Herb Society events 2016

It’s May and the sun is shining on herb gardens around the country

A great time of year to get out and about for herbal inspiration

RHS Flower Shows

Chelsea Flower Show this year is 24-28 May. The Herb Society doesn’t take a stand at this event, but we can guarantee a profusion of herbs! For example former Herb Society President Jekka McVicar has designed the St John’s Hospice garden entitled A Modern Apothecary. Herb exhibitors include Hooksgreen Herbs, run by our own Chairman Malcolm Dickson and his family. Another Chelsea regular is Downderry Nursery, the well known lavender grower.

The Herb Society has had a strong showing at RHS Tatton Park Flower Show in Cheshire in the last few years, with our stand scoring a Silver Gilt medal in 2014 and a Silver in 2015. Although we are not exhibiting this year, again it’s bound to be a great show for herbs – visit from 20 to 24th July 2016.

herbs for tea tatton flower show

Detail from the Herb Society exhibit at Tatton 2015. Image credit Peter Depledge

Herb Society Summer Gathering and AGM at Cressing Temple FREE to members

On 30 July 2016, starts at 10am, Free to Herb Society Members

Cressing Temple, between Witham and Braintree in Essex, has the most fantastic and unique buildings and gardens.  Given to the Knights Templar in 1137, its Grade I-listed Barley and Wheat Barns, built in the 13th century, are among the oldest timber barns in the world and few surviving Templar buildings in England.
cressing temple herb garden Jan 2015

Cressing Temple and its herb gardens from the air

Among Cressing Temple’s gardens, the Walled Garden is faithfully reconstructed as a Tudor pleasure garden, featuring an extensive collection of herbs commonly grown in 1600 – one of few in the country.
The Herb Society’s summer gathering and AGM is kindly being hosted by Friends of Cressing Temple Gardens.  To coincide with this event, on the weekend of 30 and 31 July, Cressing is holding a Healthy Living and Wellbeing Fair.
The event kicks off at 10am in the conference room with refreshments on arrival followed by the AGM.  For lunch, you can have a bite to eat at The Barns tearoom (www.trooms.com), picnic in the grounds or purchase food at the Healthy Living Fair.  You will have the afternoon to wander the fair which continues until 5pm.
herbs cressing temple Knot garden

Herbs in the knot garden at Cressing Temple

As an Herb Society member attending the AGM you will have free entry to the Fair which will include plant stalls, talks and demonstrations, including a firing of a 19th century bread oven and demonstration of traditional bread baking.  The Herb Society will take a stand reflecting the history of the Tudor Herb Garden.  There will be a modest entry charge for those not attending the AGM.
To book your place please email info@herbsociety.org.uk marked for the attention of Nicky our organiser.
We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Herb Society Members’ Day at Dilston Physic Garden

On 8 October 2016

 Do keep this day free for a visit to this relaxing and educational spot near Corbridge, Northumberland. Dilston Physic Garden is a charity with a unique and modern physic garden set up for the public and educational purposes. Individuals, groups, schools, colleges and universities visit to learn about the health benefits and medicines from plants.
The garden is separated into herb beds each with their own specific areas of interest, from woodland to culinary, from a medicinal meadow to the Time Space Zone taking you through medicinal plants of the past and from around the world. At Dilston you will discover plants used in traditional herbalism along with the latest clinical, chemistry and biology information that sits behind the folklore.
For our special members’ day, not only will there be a tour of this fabulous site, but also talks by Ross Menzies and Nicolette Perry about medicinal herbalism and plants for the brain. Places are limited and cost £20 per Herb Society member.
To book your place please email info@herbsociety.org.uk marked for the attention of Nicky our organiser.

 

Local events

There are many more garden festivals and events up and down the country this summer. The Herb Society supports a network of local groups, so do check your local branch to see if they are planning an event. A list of local herb groups is listed in our journal Herbs, which is posted out to all members, or contact us to find out more.

If you are planning an event, or know of one that other herb enthusiasts might be interested in, do please comment below or email ruth@herbsociety.org.uk for a mention on Facebook or Twitter.

