Garden Lifestyle

The Herb Garden at Memphis Botanic Garden

Last weekend, I attended the Herb Symposium at the Memphis Botanic Garden celebrating the new Herb Garden there. It is truly wonderful--check out the photos.

  • Showy rudbeckias were dazzling in the southern sunlight of the Herb Garden at Memphis Botanic Garden. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Handsome signage in the Herb Garden at Memphis Botanic Garden. Herbs are Essential, Everywhere and Enchanting.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • A lovely stand of betony in bloom
  • Closeup of the perennial winter savory with tiny little flowers.
  • The walkways and mosaics are handsome additions to the herb garden.
  • Unusual specimens like this variegated oregano make the garden intriguing.
  • Although a common herb, I found this tansy, which was as tall as me, quite impressive.
  • Here is a beautiful little calamint which I had never seen, appropiately named 'White Cloud'.
  • Clary sage is always a knockout plant in the herb garden. 
  • Flax has been a useful plant for centuries. Here we have flower and seed. The gardeners allow plants to go to seed in order to gather and save it for future gardens.
  • A gorgeous specimen of Salvia apiana, often called Incense sage.
  • What can be more fun than dinner with a bunch of like-minded herbies? We dined at Acre and recommend the libations, food and staff.  L to r: Steven Foster, Donna Foster, Sherri McCalla, Susan Belsinger, Richo Cech, Tina Marie Wilcox, Chris Cosby.

Last weekend, I presented two programs at the Memphis Botanic Garden Herb Symposium. The symposium was held to celebrate the new herb garden there… and there is definitely cause for celebration. The garden is not yet a year old, though most of the plantings are showy and have filled in the space. The collection of plants is impressive, and frankly, I don’t know how the gardeners are keeping it looking so good what with the heat they have down there. Of course, a watering system helps, not to mention the lovely “pervious” walkways which allow water to seep through the pressed material. It is good-looking and easy on the feet. There are also handsome mosaics throughout the garden walks and herbs pressed in manmade stone.

The garden is sort of circular in shape with a center bed featuring a bay tree in the center surrounded by lavender. Four beds surround the center making up quarters of a circle and then there are perimeter beds beyond. All of these beds are full of the more commonly known herbs, lesser known cultivars, plants that are more unusual, and some which I had never seen before. Then there are shade gardens under big old trees featuring woodland herbs and specimens that need some protection from that hot Memphis sun.

Friday night, there was an outdoor reception in the garden, which was quite lovely with tablecloths gently blowing in the breeze, gorgeous flower arrangements from garden herbs and flowers on the tables, delightful appetizers and desserts prepared by the Memphis Herb Society, as well as live music by Minor Street Strings.

Saturday morning programs featured Richo Cech from Horizon Herbs in Oregon and Steven Foster from Eureka Springs, Arkansas, followed by an herbal box lunch and afternoon breakout sessions with an assortment of great herbal programs, walks and workshops. We saw old friends and met lots of new herbies and thank Sherri McCalla and all of the gardeners and staff at the MBG for hosting such a fun and educational event in such a beautiful venue.  

I encourage you to go visit the new Herb Garden at MBG and allow a whole day there so you can play in the Children’s Garden, the topic of another blog post. There is nothing like a visit to a wonderful garden for inspiration and hanging out with like-minded folks!

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