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Summer in the Healing Garden

Summer in the Healing Garden

The Healing Garden is a Demeter certified biodynamic and organic botanic garden located in (and around!) the Carson Building at Emerson. It focuses on local, medicinal, and food plants, herbal remedies, and sustainable living practices. Medical Herbalist and Director of the Healing Garden, Kirsten Hartvig, offers a glimpse into the garden this season:

“The height of the flower season is upon us, the bees are swarming, and as everything turns with the solstice, seeds ripen and fall, take root, make leaves, and flourish again with the turning of the seasons.

We reflect the circle of life in our Nature Cure courses where we study the human ecosystem and how it connects with nature and thrives in its natural environment. The course starts in September and follows the seasons – starting with the earth element, raw material processing, medicinal roots and digestive remedies through the autumn. In winter changing to medicinal leaves, water and hydrotherapy, waste disposal processes and detox. With spring, the season of flowers begins and we learn about volatile oils, movement, joints, muscles, the immune system, and the element of air. Then summer brings warmth and the element of fire, fruits and seeds, and we talk about growth and reproduction, herbal hormone balancers and adaptogens. If you’d like to join us on this journey through the circle of life, you can book your place here.

But the summer is also a fine time to learn to grow your own herbs, and we have a fascinating plant propagation workshop lined up on Sunday the 30 June. It is led by two master propagators – Chris Jenkins and Sam Halliday. Chris is a horticulturist and propagation supervisor at Wakehurst Place, and Sam is the Healing Garden gardener, responsible for growing the hundreds of species of medicinal plants we have in the garden plant sale. The two of them have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share, and they will show you a range of propagation tricks and techniques. See more and book your place here.

And, if biodynamics, spagyrics and alchemy are topics you’d like to know more about, Dr Jonathan Code is running a weekend workshop on those themes on the 20-21 July. In biodynamics, the farm or garden is seen as a living organism with its own individuality, and the biodynamic philosophy is related to the principles and practice of plant alchemy. Jonathan is a lecturer in the Faculty for Environment and Transdisciplinary Studies at the Crossfields Institute, and he has studied holistic approaches to agroecology for over 20 years. Book your place on Jonathan’s course here.

Of course, our monthly herb walks with medical herbalist Kirsten Hartvig carry on through the summer too: the next one is on Sunday the 7th July, and there is one in August too, on the 25th. The walks take around 2 hours at a slow pace, and we look at 16 different medicinal plants every time and talk about them in detail. See more and book your place here.

The autumn also brings a series of 7 Sacred Singing workshops with choir director, singer, and composer Nic Rowley. In each workshop, you will experience and explore sacred music from different places and times, from the sublime chants of Hildegard of Bingen to the magical sounds of John Tavener, and the inspiration of contemporary gospel music. Nic Rowley was a choral exhibitioner at Trinity College Cambridge, and he has composed for and directed choirs in the UK, France, Denmark, South Africa and Mauritius, and has worked widely in television, radio and film as a musical director, composer, instrumentalist, and singer. See more and book your place here.”