Internet resources for herb enthusiasts

Herbs around the web

The web is a great place to find information but there are almost too many places to look! Here are some favourite places for finding out about herbs.

Our Herb Society pages

Our new website

The new and improved Herb Society site is now up and running at herbsociety.org.uk – so do check out the exciting new design and easy to use format. If you’re not already a member, there is a list of membership benefits and how to join – don’t forget we accept membership from around the world! More information will be added to the website as it develops. The Members Area has electronic copies of the Herb Journal and E-newsletters, and coming soon will be exclusive offers and discount codes.

new herb society website

Plus don’t forget to check us out on social media:

Pinterest

Pinterest is a way to collect together related articles around the web, each one represented by an image. Click on the image to read the article. Our Herb Society treasury of advice and inspiration is growing, with more links appearing regularly. Find us at pinterest.com/herbsocietyUK

pinterest herb society boards

Facebook

We post on facebook about twice a week so if you’re one of the billions of facebook users worldwide, why not like our page and keep in touch at facebook.com/herbsocietyuk
herb society facebook screen

Twitter

Follow herbsocietyuk on twitter for daily event news and herby tips or follow this link: twitter.com/herbsocietyuk
twitter herb society pic

Other Herb websites

The National Institute of Medical Herbalists, NIMH

Whereas the Herb Society strives to promote all aspects of herb use, the NIMH specialises in herbal medicine. Although their website is aimed primarily at connecting medical herbalists with potential clients, there is a great wealth of information on there about what they do and how they can help. Check out their links page for lots of general herb sites to visit.  Visit nimh.org.uk

RHS advice pages

The Royal Horticultural Society has a large online presence, but this comprehensive list of hazardous plants may be of particular use to anyone considering the use of a garden plant as a herb: rhs.org.uk Hazardous plants

Herb blogs

Sarah Head is a very knowlegable trainer in herbal medicine and has a wealth of recipes and information on her blog, as well as links to many other interesting herbal blogs: kitchenherbwife.blogspot.co.uk

Debs Cook ran our website for many years and has a very informative blog at herbal-haven.co.uk

Shopping for herbs

Many previous Herb Society Presidents have some sort of online presence. Check out Sarah Raven for general gardening; Jekka McVicar’s Herb Farm for herb seeds and gifts, and Toby Buckland’s nursery at Powderham near Exeter is currently developing its online shop.

For potted herb plants try Hooksgreen Herbs and for a specialist lavender grower try Downderry nursery – both these growers have won numerous RHS awards.

Your suggestions for herb websites

We do not receive advertising money for any of these links and do not claim that it is anywhere near a complete list!

Do you know a good website or blog for herbs? Do leave the address in the comments section below with a reason why!

We don’t take responsibility for the accuracy of advice or information provided on other sites.

Update

Former Chairman Barbara Depledge contacted us to recommend The Herb Society of America (not to be confused with our own website address as they are very similar) and Learning Herbs – thanks Barbara!

Do add your suggestions at bottom of page!

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Book review | A Handful of Herbs by Segall, Pickford and Hammick

A Handful of Herbs

A modern herb book

herb book

When I received this book from the publisher, I was immediately tempted to flick through, drawn in by the lovely photography by Caroline Arber and William Lingwood.

A Handful of Herbs has the subtitle Inspiring ideas for gardening, cooking and decorating your home with herbs.

It is divided into sections on Super Herbs, Gardening with Herbs, Living with Herbs, Cooking with Herbs, and an A-Z of Herbs. There is also a useful list of suppliers at the back, covering herb seeds, live plants and dried herbs, with UK suppliers conveniently separated from those in the US and Canada.

Super Herbs

In this section, Barbara Segall looks in detail at her top twenty herbs, describing their uses and growing requirements. This section would be a good starting point for gardeners looking for inspiration for herbs to grow.

