This past weekend I attended an Herb Day Symposium at the Hermann Park Garden Center, presented by the South Texas Unit of the Herb Society of America. The Herb Society of America is “a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to promoting the knowledge, use and delight of herbs through educational programs, research, and sharing the experience of members with the community.” The theme of this year’s symposium was “A Bloomin’ Seminar: Spring Herbs for Use and for Delight.” Although I don’t have much of a yard, I’m able to grow a variety of herbs in pots set on a rack on my driveway, and I thought the seminar might be interesting.
Nice rack, huh?
This annual event is always a sellout, and I can see why. The Herb Society pulled out all the stops for their symposium. Before the program started and during breaks, we were treated to refreshments prepared by some of the members. They were beautifully presented, and included large containers of herbal tea and flavored waters, herbed biscuits and muffins, muesli, loquat honey, elderberry jam, herbed butters and spreads, and fresh fruit:
Naturally, herbs were everywhere! There were dozens of herb bouquets and whimsical arrangments:
A reminder, lest we forget why we were there:
There were three speakers. The first speaker was Lynn Herbert, who authored and edited the most recent revision of the River Oaks Garden Club’s A Garden Book for Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast. A whopping 672 pages, this book is full of useful information and gorgeous photos.
Next up was “For Use and Delight–Stunning and Aromatic Arrangements from the Herb Garden,” presented by Jay White, an organic gardener from Brenham, Texas. (He has a popular blog — The Masters of Horticulture.) He was an engaging speaker, and everyone enjoyed seeing him create an arrangement with the variety of herbs and flowers he brought from his garden. (It also made me wish I had a real yard.)
Jay White waving around yarrow
There was a wonderful box lunch from Canopy, that included tabouli, a corn and green bean salad, a petite sandwich on nut bread with a goat cheese, cranberry, pecan, and spinach filling, half of a very tasty wrap, and a citrus-glazed pastry (not sure on that one, actually –it had us all guessing).
During the lunch break, there was a tour of the Garden Center’s rose garden, which was in full bloom:
The final speaker of the day was Master Gardener Marian Buchanan, who talked about identifying and using edible flowers. I got a few ideas from her that I am looking forward to trying.
Everyone left with a goodie bag, a seed packet or two from among the table decorations, a basil plant, and a bay leaf branch. The gentleman next to me also managed to persuade Jay White to give him a few stalks of pink honeysuckle, which he hopes to root (and he promised to let me know if he is successful so I can hopefully get one). There were lots of great door prizes, but it was not my lucky day. But I did manage to score a cardamom ginger, Mexican mint marigold, and variegated scented geranium at the shop they set up, along with a pamphlet on making flavored vinegars, a few copies of the Houston Garden Book (for myself and for gifts), and a few packets of culinary herb blends.
The blend that intrigued me the most was one called Rosemary’s Cookies, and it consisted of dried rosemary, ground ginger, and ground cloves.
According to the package, “Baking these cookies, filled with ginger, cloves and molasses, will bring forth memories of your own grandmother’s kitchen. However, it’s the lingering flavor of rosemary that will set your recipe apart for your own children, grandchildren or dearest friends. After all, rosemary is the ‘herb of remembrance,’ and you are sure to be remembered for this recipe.” Hey, I like to be remembered, so I whipped up a batch of Rosemary’s Cookies, using the recipe provided. The cookies were a big hit here, even with the kids, although my husband advised that they are even better once you know that there’s rosemary in them and can stop wondering what it is that’s different about them.
|ROSEMARY'S COOKIES|| || |
- ¾ cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup molasses or Steen's cane syrup
- 2-3/4 teaspoons Rosemary's Cookies blend (see Note)
- 1-3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. Stir in remaining ingredients.
- Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes, until golden, and browned on bottoms. Allow to cool briefly on cookie sheet, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
- Note: If you are not lucky enough to be able to attend an Herb Society function and purchase their Rosemary's Cookies blend, similar recipes call for 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves. I haven't tried this blend, but it sounds about right.
Ready for the oven
Have to resist eating them until they are cool
Hope I’m remembered for these