For this month’s meeting, the EHS Board presents the “2015 IHS Herb of the Year” SAVORY. Perhaps you are well aquatinted with this plant but I bet there will be a few surprises. Our Board have put their energy into researching this plant genus and are going to share their findings with you on cooking, planting and medicinal properties, etc.
The EHS’s April 28th meeting at the Mounts Auditorium was packed and there simply wasn’t enough room on the Tasting Table for all donated delights our members brought to share. What a successful, interesting evening.
Mark Fairchild was the speaker and he used a fine selection of slides, illustrating “Tropical Herbalism”, of real interest to us because we live where these medicinal herbs can be grown and utilized. I recognized many of the herbs he discussed, but hadn’t known just how useful they are.
Mark, a Mounts Master Gardener, was found by our Vice President, Leslie Rigg, who also ran the evening’s meeting. Mark is a pharmacognosy (the study of medicine derived from natural sources) understudy, and I was so glad that I hadn’t missed his talk. I also want to learn much more on this subject. Visit our Herb Garden/Garden of Well-Being to see, smell and touch (gently now) a number of the medicinal Mark described. We thank him for coming to EHS and giving us such a good evening.
Our new member, Beverly Young was referred by Ginny McCreery. Ginny will be rewarded with 15 Raffle Tickets at the May meeting for the referral. With that many tickets, she will walk away with several plants, if not more. Our guests were Sara Younger, Linda Alphage, Melanie Slaymaker, Edythe Pekin, Andrea Harmon and her mother. We are so glad you joined us for the evening.
The Tasting Table was extraordinary. I was working and helping serve behind the Tasting Table and tried to get every donor and dish signed in but as you can see from the shortness of the list, the situation got a little frantic! Do try when you’re bringing food to be at the meeting by 7:00 pm. It would be a help. We do want to thank you for your generosity here in print, RECIPES are always so welcome, and we’ll put them in the Newsletter.
The name tag plant was a large, well-grown scented geranium (Pelargonium ‘Concolour Lace’) of light green, deeply divided leaves, giving off a sweet-nutty scent. When blooming, it delights with a small reddish flower. Instead of a Raffle in April, we brought trays and trays of assorted plants in 5” pots that were left over from the Plant Sale the previous weekend and let the members select a custom made assortment to make up a tray for $15.00. That was such a good price that at the end of the evening there was hardly a plant left over. However, the catnip was not in fashion this year and Ingrid Menz ended up with two trays of the herb. She forgot about the neighborhood cats and did not think her own, black cat (Bad Boy) would destroy the plants with such vengeance.
Since I don’t write this section regularly, I’d like to thank our volunteers who always lend a hand in the kitchen and the tasting table, before, during and at the end the clean-up. Equally kind are the auditorium straighteners and cleaners and trash removal volunteers, led by Mary Wickensheimer. Could not do without you, sweeties!
The Mount’s Spring Plant Sale on April 25 and 26 had two beautiful sunny days, but the temperature just kept climbing from hot, hotter to really HOT! We all admitted it was enervating, even under our big tent, filled with enhancing herbal scents and shaded on the north side by oak trees. The parking lots were certainly full, especially on Saturday, but the customers looked whipped by the heat, too, and we didn’t see as many people as usual carrying purchases. What was really needed, in my strongly held opinion, was that big purple tropical-flavored ice cream food truck that graced the Plant Sale several years ago: there’s nothing like a COLD sugar-rush when you feel you can’t keep up!
On Thursday before the sale, Mounts Past President, Dennis Hessing, our tent keeper/setter-upper, brought the tent in for the plant deliveries from Kitchen Gardens in Naples and Pinders in Stuart, trays of big and smaller herb plants, mixed bowls (always first to go) and hanging baskets. Then on Sunday afternoon, at the so-welcome new early closing at 3 pm, Dennis took the tent home for a six month rest. On Friday afternoon, Ingrid Menz, Bernard Pages and Mary Wickensheimer had the herb trays laid out in alphabetical order, ready for Mounts Members early opening at 8 am. By that time, the tent was filled with volunteers, led by Past President Brenda Skaggs, who certainly knows a thing or two about herbs, their growing, use and how to sell them. Volunteers, so many of them regulars this spring were: Kitty Phillips, Marci Green, Andra Kennah (a new member), Pam and husband Chuck Wilcox, KC Foster, Susan Colfels, Kathleen Burford, Linda Spillane, Lee Laupus, Beverly Jamason, Pam Chalker, Roberta Lima Donnie Brown and Bernard Pages.
