Post Botanica 2012 (Archive Dec 2012)

Welcome to this belated Aromatic Adventures Newsletter -sorry no space to feature an oil of the month. Some time and some miles have been travelled since my last aromatic has all centered around attending and being a speaker at the most incredible Botanica 2012 conference in Dublin. This event brought together over 250 people from over 28 countries for three glorious days when Dublin put on its finest autumnal weather in many years! Over the years I have always loved getting together with aroma enthusiasts as we all have much in common, and this event was no different! Rhiannon Harris (Editor of the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy) did an incredible job putting together an amazing team of people around her to bring together such a diverse mix of speakers and topics. There certainly was something for everyone! It was my very first trip to Ireland and I was like an excited child for most of the time. I had taken my husband with me and he kindly agreed to do all the driving as he had travelled around there before. This left me plenty of time to enjoy the gorgeous country side. Before arriving in Ireland we had been in hot and sticky Hong Kong for over a week and I always feel nature deprived when I visit there. It was a great change though to catch up with an aromatic colleague, Dawn, who runs a practice there and is an aromatic educator. Dawn was the Hong Kong ambassador for the conference. 

When visiting a country for the first time, and when time is precious there is always the dilemma as to whether to cram as much in, or seeing less but enjoying it for longer. We chose the later option and meandered our way down from Dublin to Wexford, Waterford and Cork and back to Dublin again over 6 days. An unexpected highlight was the beautiful grounds around Blarney Castlewith wonderful secrets like a witches pool, a Druids circle, and a sample of one of the rarest trees in the world called the Wollemi pine, native to Tasmania Australia and there are only 100 living adult trees world wide. 

Before Botanica Rhiannon had arranged a behind the scenes tour of the wonderful Dublin botanical gardens for the speakers. This was a great chance to meet each other and make connections as we wondered though the grounds in a perfect sunny afternoon. Plant beds were laid out showing examples of different botanical families, as well as homage to a lot of the native plants to the area. There was a great scented area with some scented geraniums and other herbs. We were trying very hard to not pick and crush the various leaves! An absolute highlight was a tour of the herbarium, and being allowed to view their most treasured herbal book dating from the 1500s . The colored plate drawings were still so vibrant. There was an old material medica cabinet which was tucked away and the medical herbalists in the group enjoyed looking at the dusty vials and opening the little drawers. Another personal highlight for me was seeing a massive wooden bound volume from almost 100 years ago which had all dozens of varieties of NZ grown ferns in it! An expected surprise in Dublin! As the only kiwi in the group I felt very proud of it for some reason and that my cell phone cover also has our native emblem on it, the silver fern and there was a great 100 year old example in the manual! More photos on the website!
The diversity of speakers was great and there isn't the space to cover them all here- have a look at the website to see what was on offer and start planning for the next one in two years!  The last print version of the wonderful international journal of clinical aromatherapy is a bumper edition and copies can be purchased from the publishers at I really enjoyed meeting Naho Maruyama, from Japan. She presented an incredible array of research relating to the effects of essential oils on superficial mycoses. 

As a relative newcomer to the art and craft of distilling it was a pleasure to hear Ann Harman's session of distilling and her comparisons of stainless steel and copper stills. Hydrosols produced in copper stills succumb less to microbial contamination  I was fortunate enough to have my stand next to Ann and her friend Krista made the most gorgeous natural perfumes. Another speaker I really enjoyed from a herbal perspective was Vivian Campbell  where she gave an overview of herbal medicine in Ireland. Another speaker of note was Andrea Butje  who spoke on using social media.

At the trade table our hydrosols were a popular hit- I had distilled some manuka and kanuka specially for the event along with some niche co distillations of lemon geranium hydrosol as the base with buddha's hand, rose and Mexican lime. Due to the demand for the manuka and kanuka hydrosols I have decided to have my own mini plantation and have planted several dozen trees purely for distillation. It will be a few months before these are ready and most distillations will be on an as required basis so customers can buy the freshest hydrosol. With my distillation I leave the essential oil in so you are getting a doubly effective product. Watch this space!

My precious Rosa damascena seem to have survived the move and the damp and windy winter with out too much trauma. They were quite overgrown when I returned home, but with a good weed, side dressing of food, composting and a good talking to, they have come along leaps and bounds. I recently started harvesting them at dawn- as this is there first flowering since being transplanted I am drying them before distilling all together. It is my favourite part of the day! These will be co-distilled with organic lemon geranium hydrosol.
All the best for a aromatic festive season- next newsletter out in January 2013! I will be reviewing rose oil- there is always something new to enjoy about rose oil! On a final note my Aromatic Adventures Home study modules are undergoing a rewrite and update ready for 2013 relaunch in a slightly different format.
All the best for an aromatic festive season- post your seasonal favourite uses of essential oils on the blog- it's great to share!


Aromatically yours!
Wendy Maddocks

Link to presentation here

Link to Workshop here

Tags: botanica  research  

Posted: Tuesday 4 January 2022