While browsing the aisles of a small, family owned local bookstore one day many, many years ago (when I was in junior high), I ran across a book titled A Pattern of Herbs written by Meg Rutherford. It was a simple book with delightful line drawings of each plant and descriptions explaining their use, how to grow them, and their history.
As I look back on my experiences with herbs, this book always stands out for me as the moment I realized I wanted to be an herbalist. I didn’t have much exposure to herbs, other than the pale, dried cooking herbs in mom’s kitchen cupboards and the lavender sachets in my grandmother May’s nightie drawers, but I read this book from cover to cover many times and decided I wanted to grow an herb garden.
Mom pointed to a tiny, hard-scrabble old gladiola bed on the east side of our house and cheerfully told me I could grow my herbs here. I spent many hours digging that patch of dirt, sifting the stones and pulling the dried-up grass, preparing it for the packets of seeds I had purchased recently with my allowance.
I remember planting marjoram, chives, sage, thyme, oregano, and marigolds. I thought the marigolds were pretty. I honestly don’t remember how long I cultivated that tiny herb patch, but I do remember the magic of watching the seeds sprout and tasting the herbs as they grew into scrappy plants.
It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my first child that I became reacquainted with herbs. I had been gifted a subscription to Mothering magazine and each quarterly issue often featured herbal applications and how to use them in my home medicine cabinet. I immersed myself in herbs that would benefit my pregnancy and soon those herbs that were beneficial to babies, then children.
As I became more familiar with different herbs and confident in their abilities to aid in healing, comfort, and nutrition, I decided to pursue a more structured learning experience and enrolled in Rosemary Gladstar’s course The Science and Art of Herbalism. I acquired many more books for my herbal library (see Recommended References) and soon began preparing tinctures, salves, balms, and teas for myself and my family.
It was when I found a recipe for hand-made natural herbal soaps that I decided I wanted to make my passion for herbs my lifestyle and my livelihood.
As we gear up for the new growing season here on Whimsical Moon Herb Farm, I contemplate the many chores and projects that are waiting for my attention. More garden beds for vegetables, herbs, and flowers need to be turned over. Seeds need to be started under grow lights for planting when the ground becomes warmer. Batches of soaps need to be whipped up and turned out to cure in preparation for this year’s Farmers Market. And a decision needs to be made in regards to an e-commerce site for selling my products on-line.
I have always felt an affinity with herbs and have cultivated a relationship with them for many years now. This season holds many promises for creating, growing, and expanding and I eagerly look forward to the next stage at Whimsical Moon Herb Farm.