Lectures on the Herb Garden

Herbs for Fragrance and Foliage
Herb Cultivation
Herb Garden Design
Herbs to Aid the Gardener
The Herbal Habitat for Wildlife
Herbs to Grow for the Kitchen
When is a Flower Not a Flower?
The Autumn Herbal Harvest
A Weed by any other Name

If you would like to ask Tina to lecture to your group, e-mail us on Christina.stapley@tiscali.co.uk or telephone 01249 821087 for further information.

Herbs for Fragrance and Foliage

A good introductory talk on the herb garden, which is very popular. Emphasis is placed on unfamiliar uses of familiar herbs, and on extending knowledge of more unusual plants. While giving a slide tour of attractive herb areas at her own garden to select individual herbs, Christina gives tips on cultivation. The use of these herbs in cookery recipes, wines, pot-pourri, and other fragrant recipes and home remedies, finds frequent mention. Some 80-90 different herbs are shown on slides and an accompanying display table highlights a selection of herb products from Christina's garden. If wished this talk can be related specifically to herbs suitable for the herbaceous border.

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Herb Cultivation

How to grow herbs successfully. The talk offers an understanding of propagation, management through harvest, and general needs of soil character, position and companion planting for over 80 herbs. Organic methods are recommended with the herbs themselves providing liquid feeds and any pest control. Herbs suited to growing in particular conditions, such as deep shade, heavy soil, pots and troughs; use of climbers etc is discussed as part of the talk.

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Herb Garden Design

This talk looks at possible sources of early garden design ideas and follows through a brief history of the herb garden. Raised beds, knot gardens - both open and closed, herbars, arbours and less formal areas are looked at with a view to incorporating them into modern garden design. Plantings for climbers, herb hedging, pots and patios are considered. Also water margin plants and herbs for ponds and pools. The needs of individual herbs for sun, shade and soil conditions will be noted in passing.

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Herbs to Aid the Gardener

Herbs which are useful companion plants for vegetables, trees and flowers are detailed. The roles of plants in attracting predatory wildlife to eat pests and in providing health-supporting root secretions will be explored. Liquid feeds from herbs and using them as green mulch and on the compost heap complete the picture of the healthy garden. The gardener's own problems are not forgotten with relaxing teas and cures for aches and pains.

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The Herbal Habitat for Wildlife

This talk offers a tour of the speaker's garden, noting herbs which create areas attractive to helpful wildlife. Cover, nesting sites and food sources of hips, fruits, berries and seeds are included to draw birds, toads, hedgehogs, ladybirds, bees, butterflies and so on. Making a small pond and managing the life attracted to it is touched on briefly. The garden as a living community is presented as offering specific benefits to the gardener in addition to providing delightful opportunities to watch nature in everyday life. As a contribution to the local environment the wildlife-friendly garden should not be underestimated.

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Herbs to Grow for the Kitchen

An exploration of familiar and unusual culinary herbs. Their use in salads and seasonings may be illustrated with an optional demonstration of making herb vinegars and herb pepper with a salt substitute or soup mix . Sugar savers and edible flowers. lead into considering historical herb recipes for coloured and flavoured sugars, jellies, syrups and conserves. The role of herb wines and liqueurs in cookery is also touched on, together with the luxury of making sweets and liqueur chocolates.

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When Is a Flower Not a Flower?

The answer, of course, is when it is a herb. The origin of the herbaceous borders was in growing herbs for home remedies, fragrances or cookery. The talk details earlier - and present uses of 'flowers' such as lupins, sunflowers, hollyhocks, golden rod, lily of the valley, Solomon's seal; hellebores, violets and so on. A lively talk covering all aspects of herb use to interest and inspire the modern gardener. A display table shows samples of dyed wools and silks, sunflower,nettle and mixed herb paper, ink, wines, sugars and sweets, fragrant mixtures and so on. Far more than most gardeners might expect to come from their 'flower beds'.

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The Autumn Herbal Harvest

This rich time is Christina's favourite season of the year and, with considerable enthusiasm she details the roots, berries, hips and seeds which can be gathered. While roots are candied, used to make cough mixture, liqueurs, dyes or shampoo; cutting back herbs and climbers for the winter provides another welcome harvest. The basketry season begins when the golden and plain hops are cut back and the honeysuckles and dogwoods are pruned. Many familiar hedgerow plants and shrubs will be found in this talk. Plentiful information on protecting herbs for the winter and generally 'putting the garden to bed' ensures a fascinating talk whether harvesting is your main interest or not.

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A Weed by any Other Name

A talk to help all gardeners to look at their weeds in a new light. A weed is after all simply a plant which grows well in a part of the garden which the gardener would prefer to fill with something which is less well adapted to it. Many of our native plants which have offered medicinal and other uses for centuries are now regarded as weeds. Shepherd's purse, chickweed, and nettles are just a few of the most valued from the herb garden. Even ground elder, that most hated of weeds was originally planted as a medicinal herb and edible plant, brought by the Romans as it was so valued. Friendly ways of controlling the unwelcome growth of weeds will also be discussed.

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