Maggie Pope
is a Medical Herbalist

Practising in
Bridgwater, Somerset

Get in Touch Maggie Pope

April, 2017

A ‘No Dig’ day with Charles Dowding…


I was just about to give up with my allotment. Somebody had sprayed my nettle patch with weedkiller and the whole area had died and turned brown with some awful chemical concoction that I had never wanted on my plot. I had been careful to hide these nettles behind my shed so I didn’t offend anybody with these weeds, but they were so useful! I used to dry the leaves for teas, and dry the seeds for making adaptogens to give an extra bit of energy. When I complained to one of the site supervisors he just told me not to make a fuss because the person probably thought they were doing me a favour…

Then, my 15 yarrow plants were dug up. I can only presume this was under the same misguided assumption that they were weeds, even though I had planted them in neat rows!

And then I get a stiff letter telling me to dig up my thin willow hedge that had been there 3 years because it was ‘not permitted’ on the site.

This coincided with a crisis of confidence about my ability to grow vegetables [medicinal herbs are easy – they are more like weeds], but I kept failing at veggies. I have 2 allotments and a large garden and I still buy a Riverford box every week – this is just not right!

I said to myself, just one more year – then I will give up my allotments. One of my problems was just keeping up with the sheer amount of weed growth… I went to the library to get out some books for inspiration, and one caught my eye;



This sounded like my kind of book. I was so intrigued on reading it that I went to his website and wondered if he did open days, and I wanted to know if he was in reachable driving distance.

He lived in Somerset!

I scanned though his events calendar to see if he had a course coming up soon.

He had one on for the next day!

And there was a space!

I emailed and was booked and was driving down to Homeacres the next day, where I spent a very enjoyable, inspiring informative day learning the no dig gardening way. Listen; Charles makes growing vegetables achievable, he has so much good advice and he laughs off all the ‘rules’ that we thought we should follow [like water plants in the evening, don’t plant root veg into compost, dig deep to aerate the soil, etc etc] and he showed us round his huge veg patch to prove it works.

So, I’m converted to the use of compost and mulch, and if you ever have the chance to go to one of his days, just go! And if you can’t, then buy his books.

A special mention must be made of the lunch Steph provided from their veg garden – they grew it all and it was delish! Charles even produced the bread from rye flour he grinds himself and makes into rye sourdough loaves.

Just go visit!



That went well….

L-R: Jonas Brab, Lisa Poynton, Julie Bruggemann, Susan Vassar, Tim Carter, Maggie Pope, Joe Nasr.

Easter School went well. The second residential study week at the School of Herbal Medicine was busy, informative and fun. All the students were in the same place at the same time, and we enjoyed teaching them Pharmacy, Herbal Therapeutics, Materia Medica, Anatomy & Physiology and Botany all through the week. It was capped off with a fun weekend with Joe Nasr from Avicenna who stayed with us for two days teaching us all his unique approach to Pharmacy which involved historic stories of drainpipes screwed to walls in the interest of pursuing excellence in herbal percolation.

If you are interested in studying with us to become a professional Medical Herbalist please visit our website at



April 2017
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