 

Herb Society AGM 2015

Ryton Organic Garden in the sunshine

The Herb Society was very lucky with the weather for this years AGM which was held at Garden Organic near Coventry.

Herb Society day out in pictures

Thank you very much to Nicky Westwood, Penny Asquith-Evans and and Gwenneth Heyking for sharing their lovely pictures of the day! Click on images to enlarge.

Successful garden tour, talk and AGM

Events co-ordinator Nicky Westwood reports:

Despite the recent poor weather, the sun shone on the Herb Society AGM on Saturday 26th September. There were 29 attendees in all, and they were greeted by a range of teas, coffees and herbal teas – even local honey as a sweetener! With full attendance the AGM started at 11.30. We were sad to see Barbara and Peter Depledge leave us after all their hard work and success. Malcolm Dickson was formally elected as Chairman, and took us through the agenda. Some questions were raised about the location of the Society, the library and the managing of local groups. When the business of the day was over, members settled into a very nourishing lunch of various wraps, fries, and raw slaw with orange dressing. We finished with a mouth watering selection of cakes. Toby Buckland, our President, had driven all the way up from Devon. He gave an interesting and varied talk on the plants he has grown, rounding off with anecdotes and histories, including Pliny’s view of rocket! Everyone chipped in and asked questions. Afterwards we were taken by one of the gardeners around the Organic Gardens – which are beautiful and tranquil, with interesting and unexpected features, such as the Cuban garden and tropical greenhouse. Toby dug the first sod of the new herb garden, to our applause and laughter. There was still a buzz in the air when we all picked up our goodie bags (jute Herb Society shopping bags stuffed with good things) and left. End of an excellent day.

Thanks Nicky for organising a great event, and thank you to James and all at Ryton for hosting it! And thanks to herbfarmacy.co.uk and daisyshop.co.uk for contributing products to fill the gift bags.

Find out more about Garden Organic by reading a previous post about a Herb Society committee visit to Ryton which took place earlier this year.

Herb Society President’s Day with Toby Buckland

A warm welcome to herb enthusiasts at Powderham

Members and their guests were invited to visit Toby Buckland at his nursery at Powderham Castle in Devon on Sat 5th Sept.

Herbs, Hedgerows & History

welcome powderham

The Herb Society was offered a warm welcome at Powderham

Recently retired Chairman Barbara Depledge attended the day entitled “Herbs, Hedgerows and History” and sent the following report:

“The day was attended by members living both locally in Devon and others from London, Macclesfield, Leek and the Midlands.
The day started with an upbeat and informal talk from Toby in the marquee on hedgerow and coastal plants found in Devon and also covering some of Toby’s favourite herbs, trees and grasses.
Our group was really amazed by the incredible extent of Toby’s knowledge – he talked for two hours without any notes. Herb Society members had lots of questions so the meeting was very interactive.

Toby Buckland speaks about herbs

Toby is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable speaker

We then had a delicious lunch in the Orangery Restaurant which presented a great networking opportunity for the group.
After lunch the group enjoyed a talk from Jan Greenland, Herb Society Fellow, on herbs from the Ice Age to the present day. Jan covered many aspects of food history and drew the whole talk to a conclusion talking about a very popular herbal beverage today…..Bombay Sapphire gin! Toby presented Jan with a herbal posy following her talk.

Jan herb posy

Toby with speaker Jan Greenland who is a Herb Society Fellow

Our final session was a tour around one of the stock plant areas of Toby’s nursery. Warm September sun shone for us as we enjoyed lots of interesting discussion with Toby on growing and cultivation tips for a wide variety of unusual edibles, shrubs perennials and the most amazing sunflowers.

toby nursery tour

Everyone who attended would like to thank Toby for hosting a really enjoyable day

All agreed it was a thoroughly enjoyable day and we would like to thank Toby so much for hosting the day. Our President is working hard to help raise the profile of the Herb Society and this has already been reflected in increasing membership numbers.
To finish the day members took away A Herb Society jute bag with gifts of soap and herbal tea.
For Toby his gift bag contained bubbly, chocolates and a herbal posy for Lisa Buckland.
Thanks Toby for a brilliant day!”

toby nursery

nursery herb stand

Fresh herb plants for sale at Powderham

Sounds like it was a fab day out – it’s great to have such a hospitable President.

