Kathi Keville is the director of the American Herb Association, operates Green Medicine Herb School, is a speaker, an educator and a member of several nationally recognized herbal/aromatherapy organizations. She is authority in the subject and is internationally known for her work in aromatherapy and herbs. In addition to over a dozen other titles, Ms. Keville now brings us The Aromatherapy Garden.
This book begins with the introduction to the author and to fragrance. The reader learns what brought Ms. Keville to the garden and how people, in general, have been influenced by natural fragrances, throughout history. The reader will learn the difference between the scents in the garden and the bottled aroma, how that is extracted and what is important to look for in getting quality fragrances.
Different than many books of the subject, this book takes the reader into the “mind” of the plant. They learn why these beautiful plants have these specific fragrances, and colors. What these qualities are used for and how they change based on the environment and possible threats.
Pollination is a key part of the life cycle of flowering plants. The reader gets a real look at which pollinators are key to which type of plants, what insects you can expect with specific gardens, and how insects help or hinder the growth, the fragrance and the survival of different plant species.
Further reading, unlocks the reader to knowledge into the specific advantages different fragrances can have on mood, well-being and other areas of our lives. Ms. Keville introduces the reader to some specific recipes that they can use in their own gardens and homes. She also helps the reader to identify which fragrances are used in aromatherapy to help with such things as depression, anxiety, memory, love, and general well-being. The reader will take a closer look at how different gardens, throughout the world, were used as a place to make decisions, court for possible marriage, have peaceful negotiations, etc. Ms. Keville shows how these gardens were designed to assist in more ways than a beautiful landscape. It is their fragrances that were used to set a mood and atmosphere for important work to be done.
Aromatherapy enthusiasts will get some different ideas from Ms. Keville on how to use and preserve their own collection. The reader will find the best ways to hang and dry for preservation. They will get some ideas on use in terms of potpourri, oils, herbal vinegars, etc.
Ms. Keville finishes the book with a helpful guide to specific plants. She calls these “classic” plants for the fragrant garden and offers some advice for planting conditions. Each plant is given space for folklore of the species, tips, zoning and much more information to help the reader choose the best plants for their own gardens.
This is a beautifully illustrated book with lots of colorful photographs of plants and gardens discussed in the book. The pictures are useful in helping the novice to identify some of these plants in their native lands. It is also very useful for more experienced wild crafters who may want to look up details on specific species they have found and want to harvest. I would recommend this book as a necessity on the book shelves of herbalists, wild crafters, gardeners, aroma therapists, and anyone else interested in fragrance, flowers, and landscaping of all expertise.
~review by Keri Nichol
Author: Kathi Keville
Timber Press Inc, 2016
p. 276, $$24.95