Nestled beneath the shade of towering hardy rubber trees, 150 “poppy joes” basil plants sit on a wooden table, ready to be handed to waiting Garden visitors.
The chattering of birds and whispering of sprinklers starting up fills the air as typical daytime humidity is only just making itself known. It is natural symphony interspersed with the sounds of pleasant conversation and instruction from volunteers standing behind the table.
Since the inception of the Herb and Heirloom program in 2012, people young and old have come to the Missouri Botanical Garden to learn about the care and uses of a variety of herbs and heirlooms.
“This is a robust collaboration between The St. Louis Herb Society and the Education Division of Missouri Botanical Garden,” says Patricia Shutte, president of the Herb Society.
The 2017 Herb and Heirloom series takes place every Tuesday morning from Memorial Day to Labor Day from 10 a.m. to noon in the St. Louis Herb Society Garden, which is located in the Victorian District behind Tower Grove House.
This year’s series is centered around kitchen garden staples.
The remaining herbs to be featured are below:
- July 18: Lemon verbena
- July 25: Mint ‘Kentucky Colonel’
- August 1: Anise hyssop
- August 8: Za’taar or Syrian oregano
- August 15: Caraway
- August 22: Lavender ‘French Perfume’
- August 29: Rosemary ‘Spice Islands’
Za’taar oregano, featured on August 8, is particularly popular, according to Shutte. It is believed to be the hyssop described in the Old Testament of the Bible, giving it the common name “Bible hyssop.” Its genus name comes from the Greek words “oros” for mountain and “gamos” for beauty, leading to it also being referred to as the “beauty of the mountain.”
That’s just a taste of the horticultural and culinary insight Herbs and Heirlooms Tuesdays attendees can discover each week.
“This is a wonderful public service that provides a plant, initial planting in a pot, information and a recipe for using the plant,” Shutte explains, adding that the Herb Society is always looking to expand and attract more people.
Herbs and Heirlooms Tuesdays is a manifestation of the St. Louis Herb Society’s mission of education and increasing knowledge about the use, propagation and cultivation of herbs.
Herb and Heirloom Tuesdays
Tuesdays, Memorial Day through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to noon
Included with Missouri Botanical admission
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