Winter Newsletter

Welcome to Winter 2020 at the garden

Hello from the KentCOG team, we hope you are keeping well despite the lockdown challenges. Our small volunteer working party worked wonders maintaining the site during the autumn months. The garden has been strimmed, weeded, and the beds are now planted with green manure to see us through until the New Year.  We also planted bulbs and sweet peas with the help of volunteer students, and were on the cusp of opening our doors to the wider community when the second lockdown restrictions hit and we had to make the decision to close again.  We are now working remotely and growing from home once more. I’m pleased to say the sweet peas are coming along nicely and the bulbs are on course to brighten up our stall come spring.  

What’s happening this season?

Now is the time to make the most of the daylight hours and get outside before the nights draw in.  Soaking up some all-important sunrays will help boost your mood, aid sleep, and add to a general sense of wellbeing.  If you can do some DIY in your own backyard it will help you get ahead for next years growing seasons, so dust out those cobwebs in the shed, fix the broken canes and frames, and design a planting plan that will brighten up a grey day.  At KentCOG we gave our potting shed a much-needed makeover with support from East Kent Mind and B&Q, who donated floor paint, plants, and furniture to cheer the place up. Take a look at our before and after shots on Instagram (kent_community_oasis_garden) and come visit us in person for a hot cuppa when we reopen next year.

East Kent Mind’s December timetable continues to provide a rich array of online workshops.  Their website is well worth a visit for all sorts of ways to stay well and connected over the Christmas period, from poetry workshops to full body workouts. They are also offering one-hour peer support groups called Winter Warmers, so no one ever needs to feel alone. 


East Kent Mind support line 0808 196 3898 

Seasonal jobs

It’s time to get creative in the kitchen and preserve your remaining fruit and vegetables.  We have been busy making chutneys and flavoured gins for Christmas gifts, and we couldn’t resist making the ultimate rustic wreath made with foraged materials from our woodland walks. Check out our blog for top tips and recipes and email us if you would like to register your interest for future Grow Your Wellbeing workshops via zoom. 

Last but not least 

We would like to say a special thank you to our head gardener Brian, for all his hard work over a very difficult year.  Thank you also to our working party volunteers Justin and Graham for their on-going support. We hope you all finally get to put your feet up over the festive period and enjoy a well-earned rest!  

When we re-open, please come and help us grow again! Email us at KentCOG to join one of our regular sessions or to find out more:

Every Tuesday 10 – 2pm (Community Session)

Every Wednesday 11.30 – 1.30pm (Student Session)

Find us here

Please visit for more information about the project or email if you have any queries. Our Instagram is – kent_community_oasis_garden. 

Lets hope our next newsletter will be full of cheer for the New Year, with news of restrictions lifting along with our spirits. Until then, lets raise a glass to one and all.  Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Best wishes,

Emily Hill, KentCOG Coordinator

Autumn Newsletter (September edition)

Welcome to Autumn 2020 at the garden

Hello everyone, hope you are keeping well. It has been a challenging summer in many ways, but we hope you have found some solace in the joy of gardening and the healing power of nature. We have finally re opened the community garden to a small working party of volunteers who are in the process of restoring the garden to its former glory and doing everything they can to make it a safe and secure place to work and visit in the future. We will let you know when it is safe to return via email.

We have consulted the government guidelines, and worked with the University’s’ Safety, Health and Environment Unit (SHE) to create a number of procedures to make our space Covid-19 secure. The garden comes under the regulations for educational activities, supporting the university curriculum, and can accommodate small groups of people (we are currently operating at 6 including a facilitator) but can accommodate larger numbers outdoors providing people remain at a safe distance of 2 meters apart, 3 meters if doing strenuous activity like digging.

In the next few weeks, we will open further and invite our community volunteers to return on a Tuesday and students/staff will be welcome on a Wednesday.  All sessions will run from 10am until 2pm, but you can call in at any time during the session and do not have to stay for the full four hours.  Initially, we will be asking volunteers to book onto sessions by emailing so that we can monitor numbers. More information will follow on this.

Whether you are returning or coming for the first time, you will be fully briefed of our new procedures on arrival. If you have any concerns, your facilitator will be on hand to help answer your questions. Just remember to bring your own lunch and refreshments (hot drinks are available) and wear suitable clothing for outdoor activity.  It would be really helpful if individuals could purchase their own facemasks and gardening gloves in advance, as wearing personal protective equipment is mandatory. We will have a small selection of items if you cannot but this is limited.

The garden, after months of neglect, is in need of some tender love and care. It has now been strimmed but needs a lot of weeding.  We are also lacking in plants, so if anyone has any seeds or plants they would like to donate, please come along once we are fully open and leave any offerings at the plant stand.  We would love to see what you have been growing!

Thank you to our volunteers who have donated produce from their allotments, we have had a splendid collection of tomatoes available for donations, along with cucumbers, apples, onions and a variety of greens (all on our Instagram feed). Please help yourself if you are passing us on the crab and winkle way, and place your donations in the box on the wall behind the plant stand. Every penny helps!

When you are notified, please come to one of our regular KentCOG sessions to find out more about the partnership project between East Kent Mind and the University of Kent:

Every Tuesday 10 – 2pm (Community Session)

Every Wednesday 10 – 2pm (Student Session)

Find the garden here

Please visit for more information about the project or email if you have any queries. Our Instagram is – kent_community_oasis_garden.

