by Kathy Stevens
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of Kathy’s book The Herb Garden Club at the end of this post.
In Visalia, California, there is a wonderful herb garden located on the campus of Crestwood Elementary School. Twenty years ago, teacher Kathy Stevens joined with students, parents, and other teachers to create this peaceful nature place for everyone to enjoy. A wide variety of seasonal herbs, flowers, shrubs, and one bay tree welcome visitors throughout the year. Round red pavers create meandering walkways across the entire length of the garden. Smaller pathways lead to the bay tree, wind around the yellow rose tree, and travel through the spearmint garden.
On Wednesday afternoons, 24 fourth and fifth graders speed across campus to the school library. They are members of Crestwood’s Herb Garden Club. During the next hour they will learn about one or more of the 30-plus herbs that grow in the garden. After collecting a specimen of the featured herb from the garden, they return to the library to learn about the folklore, history, cultivation, and uses for this herb. Then it’s time for an herb story. Sometimes the story includes happenings in Kathy’s life or in the lives of one of her students. Following the story, there is herb crafting. Students love to work with fresh or dried herbs to create something special they can take home. Rosemary garlands, lavender dream pillows, and herbal bookmarks are among the crafts they enjoy.
Club meetings always conclude with an herbal refreshment. Rosemary gingerbread cookies, lemon balm lemonade, and peppermint brownies always get a thumbs-up and a request for seconds.
After working with Crestwood’s Herb Garden Club for many years, Kathy wrote a book titled The Herb Garden Club. This beautifully illustrated work gives readers an opportunity to make herbs a part of their daily lives.
Have you ever tasted lavender cake?
Dipped a strawberry in rose petal sugar?
Scented your closet with a calming chamomile sachet?
Inside The Herb Garden Club you will find a collection of herbal history, stories, recipes, and activities for children of all ages. Each of the seven chapters highlights a memorable herb growing in the garden. Lavender, lemon balm, rosemary, chamomile, mint, thyme, and rose are the featured herbs. They are club favorites because they can be used in so many wonderful ways. The simple recipes at the close of each chapter are an invitation for every reader to plant a little herb garden and join in the fun.
To enter to win a copy of The Herb Garden Club, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Herb,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 10, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.