Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

All Day Garden Workshop – April 2, 2011

January 4, 2011

Class fee:

Early registration – $50 per person

After March 1st – $60 per person

**There is a class limit of 30

Please contact to register for this workshop or call 770-289-2301

This workshop is designed to cover all the basics for a successful gardening season.  There will be door prizes and drawings throughout the day, adding to the assortment of tools needed for starting your own garden.  A packet of information will be available for each workshop.

Lunch will be provided by the Lazy B Farm “chefs” using items from our own gardens.

Workshop Schedule:

7:45 am: Meet and Greet

8am – 10: Square Foot Gardening

10:15 – 12:00 pm:  Herbs

12:00 – 1:00:  Lunch    Guest Speaker – Salina from Remedy (herbal shop) in Athens

1 – 2:45:  Beneficial Insects     Guest Speaker – Amanda Tedrow

3 – 5:00:  Hoop Houses

Class Description

Square Foot Gardening

We’ll gather in the classroom and cover the basics of gardening, soil preparation and the technique of Square Foot Gardening.  Together, we’ll construct a square foot garden, complete with plants.


Herbs are such versatile plants, although most people only use them for culinary purposes.  We’ll discuss the best way to grow herbs, how to incorporate them into your landscape, and the herbs that grow well here in the Southeast.  As a class, we’ll harvest herbs from the farm and learn how to preserve them for future use.  We ill also discuss the more “unconventional” uses for herbs like teas and tinctures.

Beneficial Insects

I love bugs and have realized how beneficial bugs can be for our garden…if you know the good ones from the bad ones.  During this class, we’ll scour the garden and find “specimens” to bring back to the classroom.  We’ll identify the bugs, whether they are beneficial or not, and how to “organically” get rid of the bad ones.

Our guest speaker will be Amanda Tedrow who has just completed her Master’s degree in Entomology – bugs!

Hoop Houses

You may have heard of hoop houses but what is the difference between a hoop house and a green house?  What’s the benefit of a hoop house?  How can I use them successfully in my yard?

We will discuss this and more in this session.  Time permitting, we will construct a hoop house that will be perfect for any backyard.

What to Bring:

*Notebook and writing utensil if you’re the kind who likes to take notes.  (There  will be handouts for each workshop.)

* Boots and gardening gloves – you will be playing in the dirt.

* Extra clothes if you really like to get into your work.

* Coffee mug if you’re a coffee or tea drinker – helps us in our efforts to be good stewards of the environment

* Containers to carry home plants

* Water and snacks – there will be light breakfast items available in the morning

If you’d like to attend this workshop, please contact to register or call 770-289-2301


Herb Walk in NC – part 2

August 12, 2010

In July, a couple of friends and I attended an Herbal Walk taught by Patricia Kyritsi Howell.  It was held at Sunnybank Inn in Hot Springs, NC.

Sunnybank is an old Victorian home with a lot of character and original structure.  It’s beautiful!  This is the main hall downstairs.

And the dining room where they serve fabulous vegetarian meals family style.

Elmer has been running this place for a long time!  Sunnybank Inn is right on the Appalachian Trail as it makes its way through Hot Springs.  The majority of his guests are hikers who are more than ready for a great meal and a very hot shower!

Elmer has a lot of post cards and notes from hikers who stayed at his place on their way to Maine – the end of the Appalachian Trail.  In fact, that’s how Elmer found this inn – he was hiking the AT.

Saturday we spent the day at Max Patch collecting herbs. (see blog Herb Walk in Hot Spring, NC)  When we arrived back at the inn, we laid them out on the back deck to wilt and gave the bugs an opportunity to escape.

Drying Elderberry blooms…

After our lecture time Sunday morning, we were all excited about using the plants we’d harvested the day before.  We still had a little bit of prep work left to do.

No task was too menial for our knowledgeable teacher 🙂

We removed the parts of the plants that weren’t suitable for making salves and tinctures.

While we all worked, Jeanie sang a couple of ballads – it was wonderful and very nostalgic.

Ruth trying to calculate just how much grain alcohol she needed for the tinctures…

This was our work table…

And this was our answer woman…  Patricia was so patient!

