A new addition to the Medicinal Garden is an area dedicated to herbs used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Master Gardeners began their work in March sowing seeds like chamomile, calendula, hyssop and a variety of mints in trays to prepare for planting. Seedlings were transplanted in June and the group has been able to harvest throughout the summer.
The group’s objective is for the plants to eventually establish themselves well enough to produce a sizable harvest that can be used for projects. However, they strive to avoid having too much of a good thing. To minimize the reach of herbs that are vigorous spreaders, such as mint, Master Gardeners plant in buckets and then bury the bucket in the ground. They are rewarded with a plant that continues to produce but does not overtake other plants.
A trip to the garden showcases how these herbs grow in this region while also educating visitors about their properties. Garden signs throughout the garden explain the history and uses of a variety of plants.
To celebrate their efforts, Master Gardeners who volunteer at the garden plan to meet quarterly for educational group projects. Past events include a social for gardeners and their families to eat fruits of the garden, such as lavender cookies and hen bit crackers. Another occurred on Summer Solstice when Master Gardeners used comfrey to make a healing salve and assembled smudge sticks to purify the air using lavender and prairie sage. Future events will include infusing calendula in oil and mixing with beeswax to make a healing salve, and using dried herbs like chamomile, mints and lavender for teas.