Thank you Peter Depledge for the photos.

Herb Society AGM

The next event in our calendar is our AGM and members event on Sat 26th Sept at Garden Organic, Ryton near Coventry. Highlights will be another chance to meet Toby Buckland, a tour of the herb garden at Garden Organic followed by Toby cutting the first sod on the site of the new herb garden.

Full details can be found on page 8 of the September edition of Herbs magazine, or email Lynne in the office at info@herbsociety.org.uk.

Devon Herb Society

Devon residents with an interest in herbs may like to know that a new local group affiliated to the Herb Society has started in the area. Find out more at their new website:
Devon Herb Society

Our Herb Society stand at Tatton Park 2015

Thyme for Tea at Tatton flower show

RHS Tatton has just finished, and we are really pleased with the way our stand was received! The Herb Society wanted to highlight the many plants and flowers commonly grown in a British garden that could be used as a herbal tea.

thyme for tea

Beautiful garden design by Margaret Kewley with plants from Hooksgreen Herbs

Silver medal for herb exhibit

silver medal herb exhibit

Building the Herb Society exhibit

The preparations for the Cheshire flower show have taken a long time, and organiser Barbara Wilkinson has really had her hands full, particularly over the last few weeks!

herb society stand preparations

The stand was being built a good few days before the show opened on July 22nd

Gorgeous planting with herbs

The exhibit was planted to a lovely design by Margaret Kewley using herb plants from Hooksgreen Herbs. Barbara has done a brilliant job bringing it all together!

planting highlights thyme for tea

Planting highlights include ginkgo, monarda, thyme and clary sage

Dried herbs on the stand

herb stand highlights

Highlights of our stand with labelled dried herbs, herb teas,and information about our society

Press day

tatton people1

James Wong casts his eye over the stand, nervous he might be asked to serve any visitors! Stand organiser Barbara Wilkinson and designer Margaret Kewley

 Volunteers give herb advice on our busy stand

Thank you so much to all the volunteers who helped over the five day event, and in the lead up to it! We would really struggle without all the freely given assistance over the course of the show.

It was lovely to hear from volunteer Hilary Knowles last week, who feels she has gained from the experience too:

“Helping The Herb Society this week at Tatton has been amazing. I know my herbs from a growers perspective, their quirkiness, their loves and ‘hates’, but also I’ve picked up many humorous anecdotal bits and pieces along the way .. the story of “Trill” is my favourite …….

But this week finding myself chatting to so many who wanted not just to ask questions but to recount their own herbal experiences in all their glorious technicolour, I so wished for a voice recorder …. I laughed with them, shared their love and passions, sometimes their sheer endeavour … and with two .. their tears. What a rich listening experience ……. so glad to be there.”

busy herb stand

Just a few of our volunteers: June, Anne and Annie offering advice on our stand

Herbs elsewhere around the show

hooksgreen herbs

Thomas and Malcolm Dickson from Hooksgreen Herbs entered two stands in their own right, winning Silver Gilt for their general herb stand on the left, and Silver for the salvia stand on the right

herbs elsewhere tatton peter

Herbs elsewhere around Tatton: Reaseheath College exhibit; Ladywood School; Adlington Hall

Make herbal teas at home

The Herb Society produced a herb leaflet for this event if you would like to read more about making herbal teas at home.

 

Photo credits – Peter Depledge and Barbara Wilkinson.

 

Preparing our Herb Society exhibit for RHS flower show Tatton Park 2015

Following last year’s medal success

We were really pleased when last year’s Herb Society team, led by Barbara & Peter Depledge, won a Silver Gilt medal at RHS Tatton with a design for a 16th century herb garden inspired by Gerard’s Herbal, with our 1636 copy of the book available to view on the stand.

