This summer, a collective of designers and growers known as Wayward Plants, has transformed a neglected corner of Southwark, London into a bustling urban physic garden. The garden is organized into 4 wards (Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Cardiology, Psychiatry) and features a long list of medicinal plants. The Urban Physic Garden is open to the public and is designed to be a place of research, experimentation, and learning. Ongoing events feature health practitioners and botanists from a diverse range of backgrounds, tours, workshops, and film screenings.
The area of Southwark around the garden has a long history as a center for caring for London’s sick and poor – from Southwark Cathedral and the Old Operating Theatre to St. Thomas and Guy’s Hospitals. The garden will serve as a case study for emerging plans to create a physic garden in one of the historic quads at the Guy’s campus of King’s College. Plans for a garden are part of proposals to develop public access to King’s Museum of Life Sciences, which is housed on the Guy’s campus.
Excitement is building and the project has attracted the attention of a wide range of public figures, from the Mayor Boris Johnson to south London’s foremost Guerrilla Gardener, Richard Reynolds. The Urban Physic Garden is one of the Mayor of London’s Capital Growth spaces – one of 900 fabulous garden and food plots across London, being tended by around 35,000 people.