What’s happening this season?

East Kent Mind continues to provide a digital weekly timetable of workshops; here is September’s timetable. October’s timetable will be online very soon.


David Palmer, CEO East Kent Mind, is running a marathon to raise money for Mind. Here’s what he has to say:
Help me get to my target. So here we go. I’m running the London marathon in October for Mind.  Training is very, very hard particularly in this glorious weather.  No booze, healthy food and lots of chocolate and lots of running, cycling, long walks at a fast pace and only 1 week to go. This is a massive, massive challenge for me professionally and personally. I so need the support to do this. Please, please share my page and encourage others to do the same and donate if you can no matter how small. All funds raised will go directly to Mind.  Man,y many thanks in advance. I need all the support I can get. Apologies for cross posting.”

If you would like to support David please visit:

Seasonal jobs:

It’s harvest time in the garden and we have recently foraged apples, plums, rosehips and sloe berries from the garden. Check out our blog for our raw rosehip syrup recipe courtesy of the Woodland Trust.

We are compiling our seed order for next year as we speak; if you have any requests just email us at the address at the bottom of the page.

Last but not least:

If you have spotted a hedgehog on campus, in your garden or around your local area please log your sighting onto the Big Hedgehog Map.

By logging your sighting you are helping hedgehog conservationists and scientists build a picture of our hedgehog populations, which are in a lot of trouble with populations plummeting 50% since 2000.

Spring Newsletter

Welcome to Spring 2020 at the garden

It has been a long time since our last newsletter, and so much has changed. The KentCOG team wanted to take this opportunity to keep in touch, and update you on the ever evolving community garden.  Although our volunteers are busy gardening at home, and the plot remains closed, our community is still active and happy to support those in need of some green care.

KentCOG have teamed up with East Kent Mind this year to grow the garden as a community base focused on wellbeing, and I have returned after a year away to welcome you to be part of that development.  Please share your stories, growing experiences, and experiments in gardening with us, including photos, recipes and top tips in creating a thriving natural home environment for wellbeing, whatever that may mean to you.  Practicing Ecotherapy at home has helped me stay grounded during times of change, and that’s what I am exploring in more detail over the coming months.

What’s happening this season?

East Kent Mind have provided an array of live workshops, courses and activities accessible on your phone or computer at home. KentCOG are supporting the online digital weekly timetable with a regular slot Grow Your Wellbeing (more details below).

East Kent Mind have also set up a wellbeing support line open Monday-Friday 2pm-5pm, Friday-Sunday 6pm-10pm, if you need to talk please call 0203 912 0032.

Seasonal jobs

Growing herbs on your windowsill can be very satisfying and family favourite cress is quick to sprout and great to eat with your eggs for breakfast, perfect for beginner gardeners.


If you have an outdoor growing space try preparing a meter square bed for companionship planting, a popular combination to grow is squash beside climbing beans supported by corn.

It’s time to harden off your seedlings outside or plant new seeds directly into prepared beds, following packet guidelines.

This season’s events

It was Mental Health Awareness Week last week, so why not check out Grow Your Wellbeing sessions on Zoom with Emily Hill every Wednesday afternoon (2-3pm) with practical advice on trying Ecotherapy at home.

Sign up by visiting and complete a registration form online, or email

When lockdown is lifted, please come to one of our regular KentCOG sessions to find out more:

Every Tuesday 10 – 2pm

(Community Session)

Every Wednesday 10 – 2pm

(East Kent Mind Open Spaces – Student Session)

Looking for something to celebrate? It was World Bee Day on the 19th May, so on the advice of our partners the Whitstable and Herne Bay Beekeepers, I have included some links to find out more about our valuable friends. Did you know there were 271 species of bee in the UK?

Please visit for more information about the project or email if you have any queries or want to join our mailing list.

 Find us here

We will write again when we can reopen the garden , until then take care, and carry on gardening.

Best wishes,

Emily Hill, KentCOG Coordinator

Update from COG…


We now have a letterbox at the garden, thanks to our apprentice Ed’s handywork – Thanks Ed.

And what a few weeks it’s been, the rain didn’t put us off with brainstorming ideas for a new sensory garden coming soon and plenty of seeds planted in the poly tunnel growing for us to plant or sell.

There are lots more plants outside now and bespoke rabbit net constructions, made to keep Peter and his friends at bay! 🐇 Don’t forget our plant sales stand at the entrance, its these very plant sale donations that allow us to buy more soil and seeds to sow…

  • AM I CRAZY!?!

On the 25th of July (41 sleeps) I will be jumping out of a plane for our beneficiaries… I want to show that I can try to conquer my fear of flying in the most extreme way and inspire others to conquer their fears. Please help me to help improve the lives of our beneficiaries… We support many adults with mental health and learning difficulties to get into or back into the workplace. We desperately need soil, seeds and tools for our gardening project – please help me to help our community.


Thursday 20th June from 12:30pm to 2pm at Kent Enterprise House, The Links, Herne Bay CT6 7GQ

Please join us to celebrate our volunteers and all the continuous amazing work they do for us at Kent Enterprise Trust. KET could not survive without the constant support of our amazing volunteers, please join us to thank them for all the work they do. A volunteer is unpaid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless