Blog post by one of our volunteer, a MSc student here at the University of Kent.
I stumbled across the Kent Community Oasis Garden on a walk to the Blean from campus. It was off hours, but after a poke around I got the feeling that it was a positive space. I made note of the hours and was on my way. Finding Canterbury my home away from home and in a milder climate than I am used to getting dirty through the winter sounded like great therapy and right up my alley. It wasn’t till a few weeks later when I needed a location to conduct a micro research project for a methods course did I realize that the garden would be a perfect spot. Studying ethnobotany at Kent, the relationship members had with the physical and social landscape I felt would be an interesting study. If I was drawn in by the potential for positive wellbeing the garden offered, would anyone else? What would those other relationships look like? Does the garden positively impact wellbeing and can the how’s be identified and maybe even quantified? I volunteered weekly to find out. In all kinds of English weather, and luckily not too much rain I helped where I could, observed and interviewed members over six weeks this fall. Among the language and gardening insight was the conclusion that the members of the community take part in a reciprocal, therapeutic landscape contributing to the wellbeing of both the land and the people.