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Guests harvesting at HKU Herb Garden

HKU Holistic Urban Farming
Herb Garden

Herb Garden is a community garden outside the Main Library growing mostly herbs. It is purposely founded on Earth Day (Apr 22, 2018) and the annual celebration is also a highlight and reminder for students to rethink about our life choices. Herb Garden hosts regular community activities to share herbs, cuttings and seedlings, and to promote sustainable living and wellbeing. The activities conducted in Herb Garden were further developed with an emphasis on promoting wellbeing and mindfulness.

HKU Herb Garden

The Herb Garden was set up by students under the guidance of permaculture practitioners in 2018, as the second project of the HKU Holistic Urban Farming initiative. It is intentionally located in a publicly accessible spot so that everyone can visit at any time.


  • 2018 - ongoing


  • Near HKU Main Library 2/F Entrance



  • Gardening

  • Tea Gatherings

  • Public Workshops and Tours

  • Seeds/Seedlings Sharing

  • Community Events

  • ~10 regular volunteers

  • 10 - 50 people participating at each workshops/events

  • Grow fresh organic herbs to share with the community

  • Nurture a community that shares the same concern on health, environment and our future

  • Promote wellbeing and enhance social connectivity, including intergenerational connection, through engaging students and community members in a variety of activities.

People involved

Choosing what to grow

We primarily grow herbs at the garden as they are relatively easier to manage and to survive with even less maintenance effort. The garden is located at a highly visible location, so it has to remain presentable and safe at all times. Therefore, hardy herbs which require less structures for growing and less measures for pest control are our top choices. Herbs also provides unique shapes, textures and aromas for our guests to explore by seeing, touching, smelling or tasting and to gain a more holistic experience at the site.

Plants have been grown here

Bay Leaf / Bay Laurel
Mountain Marigold

Surinam Cherry









Mexican Mint


Ginger Lily


Setouchi Lemon 


Damascan Rose




Snake Grass

Dragon Fruit


Himalayan Mulberry

Violette De Bordeaux Fig 

Banana Fig

Sweet Basil


Garden Pink


Chili Pepper


Everyone who comes to enjoy the herbs and the space! While around 10 student/staff volunteers perform regular gardening duties, our community includes those who join our tea gatherings, workshops and other activities. Our community also includes those who just come by to walk around or sit at the Herb Garden table, just to enjoy a moment of peacefulness and connection with nature.


While the herbs thrive in spring and autumn, they suffer the most in hot and rainy summer days. Therefore in the middle of the year, the Herb Garden could look worn out and messy. However, we try our best to improve the growing condition of the plants by overall design and positioning them in the spot where they can do the best. Even within the tiny Herb Garden, we can find areas with more shade, such as beside the wall, where we can grow plants that are low heat resistant. We can also add shade cover to protect the plants in difficult weather situations. There are also seasons when we have more serious pest problems, one of which is the Fall armyworm. As we practice organic farming, we do not use chemical pesticides. Although it may sound brutal, the best way to manage the pest problem is to kill them or catch them by hand. We also learn to practice IPM (Integrated Pest Management), whereby we improve the overall growing condition of the plant to help the plant be more pest resistant. After years of trial and error, we understand better when and where and what to grow at certain times of the year, and at certain locations.

Special moments

There are many occasions when strangers come by the garden while I am doing regular gardening duty and start a conversation, sharing their passion or curiosity on gardening, and growing food. Eventually many of these “strangers” became our dear teammates and the friendships born out of these encounters are very precious!

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