St Peter's Church in Bristol

We were recently in Bristol for the morning and came across this hidden gem, not a stones throw from the train station. Just beside the river is the remains of a the fire bombed, St Peter's, destroyed in the Second World War it was left as a monument to those civilians that died in the Bristol Blitz. As we read a complete and humbling list of the dead on the wall of the church, we realise again, as we did in the Wartime Garden, how much was owed to those left on the home front. How the two wars of the twentieth century has shaped the world we live in today and why we cannot go back to another global conflict or we have failed millions that fell silent before their time. Yet, in this quiet and reflective space we found life at it's best and most vivid. Here was a thriving community garden and readily used park surrounding it full of families, students, shoppers, the homeless, commuters and tourists. We're not being glib about the homeless, neither will we leave them off the list, they were there, enjoying the peace and the sunshine, living complex lives like us all. It was quite a feat to get the photos we did get as the gardens and park were full.

St Peter's, Churches, Bristol, Blitz

What comes as a massive surprise to us as we rounded the corner by a bed full of angelica - this reminded us to actually order our seeds, which we have, and now we can have it back in our garden once more - was a garden based to some extent on a mix of cloister, medieval and parterre design. You can see the cloister effect in the walled nature of the garden, bordered by the church and monument to a dead poet and the use of rose, herbs and flowers to symbolise peace and reflection but the beds are tiny in comparison to what you may have found in the cloister garden. There are no shaded areas or trained fruit/climbers over arches for peace and reflection; no water either beyond the hoses - they haven't the room so the parterre comes in through use of height via permanent structures that bring in height even in winter. Back to those beds you could reach by hand on either side and there is the medieval physic garden, found in church and home. The square patch gardening and the planting reflects this with culinary and medicinal herbs.

physic gardens, gardening, bristol

This is confirmed by the fact that this is indeed a physic garden.



It's the daffodils and tulips that are the champions in the garden at the moment but it would be lovely to see it at the height of summer. If you live there, please do share any photos this summer of the physic garden via our Facebook page or email us with them.


We're not going to go all garden designer with you here but we do want to say one thing, isn't symmetry captivating? See below, don't you just want to run down the middle? Little D did, pretending he was a plane, which wasn't very peaceful or right in an area destroyed by bombers. Oh well, red faced and muttering we'll continue to enjoy the broken peace.

bristol castle physic garden

peaceful, symmetry, gardening

It's always good to visit public gardens, community gardens and private gardens, even if it's only to break the silence with a small, inappropriate child. Such gardens show the ingenuity and passion that people have for growing. There is an argument in Horticulture that we should have more young people (we have contributed one but suspect that gardening want to give him back) in it but like Radio Four, everyone comes to it in their own time. Gardens like this reflect the vast differences in ages, backgrounds and abilities of the volunteers who work here. St Mungo's tends these gardens, and for one, we are glad that the sense of peace that pervades the church extends into the physic garden. We should all fight to keep our green and public spaces, these are were communities thrive.



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