The Serge Hill Project

Impressive new educational resource centre, with extensive Plant Library to teach schools, charities and voluntary groups about gardening, creativity and health.

The Plant Library at Serge Hill by Tom & Sue Stuart Smith

The not-for-profit initiative, founded by Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith is principled on nature’s ability to transform health and wellbeing, and was set up to foster community inclusion through gardening and other forms of creativity. The project draws on Sue’s work as a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author of The Well Gardened Mind, as well as Tom’s horticultural expertise as a renowned Landscape Architect.

This week, preview events were hosted at Serge Hill in Hertfordshire, to introduce local friends, school teachers, people working in the voluntary sector, horticultural professionals and designers to the project, which will be up and running spring 2024.

A large proportion of one-acre site (called The Orchard) is dedicated to the Plant Library – a unique and extensive educational resource for anyone interested in plants and planting design. Set out in a grid system, the library holds more around 1500 different varieties of mainly herbaceous plants, serving as an interactive catalogue and community of plants that can be walked through and studied from all angles. Varieties and species can be compared, and combinations of form, texture, foliage and flower can be observed and appreciated. The Plant Library is open to the public, from April–October on the first Tuesday of each month, see bookings information and ‘Friend of The Plant Library‘ scheme. All proceeds will go directly to The Serge Hill Project CIC.

At the heart of the Orchard stands the handsome Community Hub, designed by architect Ben Stuart-Smith which will function as the education and resource centre. The building was constructed with radically low embodied carbon from cross-laminated timber infilled with hempcrete and vertical cleft oak pales on the outside.

Fundraising for the project, including for a new education kitchen are ongoing. Full details for support through fundraising and/or corporate partnerships can be found on the project website.