Gardening with Herbs

As well as a basic “How to grow herbs”, garden expert Barbara also discusses using herbs in different contexts such as within a border. In the section on ground cover, the idea of creating a chamomile seat is briefly discussed, and I would personally have loved to have seen photos of this as a possible garden project. Also under ground cover was a useful explanation of which plants will withstand being trodden on if used in a path. Other sections include hedging, containers, and growing a collection of herbs. Only a couple of pages were devoted to the kitchen garden, but they were packed with tips, and individual growing instructions for plants had already been given in other chapters. I found it useful to read about growing herbs indoors, because although it can be very handy to keep a pot or two on the kitchen windowsill, this isn’t always the optimum situation for the plant!

Living with Herbs

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As a bit of a crafter, I particularly enjoyed the Living with Herbs section, which contains tips on using herbs for the home, such as potpourri making and home fragrance. One tip I liked was the idea of using dried herb bundles to light your winter log fire: a waft of summer during the darkest months! There is a wealth of tips in this chapter, such as how to use herbal cleaning products and insect repellents, make herbal table centres, wreaths and garlands, or scented writing paper decorated with pressed herbs. The section also goes briefly into cosmetic products, providing simple recipes for handcream, toner and lip balm among others.

I would have thought that anyone with an interest in herbs would find a few projects they would like to try themselves!

Cooking with herbs

There are 35 recipes in this section. I was particularly taken with the idea of making my own soft herb cheese from yogurt, and will definitely try the quick and easy pasta recipe with pine nuts, rocket and ricotta. Great tips include infusing your hot milk with mint leaves before using to make hot chocolate!

A-Z of herbs

In the A-Z section, Barbara Segall has compiled a list of 75 of the most popular herbs, with a paragraph for each on growing tips and their uses. With so many to choose from, even the most experienced gardener is bound to find something new!

herb book

Find out more about this herb book

I found this book overall a good and accessible read. I am an experienced gardener and keen crafter, but found many useful nuggets of information that I will be able to use. I think the high quality gardening advice given here would also make it a handy read for novice gardeners.

A Handful of Herbs by Barbara Segall, Louise Pickford and Rose Hammick is published by Ryland Peters & Small and is available from Amazon and all good book shops – the hardback cover price is £12.99. The first few pages can be previewed by following the Amazon link. This book was first published in 2001, and the 2016 edition has been fully revised and updated.

Barbara Segall is editor of the journal Herbs, which is sent out quarterly to Herb Society members. Find out more about the society by downloading the leaflet, top right.

Our Herb Society email newsletter

The first Herb Society newsletter went out recently

All about the herb samphire

The herb samphire grows wild near Nicky Westwood’s house in Jersey. Nicky has been associated with the Herb Society for many years, and was the administrator for some time. She is now writer of our occasional e-newsletter, which is intended to be delivered in between issues of Herbs magazine. Sample the first newsletter here with a samphire recipe:  herb society newsletter 1.

Herb Society writer Nicky Westwood

Nicky

The newsletter is currently restricted to members only, and the first edition went out to all Herb Society members who had provided their email address when joining.

Sign up for future issues

If you are a member who has not received a newsletter, do check with Toni in the office at info@herbsociety.org.uk to make sure we have your current email address, and make sure you add us to your safe senders list so future mailings don’t get trapped in your spam filter!

If you are not a member and would like to join or find out more about the benefits of membership, please download our new Herb Society Leaflet, which has membership rates and an application form.

More about Nicky

“My favourite place in Jersey is the ancestral home (three generations, anyway!), right on Pontac bay, with a Martello tower at either end of the bay, and also one out to sea.  This is where I came on holiday as a child, running around building sand castles on the beach and teaching myself to swim in the shallows.  Sea lavender and see spinach grow wild in the garden – when allowed!”

seaside herb garden

The view from Nicky’s garden

high winds march garden

The weather can sometimes be a challenge

jersey beach

Glorious sandy beaches near Nicky’s house

 

We are looking forward to hearing more about Nicky’s herbs in the next issue!

 

*By the way, we hope you like our new logo! This is the precursor to a fantastic new and easy to use main website which is in the final stages of construction.

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