A living, breathing and growing classroom has been recreated at the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences when the revamped Medicinal Gardens was launched last week.
The Medicinal Gardens, a partnership with Johannesburg City Parks, was revamped and expanded in celebration of 100 years in excellence in Health Sciences. According to various sources, the Medical School started in the Tin Temple in Plein Street, Braamfontein in 1912 with the teaching of Medical and Basic Sciences, which was incorporated into the University of the Witwatersrand when it was inaugurated in 1922.
Johannesburg City Parks agreed to upgrade the Medicinal Gardens and to plant trees on the Medical Campus, a partnership which aims to develop a greener environment for present and future generations and enforces the idea of medicinal plants as an important aspect of the daily lives of many South Africans.
More than 700 bags of soil were used for the project The existing plants were carefully lifted, the soil treated and the plants replanted in clusters. The garden now contains more than 400 plants spanning more than 40 species, which are individually labeled as well.
In addition, Johannesburg City Parks undertook to treat the oak trees in the Medical School parking area to ensure that the aphid liquids does not spray on surrounding property as well as to maintain the gardens in the future.
Two trees were also planted at the entrance to the Medical School – a Jacket Plum tree, the 2011 tree of the year, which will grow about three to four metres high bearing berries and attracting birds; and a Pompom tree, which will bear striking pink flowers and attract insect life such as butterflies.
Speakers at the launch included Prof. Rob Moore, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Advancement and Partnerships at Wits; Prof. Ahmed Wadee, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Theresa van der Merwe, whip of the section 79 committee for community development; and Patsy Vegeer, member of the Indigenous Plants Guild.
Listen to the speeches here.