Garden Lifestyle

United States National Arboretum Celebrates Hops, Herb of the Year 2018

Once a month, during the gardening season the Herb Society of America sponsors "Under the "Arbor", a series of herb-related events held at the US National Arboretum.

  • Huge new hop trellises recently installed at the US National Arboretum. These will be covered with hops by midsummer. Click on other pix to enlarge and read captions.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • These impressive bamboo trellises were constructed at the entrance to the US National Herb Garden to celebrate Hops, Herb of the Year 2018. Right now the entrance gardens are under construction--there will be many varieties of hops growing here soon.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Hops are already starting their way up the twine--they will reach heights of 20 to 30 feet.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Hop bines grow clockwise around ropes, trellises or anything they can grab onto.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • The Pennsylvania Heartland Unit of HSA had a great display and tasty samples of Hop Hard Candy.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Hop bine on display from the US National Herb Garden. Bines do not have tendrils, they are first flexible shoots growing from the crown or rhizome and then a sturdy twining stem, which is covered with stiff hairs that allow it to grab onto whatever it is growing upon. Think bine~beer and vine~wine.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Grape vine on display from the US National Herb Garden. Vines have single stems that often become woody like this grapevine--they send out tendrils and runners to grab onto trellises and other things which they grow upon.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • New friend, Gayle, who is founder of Federal Brewing Company. She and her husband brought their wonderful kombuchas for tasting. They had delightful flavors to sample--two that were featured: Dandelion & Hops with Rose Petals and Grapefruit & Hops.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • HSA members from Pennsylvania and Potomac units displayed different kinds of hops and pelletized hops, gave samples of hop lemonade and provided the ingredients for making dream pillows with hops.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Hop bine, dried strobiles and hop pellets.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Ingredients for making dream pillows with Pat Kenny, the dream pillow queen. She sewed darling little hop pillow cases out of hop-printed fabric.
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger
  • Me and Chrissy Moore, curator of the US National Herb Garden, at my display table where visitors tasted Lemon Balm & Hop Infusion with Oranges and Citrus and Hop Bitters. (See recipe in next blog.)
    Photo/Illustration: susan belsinger

Once a month, during the gardening season the Herb Society of America sponsors “Under the “Arbor”, a series of herb-related events held at the US National Arboretum. Last weekend we celebrated Hops, Herb of the Year 2018 with hands-on demos, educational displays and lots of hoppy tastings. Herb groups around the country gather together to celebrate each herb of the year and to educate the public about the selected herbs.

The USNA has an amazing collection of plants and is the home of the National Herb Garden–be sure to visit if you are in the area. Check out this calendar for a list of “Under the Arbor” events as well as the new Herban Lifestyle programs.

Generally, these happenings are held outdoors, under the arbor, however we were rained out so we moved into the auditorium. Though there is a bit less traffic indoors than out in the garden, we still had plenty of attendees. Many units of the HSA come for these fun and educational gatherings–from as far as Conneticut, New York and New Jersey to more local units from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Potomac Unit (Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia) of which I am a member.

These groups of herbal enthusiasts spend a lot of time and energy growing herbs plants of every description, putting together displays, demos, herbal products, foods and beverages for sampling–loading all of this stuff into their vehicles and driving long distances–just to share their knowledge and enthusiasm of herbs. I love gathering with these like-minded friends and colleagues; it is always inspiring, tasty and fun.

If you are interested in learning more about herbs, there is no better way than hanging out with experienced herbies who love to share their plants and knowledge. Look for an herbal group or herb farm in your community; the HSA website lists the various units across the country

For more about hops see /item/128826/cultivating-and-harvesting-hops-humulus-lupulus and /item/128806/hops-herb-of-the-year-2018.


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