Our Garden at Erasmus Darwin House is a joy to wander through or sit in at any time of the year. Captivating scents of herbs and roses accost you, especially on a beautiful sunny day, and you can wonder at the huge variety of plants and herbs on show, all with a history behind them. The gardens are formally divided into Mrs. Darwin’s culinary herb garden and Dr Darwin’s medicinal herb garden and all plants are clearly labelled with both common and botanical names. All of this is only made possible by the unceasing commitment and botanical knowledge of our garden volunteers.
A leaflet is available which tells the story of the garden and lists the herbs growing there. There are copies available to read and return in the garden and copies can be purchased from the reception desk for a small charge.
For our younger visitors there is the ‘Herb Garden Explorer Trail’, which is available from reception ( there is a small charge, with a prize upon completion).
An ‘A’ board in the walkway through the garden gives you interesting facts of our Plant of the Month.
We also make use of our garden as a useful resource for visiting school groups and for our science workshops for children.
Guided Tours of our Garden
Group tours of the garden can be arranged by contacting the office at Erasmus Darwin House on 01543 306260.
During the summer we schedule tours for the public, and details of these can be found on our events page.
Got Green Fingers?
Then why not volunteer with our garden team?
Click this link if you’d like more information on becoming a Garden Volunteer
Plant of the Month
COMMON CHICORY Cichorium intybus
Also known as – blue sailors, succory and coffee weed.
Description: – When in flower, chicory has a tough, grooved hairy stem 30-60cm tall. The leaves are stalked, lanceolate and unlobed. Its flowers which appear from July to October are 2-4cm across and usually bright blue but rarely white or pink.
Culinary Use:- Wild chicory leaves are usually bitter. Their bitterness is appreciated in certain cuisines, such as in the Liguria and Puglia regions of Italy and also in Catalonia (Spain), in Greece and in Turkey. In Ligurian cuisine the wild chicory leaves are an ingredient of preboggion and in Greek cuisine of horta; in the Puglian region wild chicory leaves are combined with fava bean puree in the traditional local dish Fave e Cicorie Selvatiche. By cooking and discarding the water the bitterness is reduced, after which the chicory leaves may be sautéed with garlic, anchovies and other ingredients. In this form the resulting greens might be combined with pasta or accompany meat dishes. Ground root chicory has been used as a coffee substitute.
Medicinal Use:- Flower chicory has been used as a tonic, for gallstones, gastro-enteritis, sinus problems and cuts and bruises. Root chicory contains volatile oils similar to those found in the related genus Tanacetum which includes tansy and is similarly effective in eliminating intestinal worms