Here they are preparing the slender pliable willow branches for use as support for the tall herbs. The outer bark, the living part of the willow is stripped before the supports are stuck into the ground.This prevents them from rooting and then shooting which they would do very easily.

Normally hazel would be used, as in the seventeenth century but it was in short supply this year. Willow did not in fact reach England until 1734.
Recipe for a Happy Hotbin
Garden manager Jenny Hill thinks that the Hotbins are not being used to their full potential as low temperatures and worms have been detected. Melanie has therefore written new guidelines to improve performance. Hotbins rely on bacterial systems that produce high temperatures to promote maximum bacterial activity and should be at around 50'C at all times. They require mixed waste and should be added in the proportion of one part full of weeds, twigs, leaves or grass cuttings to 1/2 trug of food waste, torn paper and card and1/4 trug of woodchip.
All the bins are being emptied and are to be monitored using the new guidelines.
Spring is on the way and Philip has plans for the vegetable garden.

Drawing at the Physic Garden    
Under the auspicies and encouragement of Vicki Ostersen aspiring young artists have been busy in the exhibition room of the Physic Garden during their half term holiday. On day one of the three day course, the class of 8-10 year olds were given pencils (and rubbers!) and objects from the world of nature to copy. They have been working both individually and colaboratively and two examples of their individual effects are shown here.
Projects for 2018  
Renewal of the Pathways
It is proposed to renew the gravel pthways throughout the Garden. This job was last completed in 2002 and wear and tear is starting to show especially after the heavy winter rains. Special attention will be applied to the drainage and the materiel used to make a suitable durable surface.
Extension of the Office
It is hoped to explore further the possibilities of extending the office in order to develop a bespoke visitor centre.
Volunteers' Lunch
As a thank you for all the hard work provided by the numerous volunteers an anonymous wellwisher, with the help of the Physic Garden committee, organised a luncheon party to bring cheer on a cold January day. Thirty of the volunteers attended, these included gardeners, wardens and other helpers.
They were rewarded with a delicious two course hot meal and wine. Non-chairperson, Colin Mattingly gave a brief address of welcome and thanks and said how essential the voluteers were to The Garden which had very limited means of raising income.
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