Thank you for joining us at the Urban Physic Garden!
Together with nearly 200 volunteers, Wayward Plants transformed a derelict site in Southwark, SE1 into pop-up garden shaped by the hospital and pharmacy, with a focus on medicinal plants and herbs that heal. The first iteration of the garden was open in the Summer of 2011 – and now all thousands of plants have been distributed to community spaces in the local area.
The Urban Physic Garden is currently touring Asia with the British Council.
What’s a physic garden?
A physic garden is a place where plants with medicinal properties grow. For thousands of years people have been using plants to cure all kinds of ills. London’s first physic garden opened in 1673 – an enchanting walled garden in Chelsea where the city’s apothecaries tended exotic species from around the world. The garden then stretched right down to Thames, and both students and botanical curiosities would arrive by boat. Still open, it’s been a green-fingered physician’s dream for over 300 years.
Magic meets medicine
While physic gardens are steeped in much wonderful myth and legend, botany is also incredibly important to modern medicine. The latest and most cutting edge cancer drugs are derived from plants. A physic garden brings an array of healing herbs into one potent place and becomes a space for learning, research and experimentation. A physic garden is also a valuable way of conserving rare and endangered species.
People as well as plants
People are as important as plants in a physic garden. This summer in the Urban Physic Garden hosts festival of talks, workshops, film screenings and events! The garden provides a platform for artists, designers, gardeners and health practitioners from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures. It is a place for lively debate – an outside space where a range of people can come together to explore the role of plants in science, health, well-being and the environment.
The Urban Physic Garden is a work in progress. If you have some free time, and would like to get your hands dirty helping out, sign up to volunteer. We’ll be running a series of workshops throughout the month where you can get involved while learning new skills. You can also help out by pledging a plant, as this garden will be built with plants grown throughout the back gardens and windowsills of the local community.