The Lets Get Growing group have a special welcome and farewell ceremony.

Once everyone has arrived at the garden we begin the day with hot drinks and biscuits. Then it is time for our ‘circle.’

Each person in turn has space to say how they are, what is happening in their lives and what they are looking forward to that day.

This is a simple invitation to speak about oneself without interruption. How often do we get to talk about ourselves without someone else butting in to say that something similar happened to them.

Outreach peace garden summer 2015 resized 260 pix

We humans mean well, but on the whole we don’t really attend to each other, sometimes we are merely waiting until it is our turn to speak again.

Our circle gives people the chance to say what they will. It may be that one of us has been unwell, had a family visit or an exciting idea. It is important to be listened to and to be able trust others with information about events that impact upon our lives and explain our mood.

Sometimes it is hard to be the centre of attention, especially if we are usually overlooked. It can make us nervous and anxious to take the floor.

However, we have found that people quickly become accustomed to circle time and are increasingly able to allow attention to rest upon them. Even if it is only for a short moment, it seems to give us confidence, confidence in others and confidence in ourselves.

We repeat this exercise at the end of the day before we take our leave, again with tea and biscuits.

It is noticeable that some people who arrive troubled seem to depart feeling much happier after their day in the Peace Garden. Circle time helps us gauge the effect therapeutic gardening has on individuals and the group as a whole. It is vital to know how the project work is received by us all.

More importantly ‘the circle’ is warm and connecting, bringing together disparate individuals it helps us work amicably alongside one another other during the day and then when we say our goodbyes, we go home feeling loved.