Earlier in the day, we had put the Jewelweed in olive oil and heated it in the oven to make an infusion.

We squeezed the oil and herb through a piece of cloth.

And this is what was left.

We added beeswax to the oil infusion.

Then tested the consistency of the mixture.

Poured the mixture into the jars and voila!

Jewelweed salve!  This stuff is fabulous for insect bites and stings.  We use it all the time here at home and have shared some jars with friends.

What’s fascinating to me is that we went from picking plants on the hillsides….

To medicine in a jar in a matter of hours!

There is so much to learn in this field (no pun intended) and this herb walk only whet my appetite.  I met amazing women, received instruction from a great teacher, and spent quality time with my friends… surrounded by the awe-inspiring mountains of the Blue Ridge.

For more information on future herb walks with Patricia, visit her site –

Herb Walk in Hot Springs, NC

July 20, 2010

In January, when I first heard about this hike, I signed up immediately.  I’ve been interested in herbs for a long time, had an herbalist do a walk around my farm which was so enlightenly, and then heard Patricia Howell speak at the Georgia Organics Conference this year in Athens.

Once I heard Patricia, I was even more excited about this herb walk because she was going to be the teacher.  I talked with a couple of friends and asked them if they wanted to join me for this weekend.

Four of us traveled to the mountains on July 9, north of Asheville, NC to Hot Springs, NC.  Beautiful scenery, great company, and the fun anticipation of some wonderful teaching, foraging in the woods, and the making of salves and tinctures.

Friday afternoon we arrived at the Sunnybank Inn – an old Victorian home converted to a hostel for those traveling the Appalachian Trail.  ( )  Fabulous architecture and incredible vegetarian fare.  The food really was amazing!

After a delicious breakfast Saturday morning, we all piled into the cars/vans and drove to Max Patch up in the Blue Ridge. ( )

Always looking for insects, this butterfly caught my eye as soon as I got out of the van.

When Patricia got out of her car, she had this fungus in hand and was extremely excited about her “treasure.”

This is called “Chicken of the Woods” and it’s edible.  The chef at the inn sauteed and served this with Sunday breakfast and…

it was very good!

We all collected our gear and headed out on the trail, following our fearless leader.

Patricia introduced us to Jewel Weed and told us about the medicinal value of this particular plant.

This is wild Bee Balm/Bergamot/Monarda.  I have lots of bee balm on the farm but none this color.  It’s part of the mint family and quite prolific.

Any guesses?  Usnea- a species of Lichen.  This is very sensitive to air pollution and at times used to determine air quality.  Our purpose for harvesting the Usnea is to make it into a tincture for respiratory problems.

After a couple of hours on the trail, we stopped in an open area for lunch.  Hummus sandwiches with sprouts and cashews, date rolls, and fresh fruit.

So many of the women in our group had been foraging before and we saw so many plants that I’m sure I would have passed by unknowingly.

This is one of them – Indian Pipe.

Such a cool plant – no chlorophyl.

We harvested Jewel Weed to use Sunday morning.

Rattlesnake Plantain – so beautiful!

I was being hailed by Patricia to come and pick St. John’s Wort from the field.  A storm was coming and I needed one bag full!

Why did I keep looking to the crest of this hill waiting for Julie Andrews to come sweeping over the summit singing “The hills are alive….”!!

The views were breath taking…

We were asked to harvest Elder flowers.  Quite the undertaking since these bushes grew in and amongst blackberry brambles!

These gals were certainly the heroes of the day, braving the thorns and who knows what else that might have been crawling underfoot 🙂

I’m telling you, the walk through the woods, the incredible plants, the amazing views –

so invigorating!

And this wretched plant – Dodder.  However, it may redeem itself if Lydia can truly dye wool from this plant.

I’ll let you know…

A good day’s shopping.  We harvested Jewel Weed, St. John’s Wort, Usnea, Yarrow, and Elder flowers.  This is my kind of shopping…and really, isn’t shopping in stores a type of foraging anyway??

We all had such a great day!  There were about 14 of us in the group and Patricia is a fabulous teacher – so knowledgeable.  (Check out her website for all kinds of information: )

And what did we do with all these plants?  You’ll find out in another blog 🙂