Down the Garden Path with Joanne Shaw | Listen Now

Alan Heeks joins Joanne Shaw on her podcast, Down the Garden Path.

Episode title: Natural Happiness: Use Organic Gardening Skills to Cultivate Yourself with Alan Heeks

Podcast now available to listen to or download direct from the Down the Garden Path website.

Down the Garden Path’s description of the show

This week on Down the Garden Path, Joanne Shaw welcomes author Alan Heeks to the podcast to discuss his self-help book, Natural Happiness: Use Organic Gardening Skills to Cultivate Yourself.

About Alan Heeks

Alan Heeks is an inspiring guide to helping people cultivate their well-being through parallels with Nature. After a Harvard MBA and a successful career managing building materials businesses, Alan has spent 30 years creating nature-based learning venues, and leading groups there. In 1990, he started Magdalen Environmental Trust, converting 130 acres to a mixed organic farm. Since 1992 he has created Hazel Hill Wood as a 70-acre conservation wood and retreat centre. Alan has led many workshops with his Seven Seeds of Natural Happiness approach, including individuals, community groups, and NHS doctors.

Here are some of the topics covered in this episode:

  • Natural Happiness can help you dig deep and stay cheerful in these stormy times.
    • It shows how you can use gardening methods such as composting, mulching, and crop rotation to cultivate human nature, too.
    • A gardener applies skills like observation, patience and creativity, and you can adapt them to deal with daily stresses and big issues such as climate change.
    • Alan’s approach is positive and practical, easy to use for gardeners and others.
  • On the podcast and on YouTube, they talked about the interesting and practical exercises sprinkled throughout the book
  • The Nourish Your Roots exercise suggests trying Tree Talk.
    • Imagine yourself as a tree and consider whether all parts of you are in balance.
    • The roots, the trunk and your branches. It is a practical and helpful exercise, especially when it encourages us to do some pruning!
  • Another self-help “quickie” we discussed was how we handle compaction in our lives.
    • Alan related it to the soil in a garden, which for gardeners is a very clear analogy.
    • If our soil has good structure and is permeable then the air, heat, water, and nutrients can get in.
  • The opposite is compaction.
    • Many of us know how to handle compaction in the garden more than we know how to handle it in our lives. This book is full of these practical and thought-provoking exercises.
  • With such chapters as “Use Natural Energy Sources,” “Compost Your Troubles,” “Cultivating Community” and “Growing Through Climate Change,” you are in for a wonderful helpful book even if you are not a gardener.
  • This book also inspires the child in all of us who remember drawing trees, climbing trees and playing outside.
  • Whatever you might have going on in your life, Natural Happiness: Use Organic Gardening Skiles to Cultivate Yourself would be a wonderful addition to your bookshelf.

Where you can find Alan Heeks:

Find Down the Garden Path on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube: @downthegardenpathpodcast. You can also email your questions and comments to , or connect with Joanne via her website: