Irish author's new book opens a mindful chapter in the garden

Horticultural therapist and writer Fiann Ó Nualláin tells us how moments in the garden can be a wellspring of inspiration

Horticultural therapist and author Fiann Ó Nualláin.

Pandemic restrictions have meant people who've never picked up a trowel in their lives are now often digging out the purple prose to describe their plots.

Because, as many will have realised, gardening is “a natural wellspring of mindfulness and wellbeing". Those are the words of horticultural therapist Fiann Ó Nualláin who has just penned a book,  Seeds of Mindfulness: 101 Mindful Moments in the Garden.

The horticultural therapist and author has won several medals and acclaim for his show gardens at Bloom, RHS Hampton Court and further afield.

Gardening "relieves the stresses of the modern world, enlivens the senses, focuses the mind, energises the body, opens the heart and radiates from the soul", he adds.

Fiann, whose writing has inspired many Irish Examiner readers, says: “To mindfully garden is not only deeply enriching, but it is also so easy to achieve.”

An advocate of sustainable gardening and gardening for wellbeing, he has also had several books published under the holistic gardener banner with Mercier Press and a mindfulness manual with Gill Books.

For the past two decades, Fiann has also worked in social and therapeutic horticulture, developing practices, programmes and courses to assist people in recovery from addiction, recovery from physical injury and recovery from psychological trauma.

Fiann has trained in cognitive behavioural therapies, mindfulness facilitation, stress reduction techniques and several holistic interventions, which he incorporates into his therapeutic work.

"Seeds of Mindfulness focuses on the mindful opportunities of common gardening activities — how the pastime of gardening can be a rewarding spiritual and healing activity,” he says.

“The book explores mindfulness as a relaxation tool, as a wellness support and as a spiritual endeavour — comparing and investigating many gardening activities to the psychological grounding and spiritual enrichments of mediation and mindful living.”

Fiann Ó Nualláin.

The pages blossom with quotes from gardening gurus and spiritual teachers.

“We automatically relax in a garden and become more physically and mentally receptive to a mindful, restorative or healing experience,” says the author.

Never has the garden has been such a solace, so this is a timely read.

  • Seeds of Mindfulness: 101 Mindful Moments in the Garden, €14, has just been released by Ixia Press and now available at bookshops and online

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