by Emilia Freeman
On 27th August, all 10 of us (and Woody the guide-dog!) set off for a short drive to the Secret Herb Garden at Damhead on the outskirts of Edinburgh.
When we arrived at the Secret Garden, we met Hamish and Julie who told us a bit about the place. Hamish started the gardens four years ago with his wife, then opened it to the public two years ago.
We put all our stuff in a massive yurt, which sat at the top of a hill (great for rolling down). In the morning, we had a tour of the gardens, including all the herbs, vegetables, the bee house and the gardens. Hamish told us lots about the herbs, showing us the medicinal purposes and he got us to all rub our hands on the herbs to get the strong smells. Hamish showed us his favourite part of the gardens, which was by the river and greenhouse because how wild and natural it was, which is how he liked the gardens.
Hamish also talked about the edible plants, which we would try later on.
Before lunch we took some time to draw using pastels and pens. We had to find a spot to sit by ourselves and draw what was around us. I drew some purple flowers and the grass and thistles surrounding it. We all go together to show what we drew, then had lunch.
After lunch we went round the greenhouses collecting mints for our tea and edible flowers to try. I chose chocolate mint. Julie showed us which flowers were nicest and then we all got cups and hot water. We also had lemon verbena tea and rose petal tea to try as well. My favourite was the mint one, I thought it was quite calming but very watery! We also got to take home some seeds in envelopes we made ourselves, as well as a sprig of lavender and mint to try ourselves.The plant was called ‘Balm or Gilead’ which we tried with some tea.
Afterwards, we went back to the yurt for some more quiet time. We each had to find a quiet spot by ourselves and think of a line to make a poem. We then wrote down our lines one by one, creating ‘The Secret Herb Garden Poem’:
The bees are perfectly moving about each flower
The sky is blue, the clouds are fluffy
This place is so peaceful and quiet
Even if it’s full of people and creatures and other things too
It seems the world is still even just for a minute
It lets us be happy with the world in which we live
Rolling down the hill on a nice sunny day
Taking photographs of all the different plants
A place so secluded you can’t be seen
Glimmers of light peek through the trees
The sky is as blue as the sky can be.
After this we got to have a look around the shop before we all said goodbye then we had to pick our favourite part of the day.
Overall I had a really fun and relaxing day and I also learned lots about the herbs and plants. I would recommend anyone to visit for a day out!