Brenda Skaggs and Kitty Phillips worked Saturday (8-5) and Sunday (9-3), they ignored the heat and sold plant after plant.
At noon, the luncheon that EHS Board Members whip up for the volunteers was laid out, and with probably the heaviest plant selling of the weekend over or slowing down, everyone dug in. It’s grand to see that many of the Volunteers who also brought food; a crispy salad, fruit, desert (oh, yes, one always needs sweets), something delicious, almost always vegetarian.
We share our lunch with Don Chapin, the Going Bananas vendor from Homestead who’s been next door to our booth for years. Don says, “I never know exactly what’s on the plate you give me, but it’s always good!” Don brings bunches of ripe bananas to hang in his tent so his customers can taste what they’re adding to their backyard fruit collection. What’s left over, he divvies up with us, so everyone goes home with “real” bananas for the table and the freezer. What a friend to have!
Sunday’s lunch eats up whatever was left over from Saturday, and some of us bring in new dishes or what was left over at home when packing up the cooler for Saturday. We take good care that we don’t starve. On Sunday morning, Mary, brings the best coffee from home. This has become her tradition and a most welcome one. Brenda delighted us with her famous Lemon Verbena Cake on Sunday afternoon.
So here’s the weekend’s accounting: A pretty plants sale with some exciting new exotics being carried out; well-fed, well-hydrated EHS Volunteers, who also stocked up on their herbs and treasures from many other vendors, too much tropical heat (but we’d complain if this wasn’t Florida); everyone went home exhausted; financially not one of our best sales. After selling the surplus at the April Meeting and subtracting our usual donations to the Herb Garden and Garden Guild, we added $976 to our bank account.
This is certainly enough to keep EHS’s budget for speakers, newsletter, Tasting Table necessities, etc., in decent shape. The Plant Sale continues to be a learning experience for us all. Who knew? The Fall Plant sale sold out of catnip right away, this plant sale we moved very little of it. Where did all the kitties go? Could it be that our customers forgot to buy the catnip and when they got home, their cat surely gave them the evil eye.
Featured in May’s monthly edition of The Coastal Star, a local, four-color newspaper is Mounts Garden Guild Nursery and its Director, our own columnist, Tom Hewitt. There’s a full page on the Guild and a fine photo of Tom in his signature sun hat and EHS member, Pam Chalker in a spiffy pink jacket. Pam was accompanied by her husband. The Star is mailed free to those who live on the east side of the Intracoastal between Palm Beach and Delray Beach. I’m on the west side of the Intracoastal so I buy a subscription because I enjoy the paper. You can always pick up a free copy of the paper at a rack outside the editorial office in Briny Breezes, east side of AIA, across from the only filling station in town. Go get a copy, reporter Deborah Hartz-Seeley has written a good introduction to the Guild Nursery, especially for those who haven’t gotten addicted to their twice-weekly Nursery Sales at the Mounts.
Join pharmacognosy* understudy Mark Fairchild for a walk through the herbal garden with a slideshow on special plants.
Mark will discuss tropical herbalism and focus on some issues surrounding invasive’s capture and those broader sustainability optioning strategies.
Get a preview on Mark’s talk visit the website www.Healthylivingtropics.org/plant books and/or www.Lampinfo.org.
*Pharmacognosy = study of medicine derived from natural sources.
Perhaps you have been the lucky one that enjoyed thunderstorm/rain showers at your address lately. The plants and the lawns are begging for it. However, I was not so lucky in my little world in Palm Springs, although there was rain around me in every direction. My patio tomatoes and the big boy tomatoes
Start potting up some herby plants; do that spring cleaning; and start baking! Bring them all to the 2015 All Things Herbal Auction. We love buying each other’s treasures and goodies. We ask that everyone who attends bring