Abbey Physic Garden Faversham

I thought I knew Faversham quite well so was really surprised when I stumbled across The Abbey Physic Community Garden; and what a delight it was. There is a walled pathway that runs from the Parish Church of St Mary of Charity along the side of Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School which I have walked several times before.

Faversham Physic Garden

I had noticed a door in the wall but this time it was open with a sign welcoming visitors into the Abbey Community Gardens. Set in the heart of Faversham it is a large walled garden teeming with people, wildlife, beds of herbs, vegetables and flowers.

Abbey Physic Garden Faversham

King Stephen and his queen Maud founded the abbey of St Saviour, Faversham in C12th and it remained open until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in C16th. Physic Gardens were a useful asset to a monastery infirmary and the monks would grow plants for their medicinal properties. Today, the charity that manage the site emphasise the therapeutic nature of the gardens. It is a Land Learning Centre with the Permaculture Association. Bill Mollison who first used the term permaculture describes it:

“Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature; of protracted and thoughtful observation rather than protracted and thoughtless labour; and of looking at plants and animals in all their functions, rather than treating any area as a single product system”.

Faversham Abbey Physic Garden

Looking around the garden you can sense this underlying philosophy. Its mission is to relieve the needs of disadvantaged groups by informal learning, meeting new friends or just enjoying the garden.

Abbey Physic Garden Faversham

The space of the garden is contained within ancient walls but with Tudor rooftops peaking above increasing the sense of a calmer period. This piece of sacred land has endured and is still providing healing to people who enter its walls.