Wellbeing Seed Library

Growing your own not only saves money but is great for mental health and wellbeing. The Garden Society, Grounds and Gardens team, and College Library have teamed up to provide free seeds, to encourage people getting their hands dirty!

A box containing seed packets, empty envelopes, pens and sellotape. On the lid are instructions for getting started with gardening in College

What is the Wellbeing Seed Library?

The Wellbeing Seed Library provides free seeds for students and families to use in the student garden.

Seeds currently include basil, chives, parsley, spinach, lettuce, rocket, radish, mizuma, nasturtium, corn, leek, spring onions, courgette, carrot, pak choi, tomatoes, beetroot, turnip, celery, sweet pea and sunflower. 

You can find the Seed Library in the College Library, in the entrance foyer of the Bracken reading room. (You do not need a University Card to access this area.)

Simply take a pinch of seeds from a packet, put them in an empty envelope, label your envelope with the variety, and then you’re ready to get started.

Bookshelves in the Bracken Library foyer where books about gardening are on display next to the box containing the seed library


Where can I garden?

In the 70 Storey’s Way Garden there is a student gardening club greenhouse and some raised beds that can be used by students and families.

Compost, pots, a watering can and plant labels are kept in the greenhouse for student use, and the College gardeners will be on hand for any advice.


I’ve never grown anything before, where do I start?

Our suggestions for first-time gardeners are sweet peas, lettuce, or spinach.

The Royal Horticultural Society website and Vital Seeds have some helpful tips for growing different kinds of plants.

The College Library also has a collection of books on Gardening and Wildlife.


Can I donate seeds to the Seed Library?

We would be glad to accept donations. Eventually we would like to progress to harvesting seeds from grown crops, which could then be ‘returned’ to the Seed Library for future use.

If you would like to donate seeds, (either of shop-bought seed packets or seeds you have harvested from your own plants), please contact Katherine Banarse Davies in the Grounds & Gardens team.

Email Katherine Banarse Davies

Churchill College Garden Society


We would love to see photos of what you grow!

If you’ve used any seeds from the Seed Library, we would really appreciate if you’re able to share any photos with us, or a quick email to let us know what you are growing, if you’ve learnt anything new from the books on gardening in the College Library, or if you have any recommendations for ways to improve the project.

Any of the above would be really helpful for our Green Impact submission.

Email any thoughts or photographs to librarian@chu.cam.ac.uk


Two students kneeling in the garden, smiling and giving a thumbs up to the camera

Researching the impact of gardens on wellbeing

Churchill alumna, Lauriane Suyin Chalmin-Pui (U11 Geography) got in touch having seen the seed library story, as she’s currently working at the Royal Horticultural Society as a postdoc Wellbeing Fellow researching the impacts of gardens on human health and wellbeing. She very generously offered to donate some seeds, and also shared links to presentations from the RHS Health and Horticulture Conference 2022 as well as some links to Journal articles, which are available below:

Chalmin-Pui, Lauriane Suyin, et al. “Why Garden? – Attitudes and the Perceived Health Benefits of Home Gardening.” Cities, 112 (2021)

Chalmin-Pui, Lauriane Suyin, et al., “It made me feel brighter in myself”- The health and well-being impacts of a residential front garden horticultural intervention, Landscape and Urban Planning, 205 (2021)

And finally a lovely list of ideas from the RHS for children’s activities in and around the garden