Mud to Medicine

Mud to Medicine is the process of creating a women’s physic garden

A project to transform a strip of canal side land in Nelson, Lancashire into the UK’s first physic garden created by and dedicated to women.

Landscape image of a plain canal side garden with a grey narrow boat in the background.

In 2018 through a crowd funding campaign that attracted support from over 300 people Idle Women and Humraaz Support Services purchased a canal side garden in Nelson, Lancashire.

From 2018 women began the essential process of observing plants, the landscape and their own health in order to co-create a protocol of knowledge that will inform the design and selection of planting in the garden, this observation work included a monthly plant study and a herbalist in residence programme of workshops and teaching.

In spring 2019 Idle Women volunteers led a campaign for votes in the ITV People’s Projects which won the most votes for our region and an award of £50,000 to landscape the garden making it fully wheelchair accessible and to begin the process of involving hundreds of women in creating the UK’s first Physic Garden dedicated to women’s health and wellbeing.

The first phase of garden physical transformation begins in February 2020, Idle Women are working with gardener, writer and presenter Alys Fowler to design the layout and gather a team of professional women builders, landscapers, plumbers, gardeners and volunteers to realise the transformation.

Alys Fowler, Idle Women Physic Garden, photo by CJGriffiths

When completed the Physic Garden will provide women with a garden to visit and a study base for medicinal plants and women’s health.

Medicine Nursery

The Medicine Nursery is the sister site to the Physic Garden and serves as its industrial arm where medicinal plants to populate the garden are cultivated, crops of herbs to use in workshops and product making are grown women can train and learn through a year round seasonal programme of workshops volunteer opportunities.