Herb versatility focal point of third gardeners talk

Published 1:43 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Carey Reeder | Staff Writer

The Chilton County Master Gardeners had their third installment of their Talks in the Demo Garden series on Sept. 6 and featured the herb garden at Chilton Regional Research and Extension Center.

Sharon Hosch and Betsy Smith gave the presentation to attendees together, and both have a passion for herbs. The two discussed the different ways herbs can be used such as cooking, medicinal purposes, aroma therapy and decorations.

They described the difference between herbs and spices, meaning spices come from the stems, seeds or other part of the plant, while the herbs are the leaves or flowers that grow on the plant.

“You grow it, and you use it,” Smith said. “(Herbs) are pretty easy to grow. Once they get established, just let them go.”

Smith and Hosch both touched on how to know which herbs are good for consumption and which are for medicinal use. Both are members of the Herb Society of America, and they said new members are more intrigued by the medicinal uses of herbs rather than preparing food with them.

“To me, the herb world is up and coming,” Hosch said. “The new generation is into what is natural. They are using all-natural ingredients; which herbs are a part of.”

Smith put in an application for the extension center’s herb garden to be named a Green Bridges garden, and the garden was awarded the recognition this summer. The Green Bridges Initiative is by the Herb Society of America. It means the herb garden “creates safe passage for plants and pollinators to thrive and migrate by incorporating native plants in harmony with nearby natural areas,” according to the sign awarded to the Master Gardeners.

Smith described what herb plants were in the garden and sent in pictures for the application. The Master Gardeners were awarded with a sign commemorating the achievement that will hang in the garden, and a certificate for inside the building.

Smith and Hosch both are relatively new to the Master Gardeners program, and both gravitated towards herbs quickly. When Smith did her Master Gardeners class, she noticed everyone had their certain area of gardening they enjoyed more. The more she learned about herbs, more she enjoyed them.

For Hosch, her passion came from something she had enjoyed her whole life, and wanted to learn more about what goes into it.

“I love tea, and there are so many herbs in tea,” Hosch said. “I thought I would really like to learn how to make that … It is like growing a vegetable garden and eating what you grow. It is very satisfying.”

The Master Gardeners will hold their final Talks in the Demo Garden on Oct. 4 and will feature the shade garden. There is no charge to attended the event, but reservations are preferred by emailing chiltonmga@gmail.com.