I often wonder when it started ….. my passion for herbs.
It’s been a lifetime of listening, looking, and learning; rubbing shoulders with some amazing and knowledgeable plants-men and women. I was lucky. I grew up surrounded by Cheshire meadows, woodlands and hedgerows as my playground where we could wander freely without the restraints of modern society.
My dear Gramps ignited my interest among his colorful and productive back garden through which I wandered as a toddler. I remember gazing up at the faces of the huge hollyhocks and vivid blue delphiniums with the fragrances of his tea roses with perfumes much more intense than they seem to have today, wafting past my nose.
The veggie patch with its ordered lines providing year round food for our post-war table. Eating our “five a day” was never a problem for us!!
His magnificent rockery which camouflaged an air raid shelter was amassed with bluebells, daffodils, lily of the valley, tulips and a million and one plants of different textures and colors. Add to that his magical, earthy smelling Victorian greenhouse that produced sweet tomatoes which I could water with the old battered zinc watering can ……. what more could I want? It was my childhood paradise.
“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived. The odours of the earth waft me to my home, to my childhood frolics in the orchard. Even as I think of smells, my nose is full of scents that start awake sweet memories of summers gone and ripening fields far away.”Helen Keller
With my Dad’s passion and talent for drawing and an adopted “Aunt” with a rare talent for making flowers come to life on canvas and paper, I gradually learned the names of the plants I stumbled upon as I asked for them to be drawn or painted to add to my own flower book. Nurtured by a passionate biology teacher at my secondary school I began to understand the detailed structures of plants in all their forms making my own sketches …… Yes! It started there! A lifetime of pure delight and interest in Flora.
And Herbs? Well …. studying Chemistry and Biology, each to degree level, and later rubbing shoulders with inspiring and knowledgeable herbalists along the way, inevitably led to where I find myself today. My growing herb reference library was no substitute for creating my own herb garden which gives me endless pleasure.
I have been pestered for ages to put my own slant on the pleasure you can get from simple herbs, in a form for everyone to enjoy. This website grew from ideas from my treasured friends with whom I have walked and talked and shared my herbal passion, often from the back of a horse as we wandered through meadows or watched our horses after a long day, turned out into highly diverse pastures, selecting different herbs to eat.
I concluded that many animals instinctively know which herbs benefit them and make them feel good. Humans once did too, intuitively …. we have just lost that wisdom over the last few hundred years.
I would love to share with you some of that passion and a little of the wisdom I have gained.
Enjoy! – Hilary