The last couple early evenings have been difficult for photography here in sunny Vancouver–bright sun and blue skies tend to produce photographs that are high in contrast. The end result is that the shadows in the photograph tend to be too dark (like in this photograph) and the brights and whites are oversaturated (which you can notice an example of in the plinth). Still, I’ve photographed much worse than this, and I find the photograph pleasing enough to inspire me to try again when the light is better, so there you go. Maybe if I improve upon it, I’ll post a follow-up someday.
Anyway, this is the Physic Garden at UBC. It’s one of the smaller gardens, built around the theme of medieval and Renaissance European medicinals. Along the European theme, it is also the most formal garden with its brick-lined paths, yew hedge, small beds, and physical structure centrepiece (in this case, the plinth and sundial).
Although there are a number of display labels and a few signs, this garden is a candidate for even more interpretation–the plants span the history of Western medicine prior to the 20th century, and you can only imagine how much was written about them (both correct and incorrect). For example, one of the tenets previously believed by practitioners of medicine was the “Doctrine of Signatures“–the belief that the physical appearance of the plant was a hint as to its utility for healing people.