The garden at the front of the clinic is a delightful place to look around when you come for an appointment – especially if you are a plants-man or keen gardener. If the weather is clement, then you can use the garden as a waiting room, and if family or friends have made the journey with you, they may prefer to sit in the garden rather than wait in the car whilst you have your consultation.
A permaculture woodland garden
The clinic garden is a small plot, surrounded on two sides by the drive, and backed with a fence and log-shed. The planting is a mixture of useful, beautiful, medical and edible plants. These grow in a layered woodland setting, creating a permanent naturalistic planting, where each plant thrives in its natural ecological context: The tree layer of this miniature woodland consists of a single edible cherry – the white blossom above. The under-story is made up of a range of soft fruit bushed such as gooseberry and currents. The woodland ground-cover includes culinary and medical herbs, bulbs, and ornamental plants. The woodland edge is represented by the fences in the foreground, where apple trees are trained on wires.
The ecological principles behind permaculture have many parallels with my approach to natural health care. To me, and an increasing number of functional medicine doctors, disease can be seen as the body failing to deal with it’s environment. Stress, diet, environmental toxins – all can reduce the body’s ability to heal itself. A large part of my work is identifying where organ systems are struggling or functioning sub-optimally, then providing the environment – food, herbs, supplements – that allow the body to heal itself.
(Lung Wort and Yellow Fumitory, with a scattering of June-drop apples)