This year the theme is Thyme for Tea

chamomomile teaThis year the Cheshire flower show will be held on 22-26 July. To coincide with our theme celebrating the many garden plants which can be used for tea, we will be selling packs of herbal tea on the stand. Herb Society members will be able to take a pack free of charge, so do come along and say hello!

Medical Herbalist Barbara Wilkinson is organising the exhibit this year, and there are many behind-the-scenes activities that need to be carried out well before show week. This Spring Barbara liaised with the designer Margaret Kewley and herb grower Hooksgreen Herbs about our exhibit, and prepared an information leaflet about the use of herbal teas. More recently, she has been sourcing dried herbs, and growing some cornflowers and other herbs in her own allotment for tea-making. Last week she packed them with the help of local volunteers.

Growing and sourcing herbal teas

Barbara wilkinson cornflower cropped

Cornflower coming into flower at the end of May on Barbara’s allotment

herbal tea harvest

Herbs cut in Barbara’s allotment and ready for drying: nigella, lemon balm and vibrant cornflowers among others

barbara wilkinson wholesale teas cropped

Some of the dried herbs for tea supplied by Panacea and Herbs in a Bottle

medical herbalist barbara wilkinsonBarbara says,

“I hope people will enjoy reading about the garden theme ‘Thyme for Tea’ when they get home and remember their visit to the stand and of course HS members can have the added advantage of tasting their free herbal tea in the peace of their own home.”

She adds,

“…we would appreciate members coming to the stand as we would like their feedback on the display…I hope to have a book they can write in with memories of the show.”

 Herb grower assists with exhibit

herbs growing hooksgreen nursery

Herb plants being grown for the exhibit at Hooksgreen Herbs; arbour delivery arriving for the stand

Packing herbal teas

tatton herbal tea volunteers

Happy volunteers packing herbal tea: (L) Margaret and Caroline; (R) June, Pat and Annie

Join the Herb Society

herb society membership pack

Members joining at Tatton will receive a free jute bag and pair of herb snips as well as the usual benefits such as subscription to Herbs magazine. Currently members joining by direct debit receive fifteen months for the price of twelve

 ***Find out how we got on at the show in the next blog post***

To find out more about Herb Society membership, please open the pdf of our leaflet with prices and benefits (link top right of this page).

Bowood House Garden Festival

Emphasis on Herbs at Bowood

Last weekend was Bowood House garden festival in Wiltshire. It is one of two garden festivals organised by Herb Society President Toby Buckland, the other one being Powderham in Devon. Bowood is a grade I listed Georgian country house with interiors by Robert Adam and gardens designed by Capability Brown. The large event boasted over a hundred stalls, and speakers including James Wong, Anne Swithinbank and Roy Lancaster.

bowood house

Plant stalls in front of Bowood House, Wiltshire

The Herb Society stand

peter depledge bowood toby barbara

L-R Volunteer Carrie Pakenham,  Chairman Barbara Depledge and President Toby Buckland. Photo courtesy Peter Depledge.

herb society stand bowood

The Herb Society stand

The Herb Society stall was very well attended, thanks to Toby’s cheerful and persistent promotion throughout the weekend! As well as membership information and herbal expertise, toiletries by Littlecote and our friends at Cooks Lane Herbs were available to buy, as well as Elizabethan potpourri and lavender bags from Daisy Gifts Ltd.

The stall was run by Barbara and Peter Depledge, who would like to thank volunteers Kathryn Flegg and her daughter Ellen, Janet Turner, Liz Tomlin and Carrie Pakenham for all their hard work over the weekend.

The Herb Society would like to welcome all the new members who joined at the show and received our new welcome pack. We look forward to meeting you again soon!

