Ali Thomas

Sarah McMillan & Ashana Karula Ra

Marjolaine Ryley

Marjolaine is a PhD researcher in Fine Art at Newcastle University. Her practice encompasses photography, creative writing, plant-made imagery and participatory practice to explore collaborative plant-human encounters in the vegetal world. She also has an RHS Level 2 qualification in Horticulture enjoys getting muddy in her experimental allotment/laboratory.

Dr Nicolette Perry

Professor Elaine Perry

Neuroscientist and curator at Dilston Physic Garden

Darren Harper

Darren is an adult educator focused on philosophy, literature and creative writing. He has a 1st class honours degree in English & Creative Writing as well as a PGCE (Lifelong Learning). Darren’s work takes him around the UK teaching on residential courses in all three subjects and he has begun to offer a range of online courses at He is also writing his first philosophy book, Encounters and Reflections: An Introduction to Philosophy, which he plans to release later this year.

Ocean Zen – Tova Crossland

Katrina Padmore, Horticultural Therapist

Katrina has worked in horticulture for many years and now runs a horticultural therapy project, as well as nature-based retreats and workshops. She co-runs the Heavenly Herb Company with her husband Ross. She is also an ordained interfaith minister with a particular interest in funerals and in helping people create living funeral plans.

Jill Schnabel, Medical Herbalist

Jill studied agricultural science (BSc) and plant pathology (PhD) before qualifying as a medical herbalist in 2004. She now practices herbal medicine in Newcastle upon Tyne and Northumberland. After working as an advisor with the National Centre for Organic Gardening, she moved to the North-East in 1993 where she co-founded a successful organic vegetable growing cooperative. As an adult education tutor she has taught a diverse range of courses in organic gardening, plant folklore and herbal medicine, at both university and community levels.

Ross Menzies, Medical Herbalist

Ross has been practising as a herbalist for over 20 years and runs a busy practice at his clinic in Hexhamshire. He regularly runs workshops and created  the Heavenly Herb Company making a range of natural herbal products. Ross also runs a horticultural therapy project and is an interfaith minister.