Press Release

23 July 2014

Canterbury Christ Church University is celebrating the 25th anniversary of educating Allied Health Professions aligned with the formal opening of the University's Physic Garden.

The Physic Garden, physic meaning the art or science of medicine, will further enhance and strengthen the values that the University is proud to have surrounding biodiversity and maintaining sustainable development and heritage. The garden is part of the University’s Bioversity initiative in collaboration between the Faculty of Health and Social Care and the Faculty of Geographical and Life Sciences.

Tom Hart Dyke formally opening the Physic Garden
Tom Hart Dyke formally opening the Physic Garden

Occupational Therapy at Christ Church was the first degree programme in the country and followed by Diagnostic Radiography shortly after. Now, in 2014, the University offers programmes including Paramedics, Operating Department Practice, Speech and Language Therapy and some of the Arts Therapies.

Tom Hart Dyke, Plant Hunter and Broadcaster cut the ribbon for the formal opening of the garden and gave a talk about his planting exploits. Tom was kidnapped in the Colombian jungle on a plant hunting expedition in 2000, detailed in The Cloud Garden, the book co-authored with Paul Winder. His idea for a World Garden, created in captivity, is created at Lullingstone Castle, around 50 miles west of Canterbury.

Tom Hart Dyke and Professor Kate Springett
Tom Hart Dyke and Professor Kate Springett

Professor Kate Springett, Head of Allied Health Professions at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “The Allied Health Professions are at the heart of health and social care, working separately and together with other professions, we can make such a difference to peoples’ lives. 

“Sustainability in health and care is crucial for wellbeing, and plants are key to sustainability and health, whether improving the general environment or for their herbal and medicinal value. We were delighted that Tom could help us celebrate and we thank him for donating the Lullingstone Lavender.”

The Physic Garden is located next to the Johnson building, which was originally commissioned to house the Allied Health Programmes and was opened by Princess Anne on 21st November 1991.

A significant variety of plants ranging from Mentha x piperita, commonly known as peppermint and associated with treating nausea, stomach cramps and liver problems, to Salix alba, known as the Willow tree which has been previously used to relieve pain and act as an anti-inflammatory, can be found growing in the garden. Each plant is situated next to a QR code which allows staff and students to access information about its uses in medicine.

Professor Peter Vujakovic, Head of Geographical and Life Sciences at Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “Our Bioversity initiative is a project that nurtures Canterbury’s rich cultural history through stewardship of our green spaces as part of the Canterbury UNESCO World Heritage Site.

“The site contains a number of habitat types ranging from an orchard, with local varieties of apples and Kentish cob nuts, to wildflower banks, as well as the Physic Garden, with its collection of medicinal herbs.

“The project seeks to develop a coherent 'sense of place' based on our heritage as a monastic site and centre of learning since the sixth century.”

Notes to Editor

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2013 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2012/13 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey

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Last edited: 05/12/2017 04:31:00