We had a good turnout for our Saturday morning Herbal Gifts Work Study. Herb Society membership was well-represented along with quite a few students, local gardeners and herbalists. Over 25 volunteers rallied to support Memphis Botanic Gardens as they followed Curator Sherri McCalla to the Herb Garden. After a tour of the progress on the Herb Garden renovation, the group stayed in the shade weeding and grooming the perimeter of the Herb Gardens. Sherri taught valuable lessons. Friendships formed. Camaraderie flowed and everyone enjoyed working together to make a difference. We learned about the different weeds and strategies to control them. Nutgrass, mulberry weed, plantain, wild strawberries, and overgrown ground cover didn’t stand a chance against this army wielding their Japanese hand sickles.
After weeding for a couple of hours the group toured the Urban Home Garden Demonstration Area, enjoyed some fresh, ripe muscadines and learned more about gardening. Then it was back to the Horticultural Building to wash the dirt off for hands-on learning about Herbal Gifts. Sherri McCalla had gathered some great examples and recipes to share our herbal harvest. The volunteers split off into groups to make, sample and share Basil Jelly, Rosemary Lemon Sugar Scrub, Brown Butter Sage Popcorn, seasoned Zucchini Chips, flavored vinegars, and Fire Cider. We had all worked up quite an appetite, so, of course, the flavors were magnificent and we all left with plans to make these goodies at home. Donna Manley generously shared the bounty from her gardens by sending us all off with beautiful bouquets of yellow marigolds. Sherri McCalla’s Work Studies are always a wonderful way to enjoy a great morning outdoors, make a difference for the gardens, make new friends and learn new skills. The next Herbal Work Study will be about Balms on September 14th. Join us!