I love Sandra Kynes. She’s an insanely prolific writer whose work never seems repetitive, is always accessible to the average reader even while being scholarly, and despite my only sporadic support she always personally mails a copy of each of her new books. And you know, I don’t seem to see people talking about her as much as she deserves. I’m hopefully going to remedy that now with a Sandra Kynes book review double header. These two book go together great, and I hope after reading this little article you’ll be inspired to pick them both up!
First, get ready to get excited about gardening because I’ll be talking about “The Herb Gardener’s Essential Guide”. On the cover it also reads, “Creating Herbal Remedies & Oils for Health & Healing.” But it doesn’t do just that. Kynes takes you from how to design your garden, whether it’s a single pot or a whole backyard, to understanding your soil, recommended tools, garden maintenance, and more! Seriously, it’s like a super interesting gardening show in the palm of your hand!
Once you’re through that you get to harvest. Kynes discusses the best way to store your herbs based on type and intended use. This is also where she gets into the nitty gritty of making herbal remedies, and as usual, she leaves no stone unturned. Teas, infusions, infusion oils, infusing with essential oils, decoctions, tinctures, bath oils and salts, compresses, creams, diffusers, powders and capsules, foot soaks, ointments, salves, balms, and still more! If that wasn’t enough ways to use your herbs, Kynes also devotes time to culinary uses of herbs for good health, such as cooking oils, butters, and breads.
Then she has a nice selection of profiles for assorted herbs. It includes the herb’s uses, including precautions and contradictions, and their preferred growing environments. There is also a handy appendix that lets you look up herbs by the ailment they treat.
Maybe it’s just me, but “The Herb Gardener’s Essential Guide” got me really excited about herb and herbal gardening.
The other book I’d like to address is “Plant Magic: A Year of Green Wisdom for Pagans & Wiccans”. This book is a reminder that Sandra Kynes is one of the queens of cataloging connections and correspondences. After all, she did write the book “Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Correspondences: A Comprehensive & Cross Referenced Resource for Pagans & Wiccans”. Whereas “Complete Correspondences” covered anything and everything you can imagine, “Plant Magic” pulls the huge interconnected web in to focus solely on plants.
The book is primarily broken down into the 12 month of the year. Each month features “On the Calendar” (essentially holidays like New Year’s Day and Samhain), “In the Garden”, (highlighting plants that bloom during that month), “In the Wild” (profiling plants that can be found in the wild that month), “In the House” (offering ideas of things to do with plants that are appropriate for the month). Of course there is a handy appendix that’s a plant list/quick guide, and one full of magical correspondences. If you are a Wiccan, Pagan, or magical practitioner that’s into plants, I would call this book a must.
For more information on “The Herb Gardener’s Essential Guide”, visit here.
For more information on “Plant Magic”, visit here.