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  • Sarah Catnach

Building connection and wellbeing through community herb gardening

Community herb gardening is a key pillar of our work at Movement in Thyme. We use herbs a lot in our medicine and remedy making and when we were kindly offered some garden space at Tir Na Nog Holistic Centre near Drymen, we jumped at the chance to be able to grow some of the herbs we use regularly ourselves and to make the important processes of planting, growing, harvesting, processing, and learning more about herbs and their uses, part of our wider community engagement.

But growing our own herbs for use in our products is only one benefit of this offering. Having a community growing space enables us to do so much more.


Tackling social isolation. Our weekly volunteer sessions are a chance for people from all walks of life to come together, providing opportunities for inter-generational and cross cultural connection. Sharing space, working together, learning from and about each other are gentle but hugely powerful ways to build connection, relationships and community.

Green gym. Gardening is great exercise! A couple of hours of digging, weeding, lifting, reaching and squatting will get your heart pumping and your body moving, helping build strength and stamina. And all in the fresh air of the great outdoors.

Improved mental wellbeing. It is well documented that getting out in nature is a powerful way to improve mental wellbeing. Getting our hands dirty is literally grounding. Increased exposure to sunlight (even on cloudy days!) can increase the brain's release of the serotonin hormone which elevates our mood and brings about a sense of calm and focus. Regular nature connection can really benefit those who experience anxiety and depression.

Education and learning. Everyone who comes to the garden brings with them their own personal wealth of knowledge and skills in so many different areas, whether garden related or not. We're also lucky to have a resident gardening expert and herbalist on site every Monday. Gardening as a community gives us time to share, learn and plan together, share skills, ask questions and everyone takes something new away each time we meet.

Sustainable and environmentally friendly. A community herb garden allows us to grow what we need in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way, using traditional growing and permaculture methods. We utilse food waste from the on site cafe and even the resident horse's manure! Nothing goes to waste and everything we build, from raised beds, to seating, to signage, is made from recycled or upcycled products.


Over the last few weeks we've been busy clearing and preparing the growing spaces and planting herbs and trees including; echinacea, arnica, fennel, caraway, st johns wort, thyme, sage, chamomile, nettle, solomans seal, elder, hazel, witch hazel, hyssop, California poppy, comfrey, tansy, catmint, calendula, bay, sweet violet, crab apple, dogwood, sweet cicely, lavender, rosemary, wood betony, burdock, horehound, skullcap, woad and dyers chamomile.

Community Garden Workshops

We are delighted we're now ready to start inviting groups to the garden to take part in workshops with us and we're so excited to be welcoming our first two groups to the garden next week. Sessions can include activities like planting and tending to the garden, a fire circle with herbal tea blending (and drinking!) and whittling sticks for marshmallow toasting, hapazoming, mindfulness and natural jewelry making.

If you are connected to a community group supporting refugees and asylum seekers, vulnerable young people, elderly people, people with disabilities, or anyone else experiencing marginalisation or isolation please get in touch to find out more about arranging a workshop with us.

Sarah Catnach is a Director and Facilitator for Movement in Thyme, specialising in movement and mindfulness.

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