I should begin by stating that I’m a fan of the books Elen Sentier has written so far, especially the Elen of The Ways ones, although there are plenty of her books to choose from.

Is An Alternative Guide to Gardening a book of magic or of gardening? Both, is the answer!

Elen is a professional and award winning gardener, so we are in good hands with gardening advice, although this is passed on to the reader in a very special way.

The book brings together horticulture and the ‘old ways’ of connecting with the earth and plants, in a down to earth way, making it accessible on both levels, showing us how to be respectful of nature and part of it, connecting with the plants and growing what the land wants, rather than aiming to tame it.

Being split into 8 seasons, rather than the usual 4, consisting of Midwinter, Imbold, Spring, Beltane, Midsummer, Lammas, Autumn and Samhain and linking each to the Elements, suggesting an altar for each season, its plants, vegetables, flavours, magical and medical/physical herbs. It also suggests various gardening jobs for each season.

For Elen, “practicing the old ways and gardening cannot be separated”.

I found An Alternative Guide to Gardening to be a very easy, enjoyable and informative read and its size lends itself to being slipped into a pocket or bag to consult with throughout the seasons. I have read it all the way through but reading each season as it starts could also be a good way of using it.

Book Details: Elen Sentier. An Alternative Guide to Gardening. Moon Books (29 October 2021). ISBN: 9781789043730

Review Details: Gardening was reviewed by Stephen Kent for Indie Shaman magazine and this review was published in Issue 53.

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