Peace Garden Workshop

Sat 6th October 2018, 10am – 4pm

‘Nature as companion, healer and teacher’

Indigenous cultures and mystics of all traditions agree that consciously deepening our connection with nature can inspire and inform our spiritual path. Making use of the tranquility of the Peace Garden and beautiful Sanctuary building, we will open ourselves to the full potential of working with nature as an ally in facing life challenges and discerning guidance.

Tools to aid our enquiry will include poetry, meditation, reflective writing, group exploration and simply bringing mindful awareness to being in nature.

Led by Ross Menzies and Katrina Padmore of Let’s Get Growing, a gardening therapy project at Minsteracres, which helps people find healing and meaning through connecting with nature. Ross is also a practising medical herbalist. Both Ross and Katrina are currently training as Interfaith ministers

Cost: £50, to include seasonal, home-cooked lunch provided by us. Please call Ross on 07762  244381 to book a place. (£20 deposit to be paid at time of booking please)


The Peace Garden is a space of almost two acres to the north of the house which can be seen from the driveway as you approach the house.

House and garden

It grew from a visit from people from a drop-in centre in Newcastle, many living in inner city flats with no access to outside space who were looking at the possibilities of getting involved at Minsteracres. They liked the suggestion of starting a fruit and vegetable garden and asked if their group could be known as peace gardeners, because of the sense of peace they felt here. And so the name Peace Garden was born.

The garden has matured considerably since its beginnings back in 2011 and is now used for retreats, relaxation and private contemplation. It is also home to an innovative gardening therapy scheme run by local social enterprise, Let’s Get Growing.

Led by horticulturalists Ross Menzies and Katrina Padmore, the scheme recognises the importance of outdoor activity in recovering from illness and maintaining wellbeing.

They run regular therapeutic sessions with a group of people with broad and diverse needs. This includes people with mental health difficulties, perhaps recovering from a life crisis, people with stress, depression and mild learning difficulties and early onset dementia.

Theirs is an innovative approach and one that has proved to be successful.

Poppies square

Participants are typically people who can benefit from being physically active within an upbeat, supportive group.

Ross and Katrina are happy to talk to people about their gardening therapy outreach and show them around the garden.

Herb garden

A double row of apple trees enclose the herb garden and ornamental pond which face you as you enter the Peace Garden. It’s a great space for small groups, and is often used by the outreach team when they start their sessions.

Meditation corner

In a corner of the south facing wall, this sheltered, sunny spot is much sought after as a quiet place to sit, think and watch the bees. The surrounding catmint lends it its nickname ‘the blue circle’.

Meditation area June 2015

Vegetable and flower beds

The enclosed (rabbit – proofed!) vegetable beds are a great place to learn and share horticultural skills. Like the ornamental beds, they also contain lots of flowers. People working in them chat as they garden. For many this is a far less threatening way to and share experiences than talking face to face.

Wildlife pond

Dug by hand by volunteers and graced with a gift of pair of seats, it’s a great place to enjoy the sun and watch the dragonflies and other pond life.


Soft fruit area

During the summer, benefiting from the shelter of the huge south facing wall, this productive space provides ample supplies of strawberries, gooseberries and rhubarb.

Children’s area

Used most often by our outreach groups, this area has space to play with a sandpit and giant spider made from living willow big enough for smaller children to use as a den.

herb beds

News and stories from the Peace Garden:

Dianne’s blog – life’s box of chocs

Dianne’s blog – in praise of soup

Dianne’s blog – the season of plenty

Dianne’s blog – in praise of tea

Dianne’s blog – tea takes the biscuit

Dianne’s blog – a place of peace and solace

Dianne’s blog – meet the Peace Garden dogs

Help needed in the Peace Garden

Dianne’s blog – something’s bugging me

Dianne’s blog – in praise of dandelions

Three days of peace and nature

Dianne’s blog – the saga of the lone fish

Dianne’s blog – in praise of leeks

Dianne’s blog – the ladies who guard the garden

Dianne’s blog – gardening as therapy

Dianne’s blog – compost and other matters

Dianne’s blog – it’s fit to freeze your frock off!

Dianne’s blog – peace and love in the garden

Preparing for the Sanctuary in the Peace Garden

Let’s build a sanctuary

Planning permission received for sanctuary

Mary’s photo record of the Peace Garden

Lya leaves her mark