Herbs in the Speakers Marquee

Inside the speakers marquee, Toby gave a very interesting talk on herbs, kindly plugging Herb Society membership in the process. He followed Jim Buttress (BBC Big Allotment Challenge judge) onto the stage.

preparing for talk

L-R: Toby preparing for his talk; Jim Buttress signing autographs

toby promoting herb society

Toby kindly promoting the Herb Society before his talk

I learned many things in Toby’s talk – nuggets such as: fennel gives off a hormone deterring other plants; Stephenson’s Rocket was named after the herb; add sweet cicely when cooking rhubarb to reduce the amount of sugar needed; use hairy mint in your mojito; herbs flavour intensify when you reduce watering; grow sunflowers to break up clay soil, and finally – how not to confuse parsley with hemlock!

More Herb Stalls

herb stalls bowood

Clockwise from top left: Jeanette, Malcolm, Kirsty

I was pleased to meet Jeanette from Blackdown Hills Lavender who had a fabulous stand full of lavender bags and treats, and won a trophy for Best Hat in Show! It’s always a pleasure to catch up with Malcolm at Hooksgreen Herbs, who had a large stand full of very healthy looking herbs. It was lovely to meet Kirsty from Devonshire Lavenders and Herbs, who had an impressive range too, and had very much enjoyed exhibiting at Powderham a few weeks before.

herb growers

Elsewhere around the show

around bowood garden festival

Clockwise from top left: fab willow sculpture by Clare and Alec Turner at In Clover; plant a pot with the kids; me enjoying a glass of Buckland’s fizz; sweet Williams for sale; flower stand by Sara and Saffron of myflowerpatch.co.uk and bath-flowers.com; strawberries and clotted cream

herbs garden festival

Herbs dominate the stage at Bowood House garden festival

Thanks Toby for a great show!

Out and about with the Herb Society this Summer

This Weekend is Powderham Castle Garden Festival

This event is organised by new Herb Society President Toby Buckland, who has a nursery nearby. Toby has already been very supportive of the society, and there will be many herb-related activities at the event. Powderham is near Exeter, so if you are in the area Fri 1st May or Sat 2nd May 2015, do pop in and visit the lovely volunteers on our stand!

powderham toby

The press release announces:

“Toby Buckland is the new President of The Herb Society, an internationally renowned educational charity, so as part of the festival we are celebrating history, fragrance and flavour of these plants. The Herb Society are bringing a 1636 leather-bound volume of Gerard’s Herball, giving visitors an opportunity to view this 400 year old book, on a rare outing from the Society’s vaults. The St Nicholas Priory “Tudor Herbal Wives” will be demonstrating their many uses and Toby will be discussing practical modern applications of herbs with useful tips and ideas on growing and enjoying them.”

RAMMTudorHerbalWivesby Matt Austin

For tickets and more information, visit tobygardenfest.co.uk

Bowood House Garden Festival

This is another event organised by Toby. Bowood House is in Wiltshire, and the festival will be on 5th and 6th June 2015: find out more via the above link. Again, there will be a strong emphasis on herbs, and a Herb Society stand.

toby buckland bowood house

Image credits for all the above: Matt Austin.

How it went: Read about this great day out for herb enthusiasts

RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

The Herb Society always has a strong showing at this event, last year scoring a Silver Gilt medal. Do come along a support this event, on 22-26 July 2015 in Cheshire.

Medical herbalist Barbara Wilkinson is organising this years stand in the National Plant Societies and Plant Heritage Marquee, and the exhibit will be called “Thyme for Tea”.  The planting will be on the theme of herbal teas, with information available on how to use herbs in teas.
Members will receive a free herbal tea to take home!

Tickets and opening times at rhs.org.uk

Find out how we got on – read the blog post about this years stand at Tatton

Herb Society President’s Day

Members and their guests are invited to visit Toby Buckland at his nursery at Powderham Castle on Sat 5th Sept. The day will be themed on Herbs, Hedgerows & History.

For full details, members should refer to page 6 of the June edition of Herbs magazine.

September update – read Barbara Depledge’s review of this great day out.

Herb Society AGM Ryton Organic

Our AGM and members event will be on Sat 26th Sept at Garden Organic, Ryton. Highlights will be a talk by Toby and a tour of the new herb garden.

Full details can be found on page 6 of the June edition of Herbs magazine.