A Women’s Health and Wellbeing Kete, Vol II

Book Launch Dec 18th, 2020 at Viriditas, Central Otago, New Zealand

Mary Allan and I launched our second volume of ‘A Women’s Health and Wellbeing Kete’, in the Viriditas garden along with 40-50 plant people, gardeners, herbalists, friends and family. What an amazing gathering – there were some extraordinary growers and gardeners and it was fun.

WE served Elder Flower fizz, Terra Sancta’s Aperitivo Botanica, (thanks to Sarah Elliot), a delicious Anthocyanin loaded purple/red alcohol free cool drink, but it was Anna Mathieson’s finger food (vegan) that excited taste buds. It is rare that I, in all my 40 years of offering courses about plants that a course participant has brought such amazing Vegan food to our shared lunches. Anna I believe, just has an innate instinct for what works. I also believe that any non-vegan would be astonished.

I don’t normally read a book after it is published but I have with this one. Yes, there are disappointingly, a few grammatical errors and ambiguities BUT today after spending time with my ‘go to’ tree and small water pool, I realised that I was looking for/reading for something else.

I wrote most of these ‘Plant Journeys’ during Lockdown in NZ in April, 2020, and the ensuing months of Covid restrictions. I became quite sensitized to this ‘Inscape’ and its complex relationships, writing as I was experiencing each plant, each journey, searching for each plant’s wholeness, its mystery, and doing my best to connect, respect and consider.

I see it now. Each plant is unique. Connecting with each plant is a journey. Each plant has its inner world and outer  in-forming.

Mainstream Science analyses a plant’s chemical complexity but its inner world is more, much more. In holistic Science all of the individual plant’s relationships are taken into consideration and what the plant expresses in terms of itself. Ginkgo written in this Volume II expresses this so well.

Quote from Volume II re Ginkgo Biloba

Lifting the ‘veil’?

You are able to withstand the assaults on the wellbeing of all that lives (nuclear fallout, pollution) your leaves are tough (not surprisingly), but to me you represent the brains of all mammals, divided but one. There is always a dual conversation that goes on in the human brain, the right side – creative, the left side – analytical. I am seeing that you bring these two sides together, as one. The economic world that sees that they can make profit from their products, harnesses one side but if we understand or at least try to then we might just glimpse what Goethe saw that we are one and two. This brings tears to my eyes. I see Gingko biloba as an ancient one bringing understanding from the past into today’s world, being a plant of healing for our time of the dispirit ways, a time to bring together the two sides of us, the right – seeing/thinking/creating and left – analytical. I now think it is a plant for today’s world, to cross the Natural world/Human world interface, the past/present understandings.

Ka kite ano, Isla

(More on 2021 offerings – next post SOON.)


November 2020
A knowledge basket is by its nature an offering for all

One of the pluses about this very unusual year was to write a companion volume to

‘A Women’s Health and Wellbeing Kete’ A DIY Guide. Mary Allan designed and edited as for volume 1 and has transformed it into a beautiful production.

This book develops further immersions into the plant world with a focus on Women’s Wellness including nutritional and herbal help for women of all stages and ages. Case studies are included to provide further insights. Its essence is one of always considering ‘wholeness’ whether it be about a plant or a person with a health issue.

Volume 11 does refer to the first Volume and while there is much that allows it to stand alone, these two books go together beautifully and would make a wonderful gift! 

“It feels you have revolutionised plant fact-sheets by creating a ‘fact-sense-sheet’. It opens up more curiosity rather than providing concrete, fixed answers. Fantastic!”
Roland Playle
Àiteas, A Delicate Empiricism: belonging and the Natural World

You are able to pre-order your copy now

Price: $40.00 (incl P@P) for NZ ONLY. For others please contact me directly.

Gathering your Woman’s knowledge basket (Kete)

I am happy to announce my first on-line workshop. I must thank Linda Conroy for the inspiration to do this in these times where finding ‘Not Knowing as a Place of Ease’ is so needed – at least for me.
This on-line workshop is to bring participants into my kitchen and take you through preparing some of the amazing gifts that the Natural World offers. Linda will be present also asking questions, clarifying and you will also be able to ask questions.
The course fee of US$48 for this workshop that includes  a recorded interview that Linda made with me on the topic of Biophilia (the subject of my 2nd book The Biophilic Garden). She came here to participate in a ‘Plant Immersion, Incubation and Inspiration ‘ retreat. Your course fee will include a copy of my third book:  A Women’s Health and Well Being  KETE A DIY Guide  by Isla Burgess and Mary Allan.
The book will be shipped to those in the US and New Zealand at no extra cost. For those in other parts of the world there will be a fee for shipping. 
This is a great opportunity to be a part of this workshop with us both.
We are two plant lovers, two Herbalists, gardeners and medicine makers’.  More than than that we care about the Natural World.
The Workshop will deepen our understanding of herbs and their qualities that can nourish and build health.
Some of the inquiries we will make include:
~Why do we need more Silica as we age? What plants have this in abundance? How do  we extract it with respect to the plant?
~What are Anthocyanins? How can you prepare a super rich Anthocyanin drink?
~Can you make your own Cannabis root oil? Why would you want to?
And much more….
I hope you will join us.
Please register with;

April 30th, 2020

Today as I write this it is Samhain (Sowan), one of the two Celtic Fire Celebrations that later became all Souls Eve. That seems quite an important memory to hold for this ‘changing’ world when so many souls are departing the Earth.

It is also the celebration of the harvest, the end of Apple gathering and I can attest that the Rosehips – same botanical family – are best gathered before this day.

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It is also the time of root gathering and preparing.

Today in the Southern Hemisphere we welcome the dark nights and shorter days, but with ‘fire’. The fiery colours of deciduous trees and herbs (Rosehips, Witch Hazels), the fiery nature of many roots and fruits (Horseradish and Cayenne peppers) that are so important for our health and wellbeing.

Holding that thought, my latest book (A Women’s Health and Wellbeing Kete, a DIY Guide) that Mary Allan transformed with her editing, design and photographic skills into a book that has beauty and grace and is I am happy to say, popular, with over 200 copies sold. Thank you to all of those readers.

This book is a beautiful photo-rich A-Z guide expertly written to inspire women to look to their garden and into the wilds for plant medicine that will inspire, empower and uplift them, carrying them into a place of improved wellbeing.

This book is for:

The gardeners, plant lovers and plant medicine makers, the teachers and those who want to enhance the their own health and that of their families. It is for  Women of all ages and stages.

COVER FINAL DRAFT webPhoto – Cover


We are planning on Volume Two.

You can order your copy from;

In NZ and Australia

Mary Allan www.solsticeherbs.co.nz

Isla Burgess www.islaburgess.com

In North America;

From Linda Conroy www. www.moonwiseherbs.com

Elsewhere, please contact us.

The ‘thinning of the veils’ between worlds at this time and again at October 31st, is a time to re-think our contribution to the Natural World’s demise, maybe it is also an opportunity to consider how to take time to connect more intimately with the other life forms that we share the planet with. I hope so.

Arohanui to all,