The Gardens at Gantz sponsored its annual Herb Symposium titled “HERBAN RENEWAL: Bringing Herbs into the 21st Century,” held March 28 at the Evans Center in Grove City. Attending were 124 gardening enthusiasts from Ohio and Indiana, as well as the president of the National Herb Society. Pickaway County Master Gardener Volunteers participating were Loren and Cheryl Van Deusen, Mary Jane LaLonde, Lisa Feldman, Jane Adkins and Jeanette Gerhart.
Speakers included Rod Pritchard, president, Central Ohio Beekeepers Association of Columbus. He presented seven reasons for people to keep bees and shared the annual value of insect-pollinated crops; mites and diseases that devastate the bee population; there are 4,000 species of bees in North America; various reasons for bee hive colony collapse disorder; and many other facts about bees and other pollinators. “Make changes in your gardens – think like a bee! Provide season long sources of pollen and nectar for the bees.”
Dr. Mark Miller, education manager at Franklin Park Conservatory of Columbus, spoke about “The New American Potagers,” the American version of the popular French small ornamental kitchen gardens in which flowers and herbs are interplanted with vegetables. A potager garden is recognizable by its geometric, repetitive patterns, surrounded by low hedges. Companion planting was discussed, with reference to the 3-Sisters gardening technique (corn, beans,squash) employed by our Native American Indians. Reading suggestions were “Designing the New Kitchen Garden” by Jennifer R. Bartley and “Edible Landscaping” by Rosalund Creasy.
Carol Mundy is a naturalist, speaker and writer from Cincinnati. She presented “The Unique History of Weeds and Herbs,” discussing 14 common “weeds” of today, noting their herbal history, their positive and negative attributes, and comparing them to the herbs of 200 years ago. Reading suggestions were “Wild Flowers of Ohio,” “Gerards Herbal Guide,” and “Medicinal Plants & Herbs.”
Brooke Sackenheim, manager and teacher at the Herb Education Center in Gahanna, discussed the basics of salting, drying, dehydrating and freezing herbs, and how to utilize herbs in oils, butters, salts and sugars, honey and syrups. Reading suggestions were “Herbs & Spices: A Cook’s Reference” by Jill Norman and “Medicinal Herbs: A Beginners Guide” by Rosemary Gladstar.
The Ohio State University Extension (OSUE) Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) Program is an educational program designed to meet the needs of Ohio citizens. Its purpose is to train volunteers and utilize their expertise to teach people more about plants and pests, their culture and their importance to the environment and to our quality of life.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal