Thanks for Celebrating with us and What’s next!

Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated with us on the 5th of May!  The Green Tongues Collective was founded in September 2011 with the beginnings of the People’s Apothecary and it has been a challenging and rewarding journey up to this point.  We’ve learned so much through working with people from very different backgrounds and experience and it has been exciting to learn about planting, organizing, discussing and healing together (though these words really only touch on the overlapping ways we have come together).

It was wonderful to meet you all and to share our experiences of the garden with each other.  We hope you enjoyed the tour of the garden as well as the Dandelion tincture workshop and the participatory installation in the gallery!

The book that the Green Tongues Collective put together is available at the Vancouver Island School of Art as well as at Camas books for a donation of 7-15 dollars sliding scale.  This covers the cost of printing and any contributions over the printing costs go directly back to the maintenance of the People’s Apothecary.

And of course, this really is only a beginning!  The seeds and baby plants are in the earth and we are heading into a summer of nourishing the herbal commons in anticipation of harvesting in the fall.  We are looking forward to continue working with you all and figuring out how together we can ensure that the People’s Apothecary is a meaningful and usable resource for the neighbourhood.


We hope to see you this Sunday form 1-4 at the People’s Apothecary!  We’ll be working on figuring out our irrigation system, planting more herbs, edging the garden by the raspberries, watering, weeding, and painting more signs.  We’d love your help and your company.


❤ The Green Tongues



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Come Celebrate the Garden with us!

Join the Green Tongues Collective for the Opening Celebration of The People’s Apothecary on May 5th from 1-4 pm.

The People’s Apothecary is a medicinal herb garden and public art piece by the Green Tongues Collective.

There will be a participatory art installation in the Slide Room Gallery where documentation of the process that created the garden will be shown, including photographs by Katie Sage.  Everyone is welcome to contribute to the installation by sharing their thoughts and experiences with the garden through drawings, writing or collage.

We will have Megan Francis, local writer and permaculturalist reading stories from her children’s book, Herbal Dittie’s for the Kiddies.

In addition members of the Green Tongues Collective, Leila and Megan, will lead a tincture making workshop and curator Serina Zapf with Herbalist Krista Poulton (both members of the Green Tongues Collective) will lead a walk through the living installation/garden.

Snacks and Cool beverages will be provided in the gallery and the event is totally Free.  Children and furry friends welcome!

When: Saturday May 5th 1 – 4 pm
Where:  The People’s Apothecary (and Slide Room Gallery) 2549 Quadra St

For more info:
The Slide Room Gallery:

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April Showers bring….

Hey!  What showers?

Gotta love Victoria, we’ve had tons of sunshine and have been able to spend lots of time in the garden.  If you haven’t been around in a while you’ll notice that there are a lot of new plants in the earth and that we’ve started to create signs to help folks become acquainted with what we’re growing.

We just wanted to share a couple of updates as well as talk about one of the herbs in our garden that we’re feeling pretty excited about.



Sunday April 15th the Green Tongues Collective will be heading to the Rally and Teach In  to Stop the Enbridge Pipeline.  Rally is going down at 11:30 at the Victoria Legislature and the Teach In starts at 1:30 at Centennial Square.

So… we won’t be in the garden that day.  You are totally welcome to enjoy it anytime you like however, but we’d also love to see you at the rally!



We are looking for folks who have skills with simple irrigation or plumbing.  Essentially we need to figure out a better way to water the plants than lugging around buckets of water.  We also have a broken tap on the outside of the school that could use some fixin’.  If you, or someone you knows has some skillz in this regard send us a line!


Now for the exciting part!  We’d like to introduce a herb who we keep hearing about, which we now have at the Apothecary:



During the middle ages the plant Valerian was known as All Heal for it’s wide spread use throughout Europe.   Serbian folk songs tell of women always caring the herb within their waist band.


Today the herb is used primarily as a nervine for it calms the nerves and when the root is ground and taken in capsules, it relaxes the body and allows for sleep.  While Valerian works in similar way as prescription sleep-aids, it has been found to not be habit-forming and it will not leave you groggy in the morning.  Valerian acts as a mild sedative and antispasmodic.  It can also be used in tincture form for stress, insomnia, nervous tension, hysteria, excitability, and sometimes intestinal colic and/or cramps.  It can also be used externally for nervous eye-trouble, weakness of the eyes or eye-strain.

It is important to note however that some folks have found Valerian to have the opposite affect leaving them restless or nervous.

Cultivating and Harvesting:

Many of the young plants do not flower in the first year, but produce a luxuriant crop of leaves, and yield rhizome of good quality in the autumn.

In September or early October, all the tops are cut off with a scythe and the rhizomes are harvested.


Do you know more about Valerian?  Please share your knowledge!


For more info. check out:

A Modern Herbal

Holistic Herbal

The Master Book of Herbalism–Paul Beyrel






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Spring is in full swing and we’re gonna have regular events so that more people can participate in making the People’s Apothecary awesome!  Join us at Sunday work parties, participate in coordination and visioning at our meetings, and be sure to come out to the People’s Apothecary launch party and gallery opening on May 5th!


Garden Party!

Every Sunday 1-4pm

We’ll be working in the garden: planting, maintaining, sharing ideas, and making things grow—join us!


Coordination Meeting!

