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

Isla Burgess

In North America;

From Linda Conroy www.

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,



“Not knowing as a place of ease”

With Isla Burgess, Viriditas Herbal Resources and Publishing.

I am reminding myself of this daily as my ‘safe havenising’ continues; for me this is week four. There is chaos, complexity and entropy manifesting globally.

I am making the most of the extra time I find I have, to gather, prepare, preserve, pickle and freeze both plants for medicine as well as food. The garden here, (for those who have read my regular blogs in the past and have continued as my life got busier and blog writing irregular), is now incredibly productive. I see the idea of what I wanted to co-create starting to evolve. There are more than 150 medicinal plants growing here now, planted, native and newly naturalised. Fruit and nut trees, and a myriad of food plants are now well established. Just in time I feel for this extraordinary challenge ahead.

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The ‘Traditions, Art and Science of Herbal Medicine’ courses I offer here at ‘Viriditas’ and the retreat in March, do have as a focus knowing what plants grow around us, knowing what healing they offer and how best to access that healing. This the plants offer, for the exchange of mutual respect and due consideration to their long-term survival. That is I think, how the land here, in the wilds of Central Otago attracts so many course participants.

During my time here I have written ‘The Biophilic Garden. Connecting People, Plants and Inscape’ and last year ‘A Women’s Health and Wellbeing Kete A DIY Guide’. The latter with Mary Allen, Herbalist, Photographer and great Editor. They are both available from my website. Books

I have been thinking about how to be more pro-active in this time when we are shielding ourselves from an invisible kind of life form that needs living cells to survive.


This year’s peppers

I have written the following for anyone who might just find it useful. It is available using the following link;

Staying Well in a Changing World

Isla Burgess, Viriditas Centre for Herbal Resources and Viriditas Publishing.

Stay well.

A Changing World

April 10th 2020

Some thoughts on today’s world.

Viruses such as Covid – 19  don’t just mysteriously materialise from nothing – human’s have a hand in its emergence somewhere along the line.

Whatever we think about cause does in some way depend on our ‘world view’.

Is it that the endangered Pangolin illegally trafficked carried the virus?

Is it that the virus escaped from the research facility near the market in Wuhan?

Is it one country’s plan to destroy others economic power (or other conspiratorial theories)?

Is it that the warming of the climate triggered an epigenetic change in similar viruses?

Is it that ‘Gaia’ has simply had enough of the damage human’s have inflicted on her wellbeing?

Whatever the trigger, this time of having our freedom curtailed in some way, our way of life changed, does give us time to reflect, hopefully on how we contribute to the wellbeing of the whole of the Natural World.

Knowing the plants that grow around us, how to sustainably gather those plants, how to best prepare them has never been more important. That weedy patch in your back yards likely contains more nourishment that any vegetable you buy from the supermarket.

The enormous range of nutrients and other phytochemicals  in the following ‘pesto’ is a reminder of just how easy this can be;

Autumn Herb and Wild Weed Pesto

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe secret here is to only have 1-2 leaves of stronger tasting plants and more of others.

Yesterday I picked a few leaves of Dandelion, Rocket, Baby Silver beet, Puha, Parsley, French sorrel, Chickweed, Basil, Chives, Garlic chives, Beetroot leaves, Kale leaves, Nasturtium leaves, Mint leaves, young Celery stalk and a few Calendula flowers;

2-3 leaves of Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Yarrow, Wild Mallow, Fennel, Evening Primrose leaves, young Horseradish leaf.

These are chopped and added to a blender with ½ cup of lightly toasted Sunflower seeds or Sesame seeds and 2-3 cloves of Garlic. I add 1/4c vinegar to ¾ olive oil and blend until smooth. My neighbour’s young children loved it as do all course participants that visit here.

It is hard to believe how such a mix could taste so good, as well as being totally nourishing. Eat with cheese, on salads, as a dip with carrots or crackers, with fritters or fish. Used as a spread in place of butter or avocado.

Stay well, the impact on the planet of this reduction in movement around the world, reduction in the use of Earth’s resources, might just allow us to survive as a species.


Thought for today

How can we be well if we cause suffering to other life forms?”

New Book and Tasmania visit



A Women’s Health and Wellbeing Kete

I am excited to launch this new book with Mary Allan as both Editor and Designer/Photographer. Mary has aded beauty and grace to the writing, it has been a pleasure to work with her 

This book is for
– The gardeners, plant lovers and plant medicine makers
– Those who offer plant focused teachings and workshops and those who attend them
– For those who wish to enhance their own health and that of their families
– For Women at all ages and stages
A knowledge basket is by its nature an offering for all
Publication date:
We should have it before Christmas, it is currently with the Printers.
Available from me at
Cost approx. $25.00 plus P&P
Also available from my website

Also announcing a ‘Plant Immersion, Incubation and Inspiration’ Workshop in

Tasmania in February 22nd and 23rd. 2020

Held at Pindari Farm, Longford, Tasmania!

This two-day plant directed workshop is about relationship

the relationships the plants that grow around us have with us and we have with them. It is also about both our relationship with the planet. We set the scene so we can be a participant in those relationships and not just an observer.

Whether you are a gardener, plant lover, grower, herbal medicine practitioner or student. If you are interested in how to live in a wholistic relationship with the world around you. All say they are inspired and experience something they have not previously experienced?

It is Practical, Participatory, Transformational and Experiential!!

Cost #345.00 (includes onsite accommodation)

For further information or enquiries, contact Jayne on 0455379595 or

email: or via Community Apothecary FB page