When did you start gardening?
My maternal grandmother was born in South Africa and lived in Poland before immigrating to the United States in her teens. The women on my mother’s side were medicine women in their villages throughout generations and used herbs for healing. When I was a little girl, I spent summers with my grandparents and learned gardening from my grandmother. I have always had an herb garden and I’ve used herbs for healing throughout my lifetime. Growing up, my children never used a pharmaceutical because I used herbs for any illness.
What is the focus of your garden?
I have herbs and vegetables but rarely do I grow flowers. If I can’t eat it or use it for medicine then I don’t grow it.
What are your favorite plants?
My favorite herb is comfrey because it is a wonderful healing herb. It’s the main ingredient in a salve I used to treat my son’s eczema when he was growing up.
I also love passionflower. It can be used in a tea or tincture to promote sleep.
What is your best gardening tip or advice?
If you only have a small space or are unsure of what to grow, choose herbs. They are food and they are medicine. They are a great choice for container gardens.
Tell us about a gardening mistake you’ve made.
Where to begin? Everything in gardening is trial and error. Comfrey should not be harvested when wet and you must wait three days after a rain to harvest. It also should be harvested in the afternoon so that it is completely dry. I once harvested at a time when it was convenient for me, which was in the morning and within three days of a rain. I made multiple jars of infused oil that eventually turned moldy because the comfrey leaves were not dry when I harvested them. I learned what I had done wrong when I consulted with another herbalist.
What Master Gardener projects do you participate in?
I am part of the Speaker’s Bureau and I also work at the Native Medicinal Garden.
What is your occupation?
I have a business degree and have always been an entrepreneur. I’ve owned fitness centers, a manufacturing facility, retail stores and employment agencies. I’m currently the Executive Director of the Baldwin City, KS Chamber of Commerce. I’ve written a guidebook about all aspects of herb gardening and also run herb workshops and create products at Wild Ivy Herb Farm in Lawrence, KS.
Lori Trojan will be presenting at the Eudora Giving Garden (545 W. 20th St, Eudora, KS) on Saturday May 29, 2021 at 10am. The topic is “Using Common Herbs to Support Health.” Cost is free but donations are welcome. For more information, visit our Facebook page @douglascountymastergardeners.