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.

 

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Are Hobbits Herbalists?

Hobbiton is a wonderful place to visit

I haven’t read Tolkein’s The Hobbit for a few years, but greatly enjoyed the films, so couldn’t resist the opportunity to visit the Hobbiton film set when I was in New Zealand a few weeks ago.

Herbs everywhere

Ruth at Hobbiton

Ruth at Hobbiton

The film set was built to last as a tourist attraction after the filming had finished and each home was completely believable with its own back-story…

Most hobbits are clearly gardeners. There are 44 hobbit homes in Hobbiton, and nearly every one had a beautiful front garden.

Hobbiton is a well-defined society with each home having its own character – there is even a cluster of alms houses and a communal veg plot. Fruit trees grow everywhere.

 

Gardening hobbits

herb dryer

A pretty Hobbiton house with herb dryer hanging by the front door

vegetable gardening Hobbiton

The communal veg plot at Hobbiton clearly utilises companion planting

lavender nasturtiums herbs

Herbs growing in the veg plot – lavender and nasturtiums

lemon verbena herb

Another herb in the vegetable plot – lemon verbena

salvia herb

This Hobbit likes salvias

echinacea herb grown by hobbits

I saw quite a few front doors with an echinacea plant nearby – Hobbits see the importance of boosting their immune systems!

herbal tinctures

Was this Hobbit responsible for herbal tinctures and decoctions?

beneficial pollinators

Beekeeping not only provides a source of food, but also beneficial pollinators

decorated gourds

Hobbits have time for natural crafts such as decorating gourds

bag end front door

Bag End is the most important house in Hobbiton and has a beautiful front garden with echinacea

hobbits grow fruit

Fruit growing in front of Sam’s front door

sams herbs

Sam has left his waistcoat outside. He has a bunch of herbs drying by his door.

greenery at hobbiton

I commented to my travelling companion that I would prefer a water-front apartment if I were a Hobbit!

 A great afternoon out for herbalists and non-herbalists alike!

Visit Plantasia at Kew for Herb Heaven

Herb information in abundance at Plantasia

I visited Kew in the first week of June with friends, not realising that Plantasia was on. It’s a really informative project, with signage everywhere, explaining the usefulness of a variety of plants.

Experience the life-enhancing power of plants at the Kew Gardens Summer Plantasia Festival until 7 September 2014.

Of course we made a bee-line for the glasshouses, and the herb garden was a must.

kew glasshouse

Kew glasshouses

 

The herb garden at Kew

Although of a manageable size, the herb garden was packed with informative signs, not just about individual plants, but also the uses of herbs, such as traditional strewing herbs and herbs thought to ward off the plague in times past.

Kew garden herb borders

Kew garden herb borders

 Many wayside flowers have had herbal uses

These common flowers were all thought to have their uses:

cranesbill herb info

Cranesbill with herb info sign

According to the sign, Geranium pratense was known by Gerard as Crowfoote cranesbill, and in 1597 he wrote:
“Cranesbill with the Blew Flower is an excellent thing to heale wounds.”

oxeye daisy  herb info

Oxeye daisy info sign

Leucanthemum vulgare or Oxeye daisy:
“The juice, decoction, or distilled water, is drunke to a very good purpose against the rupture or any inward burstings.” Gerard 1597

Personally, inward burstings are not something I think about on a daily basis!

bistort herb info

Bistort plant info

Polygonum bistorta or Snakeweed:
“Both the leaves and the rootes of Bistort have a powerfull facultie to resist all poyson.”
Parkinson 1640

The bumblebees were working in force when we visited. They loved the Salvia officinalis inside the herb garden, and also the lavender beds in the adjoining Queens garden.

Kew bumblebees on herbs

Bumblebees on sage and lavender

 Outside the Herb garden

Wandering elsewhere around Kew, we came across many more information points, for example Houttuynia cordata was signposted in the borders as being a plant of much importance to Chinese medicine, having antibacterial properties.

houttuynia cordata plant info

Houttuynia cordata herbal properties

As part of Plantasia, there was even a gin bar serving a selection of botanical alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, with recipes to try at home.

around Kew

Candelebra primulae and refreshments at Kew gardens

A variety of useful plants are featured in this festival: find out more about them on the Kew Gardens website.