By Beth Schreibman-Gehring, Chairman of Education, The Western Reserve Herb Society Unit of The Herb Society of America
“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” — Gertrude Jekyll
On Tuesdays and Thursdays from early April through late fall, members of Western Reserve Herb Society (Herb Society of America’s Northeast Ohio unit) work their sizeable organic herb garden at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. April work begins with cleaning beds to prepare for May planting. This year, 2019, marks 50 gardening seasons for the 77-year-old unit.
Nine individual sections are part of a working garden and almost every plant is useful. Plant materials become herb blends, potpourri, teas, wreaths, baked goods, jams and jellies and so much more to be sold at the annual Herb Fair, which helps fund the garden. The 74th Herb Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, October 12, at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.
Photos aren’t nearly enough to represent the spacious, educational garden. To celebrate 50 years of the official garden, WRHS members commissioned a 42-minute video.
Members narrate the film introducing viewers to the plants, their delight, and uses. Garden visitors on Tuesdays and Thursday learn more when working members share secret stories and favorite plants. Volunteers offer tastes of culinary herbs, answer questions about herbal dyes, share recipes for herbal teas and intoxicate guests with the fragrance of the historic rose garden when in bloom.
Visitors are encouraged. As part of the Cleveland Botanical Garden, the herb garden is open every day except Monday. Members of other gardens and arboretums may have reciprocal admission privileges.