June 2021: Letter from the President

Dear Herb Friends,

This past week the Memphis Area Master Gardeners held the 2021 Through Our Garden Gates Tour.  The more than 500 visitors seemed eager to join friends outside after months of pandemic isolation. The six gardens, all in Bartlett, offered a variety of ideas for gardeners, with docents pointing out garden highlights and answering questions.  Each garden hosted an artist painting a landscape, as well as one or more plant societies.

The Memphis Herb Society was invited to set up our display in the outdoor kitchen located in the amazing backyard garden of Tom and Laurie Reiman.  We sold cookbooks and tee-shirts, invited people to sign up for our newsletter, and talked herbs and visited with old and new friends. 

The Reiman garden illustrates one way to accommodate herbs when six hours of sun is a challenge.  The herbs are thriving on the sunny curb!  Now you might say, will passersby help themselves?  No need to worry.  Sharing their herbs is part of the Reiman gardening mission.  A sign invites neighbors to snip herbs as needed, and a nearby “mailbox” holds utensils for snipping the basil, rosemary, or parsley. 

Another striking feature of their presentation of herbs is the ornamental germander borders.  Germander is a traditional herb garden plant; you may recall that it forms the knot garden design in the center of the formal herb garden at the Memphis Botanic Garden.  At the Rieman home, one germander border runs parallel to the street curb, and another by a sunny pathway in their generally shady backyard.  These extensive borders imitate dwarf English boxwood hedges!

The six gardens featured many beautiful landscape plants—the hydrangea bushes were especially spectacular in size and brilliant color.  Yet it was amazing to see the various displays of herbs: There were herbs in foundation beds, herbs in pots, herbs in trailing baskets, herbs in raised beds, herbs interlaced with vegetables, herbs in bloom, as well as many choices for containers, various types and height of raised beds, examples of companion planting, and more.  The herb enthusiast had much to enjoy.

After recent programs on culinary herbs, the Memphis Herb Society now turns a page and considers herbs in skincare.  I invite you to our final Zoom meeting on June 24 at 7 p.m.  Join us to learn about ”Herbal Skin Care” from herbalist Julia Stowe of Blossom Arts.  I look forward to “seeing” you then.

Herbally yours,

Kathy James

Kathy James
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