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Inside bizarre world of off-grid ‘TikTok commune’ The Garden – and how it went up in flames over grisly murder of a CAT

A BRIT is at the heart of a controversial survivalist commune in the US where a cat was killed and eaten and people walk around naked.

The Liverpool-born man calling himself Tree is the main spokesperson for The Garden, dubbed a ‘cult’ by some TikTok users, which is preparing for the “collapse of society”.

Warner Bros
Tree is the main spokesperson for The Garden (pictured preparing the land for a ‘controlled burn’)[/caption]
Tree admits he only showers once a month[/caption]

The Garden was founded in Tennessee by American Patrick Martion, who claims “society needs to be burned to ashes” and his goal is “to change the whole world”.

Patrick, who was brought up in the controversial hippy Rainbow Collective, insists it is a commune rather than a cult.

The Garden claims to be self-sufficient, growing its own food and creating its own fuel.

Three years ago it became a social media sensation when some TikTok users alleged it was a cult where animals were mistreated and members were forced to work.

The controversy spiralled out of control, with anonymous trolls threatening to set fire to the bus and buildings on the 22 acre site.

On March 26, 2021, The Garden closed its doors to outsiders and for the past two-and-a-half years no one has known what is going on behind the gates of this secluded clan. 

But now they have started letting in potential new ‘gardeners’ in order to build a second commune on a 55-acre plot in Missouri.

Now a new six-part documentary series on the Discovery Channel called The Garden: Cult or Commune, follows prepper Tyler Milligan, 36, when he signs up for a life of defecating in the woods.

The Garden member Julia leads a meeting regarding what they should bring to the new Garden
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The Garden member Julia leads a meeting regarding what they should bring to the new Garden[/caption]
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The Garden’s founder Patrick Martion burning land ready for growing crops[/caption]

Ex-military man Tyler, who has PTSD and anger issues, warns: “I’m not afraid to do violence. I’ve no problem killing someone.”

Naked truth

He seems to be out of place among the members – which include a man in a cardboard raccoon mask, another called Goat and a woman who says the “universe” told her to sign up.

But Tyler was comfortable with the way those around him were so willing to disrobe at any point.

The largely long-haired group ditch all their clothes for a romp down a path and then go skinny dipping in a small lake. 

In an interview about his time on the Discovery Channel show, Tyler said: “I’m not shy. I’m naked quite a bit.”

I’m not afraid to do violence. I’ve no problem killing someone

Tyler Milligan

The Garden certainly won’t be an appealing utopia for most people.

Tree admits he showers “once a month” and viewers see him digging his own hole to go to the toilet.

The diet also includes eating food out of rubbish bins and the bulk of its fuel supply seems to come from trees cut down on the land.

There are clips of the locals setting fire to huge pyres, which appears to jar with its claims of challenging climate change.

Not all luxury is shunned because there is a sauna and pool table at the Tennessee site.


An old school bus where Garden members sleep at the Tennessee site[/caption]

There is a strong hippie vibe to the collective, which claims to be a “leaderless” community on its website which is a “place to sprout, bloom, and grow in harmony with nature”.

Many of the people are anarchists who reject authority; Patrick insists: “I’m not the leader of the group.”

But he is pushing the idea that humankind needs to prepare for an apocalypse.

Patrick, who owns the Tennessee site, says: “My prediction is that by 2030 we will see a significant collapse of society.”

He grew up in the 1970s hippie Rainbow Family of Living Light collective, which is said to be on the FBI watchlist.

The ‘peace’ gatherings still take place, despite being associated with drugs and two women being murdered on their way to one in 1980.

Cat killing

The Garden insists it is a peaceful group. But TikTokkers doubted that when Tree revealed that a cat had been caught and killed.

In the documentary he admits: “This was a feral cat that killed 30 of our chickens.

“After the cat was killed it was assumed the cat had protein so people tried to cook and eat it. A few bites of it and they found it disgusting.”

The film also reveals the level of paranoia in the camp.

Newcomer Narayah is treated with suspicion because she keeps a diary and films goings-on.

Tree calls her “Spy Narayah” and admits: “Since the whole TikTok drama I’ve been severely paranoid.”

He also believes American secret agents are “definitely on us”.

At the end of the first episode there is a confrontation between Tree and Narayah, with her calling the cops after alleging he stole her phone.

That will not please the anti-establishment group who avoid the authorities.

But Tree, who says that travelling helped to cure his Tourette’s, isn’t against all of society’s conventions.

He is married to fellow The Garden member Julia Heim, an American who plays a key role in organising the commune.

Spreading the views

The group’s ‘Poop Garden’[/caption]
Tree and Julia cook up some fries[/caption]

The couple do not spend all their time at The Garden, choosing to travel to other places as well.

The question is – what message are they spreading?

They do all seem to have accepted Patrick’s idea that humankind is heading for a deadly meltdown.

Tree states “of course society is going to collapse”, while Juila comments people are “wildly unprepared”.

The population of The Garden, which has been going for almost a decade and a half, fluctuates; it can be as little as five people or around 100.

Many left after TikTok users tried to expose what they believed was a dangerous cult, resulting in death threats against The Garden.

Death threats

Tree said a couple of years ago: “It was real threats. People were saying they were going to light buses on fire and come and really hurt people.”

Tyler, who runs a private investigation company with his wife in Colorado Springs, did not appear to be damaged by his 10 days in The Garden.

Although, it doesn’t sound appetising. He said: “I found myself happy living in a tent and eating garbage.

“It really made me think about what I’m doing with my life.”

The Garden: Commune or Cult airs on the Discovery Channel on November 15 at 9pm.

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Julia, middle, with her husband Tree (right) in The Garden[/caption]
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Moon plays the guitar by The Garden camp fire[/caption]
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Tom tending to the chickens, which are kept for eggs and food[/caption]
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