Preparing the Garden for Winter and the Plant Medicine Bed

On Sunday October 30th a small, resilient band of us turned up brandishing our forks and rakes to prepare the library garden beds for their winter rest. The weather was greyer and far less balmy than at our produce swap at the beginning of the month, but Richard, Daphne, Rose and I soon got down to dividing roots, pruning bushes and potting up vibrant perennials for the Give and Grow* table. Charlotte, taking an occasional break from an eternal deadline, would come out to lend a hand and some advice on the plants.

I collected seeds from vervain, anise hyssop and calendula and handed them to people to take home. For Caroline, who was manning the library that morning and had just been in Palestine, I picked some vervain leaves to make a tea (good for exhaustion and nerves). Most of my attention though was focused on the central bed which in 2011 has been the Bee bed and which is going to be the Plant Medicine Bed for 2012.

The plan is to build from the bottom up, working with the plants that are already there and adding as we go. “Don’t move that Greater Celandine,” I called out. “It’s a major detoxifier and medicine for warts.” Also in the bed already are herb Robert, vervain, plantain, marigold, feverfew and foxgloves.

Lesley brought me a Coneflower (Echinacea) to the Transition Norwich party on Tuesday. “It’s not dead, Mark,” she laughed as we looked at this year’s wilted leaves. “It’s alive underneath.”

My intent for the Plant Medicine Bed is to rekindle (or keep kindled!) an interest in and connection to the plants we share the planet with. Quite apart from the physical qualities and use of the plants to maintain our wellbeing, having a relationship with plants in their own right is medicine in itself. With this in mind, I’m organising some vibrant talks, conversations and events to take place throughout the year (in the library and elsewhere) which will be open to everyone. Watch this space! Mark Watson

If anyone has any spare purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea, see right) at least two years old, please contact me (Mark) on or 01502 722419. Thanks.

* Please visit the library garden and help yourselves to the plants, which include amongst others: Oxeye Daisy, Lungwort (Pulmonaria), Alpine Strawberries, Foxglove, Feverfew, Anise Hyssop, Heuchera, Forget Me Not, Primrose, Mountain Knapweed (Centaurea montana), Hellebore and Holly. They are free, but if you’d like to make a donation to Sustainable Bungay it will not be refused!

Pics: Towards a Medicine Plant Bed 2012; Richard and I talk plants after the morning’s dig – let it be known that Richard is the main caretaker of the library community garden, without whom things would not be what they are; Purple coneflowers or Echinacea purpurea in bloom in Bungay July 2011

Green Drinks on tour : Rob Hopkins in Norwich

Our next Green Drinks night falls on Tuesday 15th. Normally we meet at the Green Dragon in Bungay and often we invite someone to inform and inspire our conversations with news of their work or a project they’re involved with.

This month Sustainable Bungay’s Green Drinks evening will happen in Norwich at the United Reformed Church on Princes Street. Why? Well, Transition Norwich are celebrating their 3rd birthday and have invited Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Network, Transition Town Totnes and author of the hugely influential Transition Handbook to speak. It should be a good night – there will be birthday cake!

Rob’s new book, the Transition Companion, has just been published. The Transition Companion replaces the Handbook and draws on a wealth of real-life transition experience from initiatives all over the world – Sustainable Bungay even gets a mention…

If you’d like to talk about lift sharing to Norwich please email:

If you’d like to order a copy of the Transition Companion to be collected and paid for on the 15th please send us an email: (It’ll be available for just £14 (RRP £19.95), with any profits going to Transition Norwich)

This from Christine of Transition Norwich:

Positive approaches in difficult times

On Tuesday 15 November, Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Network and Transiton Town Totnes will be visiting Norwich to talk about the Transition movement, and to help us celebrate 3 years of Transition Norwich. A lot of excitement is being generated around this visit, and it will be a perfect opportunity to find out more about Transition.

The evening will also feature a short in-house film telling something of the story of Transition Norwich so far, and sharing some of the amazing things that have been achieved. After the talk, there will be a chance to meet and discuss over tea, coffee and cake with other people who are interested in positive community responses.

Rob will also talk about his new book The Transition Companion which will be available at the event for £14.

Looking forward to see you on the 15th…. Christine Way

Celebrate 3 Years of Transition Norwich with Rob Hopkins: founder of the Transition Town Movement Tuesday 15th November at 7.30pm United Reform Church, Princes Street, Norwich NR3 1LE . All Welcome Free Entry (suggested donation £5) and if possible please do bring a cake!