This week's Herbal Celebration at the Memphis Botanic Garden (MBG) isn't just another plant sale.
"Of course, the most fun part will be the Herbal Cocktail Party," says Mary Helen Butler, MBG's director of administration. "We'll have herbal drinks and snacks, and music."
Happy hour in the garden is just one small part of a day filled with speakers, demonstrations, and other herb-related events. According to Butler, the Herbal Celebration was created, in part, to fill a hole that was left earlier this year when the owners of Anthony's Herb Farm in Brighton, Tennessee, announced their retirement. For many Memphis-area herb gardeners, an annual trip to Brighton to buy fresh herbs and take in gardening demonstrations was a don't-miss Memorial Day ritual.
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"We're excited to be partnering with the Memphis Herb Society for this, and we hope to make it an annual event," Butler says.
The Botanic Garden's own herb patch is three years old and contains more than 1,000 different plants.
"Most people think of the herbs they use for cooking or for medicinal uses," Butler says. "But there's so much more history and everyday use of herbs. They've been used in beverages and making clothing. Our garden includes some dye plants and herbs used by Native Americans.
"We'll have a selection of herbs from our garden for sale, and there will be other vendors as well," Butler says. "There will be other vegetables for sale too, so if you haven't planted already, this is a great place to get your kitchen stuff together."