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The Holistic Gardener by Fiann ” NuallŠin - Book Review

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Joined: 27 May 2007
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Location: inishowen Ireland

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:33 am    Post subject: The Holistic Gardener by Fiann ” NuallŠin - Book Review Reply with quote

I got a small parcel delivered to me this week, which I always find exciting. Usually itís something I ordered from Ebay and forgot about. This parcel was from Mercier Press based in Cork and contained a book they thought I might like to read called ĎThe Holistic Gardener, First Aid for the Gardení, written by horticulturalist and broadcaster Fiann ” NuallŠin.

Julian in my Pocket
I donít really Ďdoí the book thing and all of my collection went to various groups years ago so the inclusion of this book has increased my collection to 1. When I was at horticultural college I had a tutor called Julian who was so knowledgeable about everything that I always wished I could keep him in my shirt pocket for him to be there permanently to get answers to my questions. My wish sort of came true a few years ago with the introduction of the smart phone. I can now get answers (usually hundreds of different ones) to most questions at the swipe of my screen and itís got the added benefit of not having to feed it and I can switch it off when it gets annoying.

Flick Through
I thought the book looked interesting so took it along to Portstewart to have a flick through while I was waiting for my lad to come up from the Atlantic where he was doing some deep sea diving. As I had a few hours to wait I thought it would make good use of my time. I generally fall asleep in the car when I am waiting for someone so this made a pleasant change.

In between naps I read more about what motivated the writer Fiann to write a book about natural first aid remedies in the garden and it seems that apart from having a lifetimes experience in garden related accidents, he saw that there was a need for a book that combined herbs, homemade remedy preparation and a garden plant reference all in one so when you run into the garden with a cut you donít have to sift through endless reference books or drip blood onto the computer keyboard or phone as you put in keywords to find a relevant page on how to treat the injury.


After a few disclaimers and recommendations about seeking professional medical help if you get bitten by rats, Fiann convinces early on that gardens have remedies for most injuries from a scratches, heatstroke, chapped hands, heart attacks, pesticide poisoning to wasp stings. Miraculously all of these can be treated on site with the plants you grow. Fiann happily tells us that the plant beside you as your work or relax in the garden can be the answer to a hive, ache or watery eye and ingesting fruit and vegetables can also build up antihistamine levels as a defence against stings and bites. Plants including calendula, sage, geranium, dandelions and roses all have their healing virtues.

As the day progressed I found myself reading chapter after chapter of the book which I initially thought would just be for reference. If you are unlucky enough to get stung by a bee or wasp or have an army of midges following your every move then fear not, the answers lie in the plants you grow. Thereís even a bit later on about after sun remedies and gardenerís knee complaint.

The more I read the chapters the more I realised just what a dangerous place the garden is, even stagnant water in a butt can give you Weilís disease. I just couldnít put the book down, even pruning a rose could be a dangerous business.
Top Tips

The book has some lovely illustrations by Sam Chelton which breaks up the text and has some good top tips such as not to burst blisters. I needed to have that put in writing because thatís what I always say to people when I see them with the pins out of the sewing box.

No Competition

I was going to give the book away in a competition, but Iím afraid this time itís not going to be. I have decided to keep it. Partly because itís the only book I have in my ďcollectionĒ, but mainly because itís a very good reference book if you need to remedy an accident in the garden.

I really enjoyed the read and itís hopefully made me a bit more cautious in the garden. I hope by keeping it, I never have the need to refer to it again. It can be a constant reminder to take things slowly and carefully in the garden.

Fastest Selling

The Holistic Gardener is the fastest selling Irish Gardening book ever and can be bought either as hardback or Kindle. Fiann is currently co-presenting on RTE 1ís Dermotís Secret Garden programme. Check out Fiann's blog or send him a tweet @HolisticG especially if you have any more remedies, I can see a sequel coming on.

holistic gardener 1.jpg
Stagnant water could spread Weilís disease
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