Garden Lifestyle

On the Road: American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas

This spring has been busy with a road trip from Arkansas to Texas and back--we saw miles and miles of Texas!

Texas bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis) in full bloom in the ABC gardens. They sure are pretty and smell good too! Unfortunately most of us can't grow them since they prefer the soil and climate conditions of Texas. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger

This spring has been busy with a road trip from Arkansas to Texas and back–we saw miles and miles of Texas! We started  with a program on ‘Shrubs, Switchel and Beveridge: The Art of Creating Fruited Vinegars’  at the ABC. Check out the gardens at the American Botanical Council–a good reason to go visit–or become a member, volunteer or attend an herbal program!

It is springtime in Austin–and the gardens at ABC are in full swing. Some of the spring harbinger herbs like the mints and lemon balm were just popping, while parsley, fennel, chervil, arugula, sorrel and cilantro were already big enough to make a first harvest. Many flowers were blooming from calendulas and johnny-jump-ups to poppies and the state flower, Texas bluebonnets (Lupinus texensis). They were putting on a show in the ABC gardens–one of the best displays we saw in the lonestar state.

The Amercian Botanical Council, home of HerbalGram, was founded by Mark Blumenthal in 1988 and he is Executive Director. They offer many educational programs there as well as other herb-related services. ABC is located in a big old rambling house with wrap-around porches. There is an annex building for classes and meetings, with a library and then there is the greenhouse full of seedlings and tropical plants waiting to be moved outdoors. The gardens pretty much surround the buildings. Gayle Engels is Special Events Director there, she is a colleague as well as an herbal cohort of ours. We especially enjoy gardening and creating herbal happenings together.

The gardens at the ABC have expanded over the years and are a worthwhile place to go visit. Here are just a few of the garden plots to see: Antioxidant, Children’s, Culinary, First Aid, Fragrance, Human Systems, Phytocosmetic, Reproductive, Rose, Southwest Pollinator, Tropical, Vegetable and Wildlife. For more info on the gardens read: Both the Culinary and Medicinal gardens include beds from around the globe from French and Asian cuisines to Ayurvedic and Chinese medicinal plants. There’s a vegetable garden with organically grown heirlooms and a greenhouse where they start all sorts of medicinal seedlings.

The folks at the American Botanical Council are passionate about helping people live healthier lives through the responsible use of herbs, medicinal plants. They are an independent, nonprofit research and education organization dedicated to providing accurate and reliable information for consumers, healthcare practitioners, researchers, educators, industry and the media. The next big event will be to celebrate HerbDay, May 2, 2015.


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