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The Garden /

Physic Garden

'a botanic garden devoted to the cultivation and display of medicinal plants'

Our new garden development highlights the impact that horticulture has had on the well being and mental health of people, in particular the measurable impact on active life style, mental wellbeing and social interaction.

“I like nothing more than to seek out the peace and greenery of my garden in order to relax and unwind.”


The total hip sculpture is in commemoration of Mr John P. Thackray, OBE, and the family company Chas. F. Thackray, Leeds (1903-1990) – a world leader in innovative development of  the total hip joint replacement in co-operation with Sir John Charnley.

Together, they pioneered the development of both the acetabular cup and prosthesis, and over 500,000 hip joints being fitted to patients worldwide, to relieve the misery of arthritis and subsequent bone damage.  The joint became the world standard in low friction arthroplasty.


The garden is laid out around a central stainless steel rill with statuary features representing the Thackray/Charnley hip joint, surrounded by garden areas displaying medicinal plants and describing their uses from the earliest monastic gardens to the present day.

At the head of the rill is a stainless steel water wall, screen printed with stove enamelled images illustrating a selection of the surgical implements as manufactured by Chas. F. Thackray .  The rill flows under a section of porcelain paving inlaid with the motif of the Low Friction Society and continues through beds planted with herbs and Yew topiary domes to a water feature in the form of the upturned acetabular cup and femoral head of a hip joint.

Water flows from the bowl of the acetabular cup over a wide stainless steel skirt, cascading into a central pool. The femoral head, a heavy stainless steel sphere, floats in the centre of the bowl and conveys the principle of Low Friction Torque, upon which the total hip replacement was designed.

Extending on from the central pool, the rill disappears under a deck at the end of which is a raised bed featuring a large stainless steel sculptural interpretation of a hip joint and finally the water falls into a corten steel pool representing the recycling of materials from where it is pumped back to the water wall.


The story begins with Hildegard’s Garden where plants are grown as described by the 11C abbess, Hildegard of Bingen in her book ‘Physica’, written between 1150 to 1158. Plants are grown in beds according to the parts of the body and the ailments that they would treat.

Two adjacent beds of parasol Lime trees provide balance to the sheltered seating areas at the far end of the garden and also shade for woodland plants used in herbal medicine past and present.

At the centre of the Physic garden are the contemporary medicinal beds surrounded by slatted screening with amber glass apothecary bottles, referring to the chemist shop on George Street in Leeds where Mr Thackray’s grandfather started the family business.

The beds are split into 10 categories relating to different medical conditions. They contain plants used in the modern pharmaceutical industry as well as those used in modern herbal medicine. There are also two beds containing plants used to make soothing infusions and essential oils.

Either side of the deck are the information buildings. On one side the plans of the medicinal beds are displayed and the benefits and uses of the plants are described.  The other tells the story of the development of Charles F Thackray Limited and their work with Sir John Charnley in the design and manufacture of the Thackray/Charnley hip joint.



Aqualens and Drive

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