The Secret Herb Garden
This is where I went this morning. And though I remembered to take my camera, I forgot to take any photos! There aren’t any on this website either, because it’s still under construction, but on the facebook page,you’ll find many, including this, of the greenhouse – a lush and peaceful space full of edible flowers and peach trees and vines. You can buy tea and cakes or quiches in the cafe and eat them here, though as it’s quite popular, you might find some competition!
The Secret Herb Garden is more than a nursery, although it does stock a wider variety of herbs than any other I’ve visited. The owner, Hamish Martin, describes it as a ‘healing place’. It’s meant to be accessible for people to walk in, sit and relax in, and respond to the plants and the atmosphere. It’s child-friendly, with mown paths through the orchard for children to run through, and ‘fairy walks’ on Sundays for the 5-8 yearolds. There are courses on growing and cooking wth herbs, and bee-keeping, and a lot of other interesting things, and there are Tamworth pigs and chickens. And there’s a poem by Clare painted on the cafe window – I approve on many levels! Hamish has an eye for visuals, and there is a sense of space and serenity in the design of the site and the raised beds where he grows his plants. It’s hard to believe they have only been there for two years and they’ve only been open since May.
It’s not easy to reach if you don’t drive, but I took advantage of my husband being on holiday, and we went to look around this morning, in weather that wasn’t too bright or hot, but clear and breezy. I talked to Hamish and heard all about what he intends and hopes for the nursery. And, although the last thing my garden needs is any more mint, I bought a plant called Atlas Mountain mint menta suaveolens timija, because of the Cistercians of the Tibhirine in Algeria whom I’ve written about sometimes, and whose message of peace is very dear to me. The mint is a little like a small scale apple mint, with hairy stem and leaves, but is a paler colour, and a very different scent, rather spicy, and a little like cumin. It’s valued for medicine and cooking in its native country, but is endangered in the wild because of over-picking. We’ll have to see how it does here!