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.

 

Advertisements

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).

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.

Silver Gilt for the Herb Society at RHS Tatton Park

Herb Society pleased to exhibit at RHS flower show

RHS Tatton Park is held in magnificent parklands in Cheshire. Herb Society council members Barbara and Peter Depledge led a team of North West group volunteers to create a display typical of a 16th century herb garden. They used top quality plants supplied by society trustee Malcolm Dickson and son Thomas at Hooksgreen Herbs.

A Tudor herb garden

Herb society stand at RHS Tatton

The choice of a garden from this period was decided upon to tie in with the work of John Gerard (1545-1612), the renowned  herbalist from Cheshire. In fact, the Herb Society has a 1636 copy of his Herbal, which was on display at the show. The plants were chosen to be as authentic to the period as possible and including teasels, lavender, mullein, calendula and many other useful herbs.

The beautiful Tudor building pictured at the rear of the display is the Old Medicine House in Blackden, Cheshire which was at one time an apothecary’s house. It is run by the Blackden Trust and the Herb Society is planning further collaboration with them in the future.

Herb Society volunteers

Volunteers were very important to the success of the event, and we would like to thank everyone that took part. Peter and Barbara had a total of 27 volunteers from the North West group over the 8 days which is a fantastic response! Pictured below are volunteers Pat Sweetingham filling lavender bags and Sharon Goddard mixing a herb tea. The central photo features the Gerard Herbal, and a selection of herb products for sale.

tatton flower show volunteers

Pictured below are L-R: volunteer Peter Bowen, Rachel de Thame, Barbara Depledge, and volunteer Sue Hughes in Tudor costume.

volunteers herb society rachel de thame

Rachel de Thame visited the stand on press day and was very interested in the display, later commenting on Twitter (@herbsocietyuk) “Fascinating stand”.

A successful event for the Herb Society

A couple of days into the event, Peter was pleased to report, “the stand has been incredibly busy and very popular with lots of positive comments about our overall design/theme, the herb beds, educational materials and our products; we’ve had to restock our products twice and we’ve signed up a good number of new members!”

RHS Tatton 2014 Silver Gilt

So thank you to everyone involved for a really successful show, and congratulations on your achievement!
Thanks to Peter Depledge for letting us use his photos in this post.

Watch out for an article about the show in a forthcoming issue of Herbs magazine.

Herbs at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2014

Spotting herbs at Chelsea

I was lucky enough to get a free ticket to this year’s Chelsea flower show by helping out for a few hours at the Plant Heritage cloakroom.

I absolutely adored all the cottage style plantings in the show gardens, many given a prairie twist by adding grasses into the mix. So for 2014 we have “cottage prairie planting” – not sure if that is an existing name but it should be!

Of course I was on the lookout for herbs in particular on my visit.

jekkas herb farm

Jekka’s Herb Farm was on a busy junction but this didn’t stop the bees finding the borage!

Inside the Great Pavilion there is always so much to see.

downderry lavender

Lavender growers Downderry Nursery were celebrating another gold

Well deserved medals were on display. Hooksgreen Herbs were celebrating their Gold, and business founder and Herb Society treasurer Malcolm Dickson was in great spirits and very pleased with the level of interest the garden had received.

hooksgreen herbs

Hooksgreen Herbs Peter Rabbit Garden

Outside, the show gardens were breathtaking.

telegraph garden with herbs

The Telegraph garden with fennel and borage in the foreground

reachout garden

The Reachout garden planted with rosemary balls in a sea of flowering thyme

My particular favourite, and voted the people’s choice, was the Hope on the Horizon garden designed in support of Help for Heroes, particularly apt in the year we are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. I particularly enjoyed the contrast of the billowy catmint and bronze fennel against the granite blocks. Herbs provided a sensory aspect to the garden, purposefully planted close to paths where someone passing might receive a welcome waft of fragrance: I spotted rosemary and thyme planted in this way.

help for heroes garden with herb borders

The Hope on the Horizon garden clockwise from top left: hard landscaping with foxgloves; herbs along a grass path; grasses and irises with granite blocks; dark irises, bronze fennel and catmint

In general throughout the gardens there was a decorative use of herbs as part of a mixed planting. For example fennel was often mixed in with cottage garden plants, thymes used as edging and in stone paths, and lavender in dry areas.

Looking forward to next year already!

 

 

 

Secret Garden Sundays

Visit the new RHS London shows

Secret Garden Sundays are a new monthly event to inspire plant enthusiasts not just in growing, but also cooking, flower arranging and crafts. Join the Herb Society and many more organisations in Vincent Square on the first Sunday of every month this Summer for a wide range of stalls, talks, tastings and demonstrations.

rhs secret garden sundays

Two events have already taken place at time of writing, with shows planned for 1st June, 6th July, 3rd August and 7th September, with a Secret Garden Christmas Special on November 2nd.

secret garden sundays herb society stall

The Herb Society stand at the April event

Gwenneth (not pictured), Sylvie and Igor have been running the stand, and enjoy chatting to members of the public about all things herbal.

secret garden sundays may

Setting up the stand for the May show with a display of herb seeds

The RHS say “the Lindley Hall will give new gardeners a warm welcome, offering an informal environment where plant sales and gardening advice rub shoulders with food stalls and live music.

For those looking for handy hints and tips, there will be gardening experts on hand providing advice, cooking demonstrations, seasonal tips from top florists, and gardening and craft workshops.” 

Past exhibitors have included bakers, growers, seed companies, bee conservation, juice, nature inspired ceramics, honey, cheese and other food, roses, designers, mosaics, talks on herbs, floristry demonstrations, food tastings and creative workshops. Each event will be slightly different.

Do come along and say hello!

Find out more about the event, including location and ticketing

August talks, workshops and demonstrations