Reports on talks

JUNE  Healing – ‘A little of what makes someone else poorly may do you good!’

June saw a change to our planned speaker.  Misha Norland an experienced Homeopath volunteered to give a talk on Homeopathy.  He was visiting the club looking forward to hearing Bett Partridge a medical herbalist who was unable to attend at the last minute.

Misha introduced his topic by explaining that Homeopathy relied on treating like with like.  This is a similar principle to vaccination developed by Edward Jenner in the 18th century.  Jenner observed that milkmaids who frequently caught the milder cowpox rarely contracted smallpox a disease with a high mortality rate.  He ‘vaccinated’ his Gardener’s son with cowpox and when the boy recovered tried, unsuccessfully, to infect him with smallpox.  This proved the efficacy of the technique which Queen Victoria later employed for her own children.

Herbal homeopathic remedies rely on the observation that a preparation that causes an adverse reaction in some people can be used to treat a related condition in others.  As with Hippocratic principles there is also the balancing effect of opposites like acid neutralising alkali.  Members of the Allium family – onions may irritate causing running eyes and noses in some people when handling them.  Essence from alliums are used in homeopathy to treat respiratory problems.  The alpine daisy Arnica is used in the treatment of bruises and camomile as a soothing tea or teething balm.

A homeopath will spend time understanding the symptoms and family history of a patient while devising an appropriate treatment.  Treating acute problems like teething or allergies in children is much easier that dealing with chronic problems in adults.  Misha came to Homeopathy as a single parent looking after his young son.  This developed into a lifelong career. Homeopaths are not registered and he gained clients by word of mouth.  He is sceptical of the choice of research to justify no longer funding homeopathic treatment through the NHS.


MAY  Kilmersdon Gardeners Explore how to Create a Sustainable Garden

Mark Walker is a Garden Designer with a strong desire to create beautiful sustainable gardens.  He has a long-standing commitment to cutting down the inputs to a garden to reduce the cost and the carbon footprint while promoting indigenous bio-diversity.  Exotic species in a formal garden are costly to raise, feed, water and tend.

A garden Mark designed near Weston-super-Mare is an example of sustainable planting using perennials in wide sloping borders.  Species are chosen to give a variety of colour at different seasons and planted in interesting patterns.  Choosing plants that provide good ground cover can reduce weeding or mulching can be used with a careful choice of materials.

Near Congresbury Mark has applied an alternative strategy and encouraged the growth of native plants in a low nitrogen wild meadow.  Plants have seeded and colonised what was previously an area of lawn.  There is a rich flora which has colonised the meadow including snowdrops, orchids, buttercups, stitchwort, bugle, clover, plantain, celandine, sheep sorrel, vetches and dog violets.  Grasses like bents and fescues thrive, while nettles are displaced by other species because the soil is poor in nitrogen and potassium.  The meadow which is cut twice a year is a rich area for native birds and insects.

Even in a small garden plants can be left to seed and spread. A variety of habitats that can be created to promote wildlife like a pond or wood pile.  Lower impact techniques like various types of mulch can replace weed killer and pellets to control slugs and weeds.