Every 2nd Tuesday 7pm, starting April 3 at Camas Books

We’ll be meeting to plan logistics, outreach, workshops, and other doings!  We’ll meet at Camas Books just across the street: 2590 Quadra St.  Come get involved in this project!


Garden Launch Party and Gallery Show

On May 5th, we’ll be hosting a Gallery Showing right beside the People’s Apothecary in the Slide Room Gallery, including art, workshops, and other activities!



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Meeting with Geoff Johnston at the People’s Apothecary


The Green tongues collective met with Geoff Johnston (an amazing permaculturalist!) a few weeks ago at the people’s apothecary garden behind the Vancouver Island School of Art to help the group establish a garden design. Geoff has created multiple perennial garden sites, including The “Spring Ridge Commons” in Fernwood.

Geoff pointed out that the area we have already mulched is unfortunately the shadiest area of the lot. But encouraged us to create a solar map of the mulched area in order to understand where the sunniest spots of the garden will be. Once we decide as a group what perennials we want to plant, he told us the next step will be to source and plant the trees and shrubs inthe sunniest areas based on our solar map.

Then we should cut out paths around the medicinal plants using up as little path space as possible, while making sure we will be able to reach all areas of the garden from the paths. He mentioned keyhole beds, which is a way to make a path which minimizes how much space the path takes up, which increasing how much garden bed can be accessed from the path.

Once the perennials are planted and the paths are carved out, Geoff told us to sheet mulch around the perennials, then finally plant the annuals into the areas we have sheet mulched.

He encouraged us to put the large medicinal perennials in the sunniest area of the garden. And said that it would be good to grow annual herbs in the center of the garden. He also mentioned to us that we could grow climbing varieties of medicinal plants up the chain link fence beside the garden. Also, if we do want a hangout area or a gazebo it could be in the shade to increase how much sunny area is available for plants. At the base of the chain link fence he said we could have perennials such as alfalfa, comfrey and yarrow that don’t spread, yet are very medicinal and dynamic accumulators (increase how many nutrients are available) for the garden.

Another thing that Geoff mentioned was how expensive water is. People have casually used the water at the “Spring Ridge Commons” Food Forest in Fernwood so many times that it has increased the cost of water on site. Therefor there has finally been put in a locked box that decreases the likely hood of water being wasted, and therefor the water expense increasing. We could also have a pond within the garden area or close by where we could collect rainwater from the roof of the artschool in the summer time as well as grow water loving varieties of plants around it, such as nettles, valerian and mint.

The meeting with Geoff Johnston was very informative and gave the group clarity on what our next steps are. It is now up to us to finalize the garden plan, access some medicinal plants and get them in the ground by mid april before the ground starts to dry up.

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Learn, Grow and Transform! (Busy Week in the Garden)

There is lots to at the People’s Apothecary and we need folks to come out and help us with a few tasks.  These are opportunities for you to be a part of creating the People’s Apothecary, to learn by doing and get more involved with the project and our community.

So here is the low down on some upcoming events all taking place at the Vancouver Island School of Art, 2549 Quadra St.

February 17th at 1pm we needs some help digging out b-berry roots and clearing out the ‘cage’ in preparation for the shed and greenhouse.

February 18th we have a Carpenter coming to the site to build a shed with us. If you want to lend a hand or learn about building a shed email to rsvp.

February 19th from 3-5pm The Green Tongues Collective are doing some mapping and other work on the garden. We will have tea and snacks and would love to meet you and have some help.

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A Living Installation

So I’ve been thinking about the garden as a living installation a lot lately.  I mean the garden is a lot of things, but what interests me is this whole thing being art and what that means.  You see I am ‘curating’ this herbal commons as a living installation, as a social art practice, as a record.  By curating I mean I am gardening, meeting, organizing, thinking, discussing, building relationships and learning.

Here are some of my latest thoughts:

There are three spaces that the People’s Apothecary occupies.

The first is a physical space that can be entered, viewed and interacted with.  This consists of a herb garden commons planted by the Green Tongues Collective with aid from the community.  Based on principles of permaculture and holistic herbal practices the garden seeks, through art to negotiate new relationships between artist/viewer/nature.  Similar work can be seen in the Means of Production Community Garden a garden where artist materials are grown which hosts artist residencies and Grow (if you can get past the whole part of  the Olympics aspect) which explored “sustainability issues through a series of walks, workshops and creative experiments in urban agriculture” hosted by local artists.   

The second is a social space made up of the human interactions within a community and the relationships negotiated in the creation of the People’s Apothecary.  From the first conversations to formulate the concept to the gathering of people to grow herbs together and mulch the earth there are an infinite number of relationships and interactions.  These interactions are between people as well as with our bodies.  Through coming together to create, learn and grow, healthy relationships are nourished and explored outside of normalized capitalist systems that isolate us from one another.  This aspect takes on themes similar to works by the social art practice of Zoe Kreye.

The final space is that of remnants, the record of a collective process. This final space exists in documentation, minutes taken, fragments of brainstorms, receipts, photographs, audio recordings.  It is our intention that these documents will be exhibited within the Slide Room Gallery much as the documentation of a performance may be considered.  This piece in the gallery is inspired by Luis Jacob’s “Anarchist Free School Minutes”.

While these three spaces in which The People’s Apothecary exists can be considered as separate and categorization is helpful in discussing and understanding it is also important to recognize that the People’s Apothecary exists in all of these spaces simultaneous in all its complexity and contradictions….






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