Emerson is more than just a campus. It is a living system that is embedded in many larger systems – ecological, social and spiritual. The experience that greets people here is deeply connected to the earth, to our roots in anthroposophy and to the contributions of many people over the years. In this way we see the place itself as one of our teachers.
The Emerson Estate is a Botanic Garden registered by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), as part of the BGCI/ArbNet Partnership Programme.
We have several plants of particular interest, including two ‘Champion trees’ – a Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Squarrosa Sulphurea’ which is the Britain and Ireland Champion for both girth and height, and a pandora cherry which is a East Sussex county champion for girth – the second largest in the Britain.
The Biodynamic Botanic Garden is a collaboration between Emerson College Trust and The Healing Garden, and is partnered with the Balkan Botanic Garden at Kroussia Mountains, Greece.
In our beautiful Kitchen Garden you will find beautiful flowers and fresh biodynamic produce grown to be eaten and enjoyed by our students, staff and community.
We also have an orchard where we grow our own apples and produce our own apple juice.
Our kitchen garden supplies our kitchen with fresh vegetables, salads and herbs as well as hundreds of bouquets of flowers to decorate classrooms.
What we can’t grow ourselves we source locally and organically to create our vegetarian meals.
Has been created by our partners ‘The Healing Garden’ for ‘The Healing Garden’ and Emerson College Students and visitors to enjoy. It is a wildlife haven and part of a registered botanic garden.
The garden was historically the part of the biodynamic college based here in the Rachel Carson building and before then was set up as a monastic herb garden. Kirsten Hartvig and her team from The Healing Garden have been cultivating it since 2018, working with medicinal plants, biodynamic principles and organic no-dig gardening.
The flower beds are arranged by plant family, so that it is possible to see the similarities and differences in botany between related species.
Discover hidden sculptures!
Throughout our estate, you will find many sculptures and flow forms created by our students. Our sculptures change and evolve with the seasons and the artists who create them.
The nature here provides great inspiration for artists and some of the pieces have been especially created for or inspired by a particular place within our grounds.
We often have resident artists working on campus drawn by the beautiful light and abundance of wildlife that can be found here.
The Emerson College Estate supports a supports huge biodiversity with many different species of plants and trees. It has been tended Biodynamically for over 60 years, without the use of pesticides, using using methods of cultivation designed to bring vitality and nourishment to the earth, supporting and celebrating the nature’s processes. Almost everyone who comes to study or visit recognises the special quality which this care and attention brings to the learning environment.
All of our gardens are Demeter Certified and we are one of the first Biodynamic Botanic Gardens in the UK. Our Vegetable Garden provides fresh vegetables to our kitchen providing soil to table nourishment for our guests. We have an onsite apothecary garden created by our land partners, The Healing Garden, where many species of medicinal herbs and plants are preserved and cultivated.
Our campus is host to a wealth of initiatives including our Biodynamic Botanical Garden (the first of it’s kind), The Foundation for Water, Emerson Vegetable Garden, Robin’s Nest Kindergarten, Acorn Art Studios and The Singing Forest Choir. At any time you will find artists in residence working in our studios, regular storytelling performances and many other events and activities to enjoy.
‘Emerson’s uniqueness expresses itself in the l the spirit of the place, a location where people feel met, and are given space to become and be themselves, to bring out their personal potential, in the encounter with fellow students, teachers and staff. This element of encounter, with its joys and challenges, makes possible a centre for the ‘modern mysteries’.’
‘Fantastic food prepared from fresh ingredients – cooked with such love that I can taste it.’
The landscape of Emerson is enchanting. I adored it and will return. I loved also the buildings, sitting on the grass, by the flower beds, as a place to relax and recharge.
The result of our staff retreat was a deep bonding between staff and we also found many creative solutions which will shape our future vision and work. We have had a truly meaningful and fun stay with you and want to come back next year.
We come every year to Emerson for our tutors’ colloquium. There is no other place where we can work and exchange about contemplative teaching methods in such a meaningful way. You provide us with an environment that fosters our spiritual work.
‘It is filled with hugely relevant and meaningful content which would be helpful in any sphere of life. It has nurtured growth and development both in myself and enabled me to go back into my community and bring something of the shared and learned experience to my work.’
“It is exciting to be setting the spiritual foundation of the human being alongside the latest psychological and neurological research.”
‘I have learned to understand aspects of mental health in a completely new way.This has enlivened and enriched my professional life.’