Our circle of friends and co-conspirators

A strong and healthy hedge needs a variety of different intertwined, interleaved species in order to thrive — each adding something essential, something which is necessary to attract different kinds of wildlife to the hedge, and to provide nourishment, shelter and sustenance for the ecosystem which arises. We all need friends and collaborators — not least for the craic! Here, then, is my growing circle of friends and co-conspirators, who you’ll find supporting and contributing to Hedge School offerings in a variety of different ways.



Dr Joanna Gilar is an academic, writer and storyteller whose work explores the intersection of stories and the wild world. She has a PhD in fairy tales and ecological storytelling from the University of Chichester. From her home in Sussex she works as a guest lecturer at the University of Chichester, and spends the rest of her time looking after her young son, writing about home-making and parenting, and performing poems and stories at venues across Europe and the UK. Joanna offers an online course, ‘The Fairytale Atlas’, through The Hedge School, and has been a guest contributor to Sharon’s ‘Voices of the Wells’ course. Joanna’s website is at www.fabularosa.co.uk


Mary is a landscape gardener – but a very unusual landscape gardener, because her focus is on marrying the needs and wishes of the land’s guardian with the needs and wishes of the land itself. With her roots in natural gardening theory, Mary seeks to create spaces that are healing, truthful and magical. She is the author of the beautiful and inspiring book The Garden Awakening. Dare to be Wild, a feature-length movie based on Mary’s journey to build a gold medal-winning natural and determinedly Irish garden at the Chelsea Flower Show, was released in 2016. Mary is an occasional contributor to courses and events at The Hedge School; she’ll also be a contributor to the first HedgeWise Festival in 2019. You can find her website at marymary,ie.


Nikki Darrell, MBS BSc (Hons) Dip Phyt MIRH MIFA, is a herbalist, aromatherapist and botanist. In 2007 she founded Veriditas Hibernica, a community-based enterprise dedicated to reconnecting people with nature and especially to the plants around us. She now runs the Plant Medicine School in Co. Cork, Ireland. Nikki will be a contributor to the first HedgeWise Festival in 2019.


Andreas Kornevall grew up in South America, Sweden and Switzerland. He co-founded Working Abroad  – a non-profit volunteering and travelling site, and now directs the Earth Restoration Service Charity, which aims to enhance ecological integrity by planting new woodlands around the world. He co-founded the Life Cairn movement: memorials for species rendered extinct at human hands. As a storyteller, he works with old myths and fairy tales from the Northern and Greek mythological landscapes. Andreas will be a contributor to the first HedgeWise Festival in 2019.


Anna Leach is a writer and editor who has worked for The Guardian, Gay Star News and Time Out Shanghai. She has an MA in magazine journalism from City University. She lives in an intentional community in London, working to devise and discover ways to make living in the city healthier and happier. Anna has been instrumental in setting up The Hedge School Blog.


Marie Goodwin is a writer and recovering academic who is de-schooling herself while unschooling her two children in Media, Pennsylvania. She has a long-term passion for traditional folk knowledge and the recovery of ancestral languages and stories. You can find her some of writing on Personal Mycology and on Shareable.com. We’re grateful to Marie especially for setting up The Hedge School Podcast, and for continuing to edit some episodes; she also helps out on our Facebook page.


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