Saturday, March 1, 2014


Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms
I Peter 4:1

Recently, I had the opportunity to do a couple presentations for the Seaside Herb Society which meets in Ormond Beach, FL – one on Soup Herbs and one on Fairy Gardens. 

This is a great time to introduce this organization whose mission is to gather in the spirit of friendship and cooperation to learn more about herbs and to use this knowledge to educate and benefit others. 



They meet at Bailey Riverbridge Meeting House, 1 North Beach Street, Ormond Beach, FL 32174 on the 3rd Saturday from September through May and feature a different herb each month.  They also hold two annual events: November Plant Sale and Spring Herb Faire which is coming up later this month:


Come and celebrate everything herbs! 
We've got herbs, baked goods, soaps, seasonings,
guest speakers and Rachel, our own resident herbalist!
Admission is FREE!

9 am to 2 pm
Saturday, March 22, 2014

Follow Granada Blvd (Rt. 40) to the NE corner of
N Beach and Granada Blvd - on the NW side of the Granada bridge


Their “herb of the month” in January was tarragon, which is one of my favorite soup herbs, especially essential with poultry.  Here is some additional info on its use in soups:


  • a flavor that mixes a licorice/anise type of taste with that of a peppery flavor
  • used in place of salt for people on salt-restricted diets
  • Blends well with parsley, basil, thyme, chives and chervil
  • Use tarragon sparingly, since its flavor is strong and can dominate or overshadow other flavors and when using tarragon, it is best to add it at the end, as heat tends to decrease its flavor.
  • Essential for chicken soup

You can see information on herbs that are great for soup on this earlier post: All About Soup Herbs.

Here are the products I brought to share during my presentation with the group:



4 -12” herb sprigs (Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, Chives)
2-3 accent herbs/flowers (Bay Leaf, Parsley & Sage)

            The completed wreath should be about 4-5” in diameter – the perfect size for a pot of soup.  Gather herbs and use rosemary to bend into a 4” loop twisting ends around each other.  Add additional herbs (thyme & marjoram) overlapping the ends of each one until the wreath looks full.  Keep in mind wreath will shrink as it dries. Add chives spiraling like a ribbon to secure and give a finished look.  Tuck in a small bunch of accent herbs.  Tie on raffia with instructions for use or a favorite recipe.
 NOTE: May be used fresh or dried.  Dry in a dark, dry place before attaching ribbon & instructions.

6c chicken stock                              
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2c celery, chopped
1pkg frozen peas
1pkg frozen carrots 
2 c diced cooked chicken
2c egg noodles
            To make stock, simmer a whole chicken in 6 cups of water with 1Tbs chicken bouillon, 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped celery stalk, 1 chopped carrot & attached soup wreath for 45 minutes.  Remove carcass & wreath.  Strain broth and discard vegetables.  Reheat broth adding 1/2 c chopped celery & 1/2 c chopped onion and simmer until tender and then add frozen peas and carrots, noodles, and diced chicken. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.



Classic fresh bouquet garni is thyme, parsley and bay leaf, but you can also make a dried version:

1tsp parsley
1/2tsp rosemary
1/2tsp thyme
1/2tsp oregano
1 bay leaf
            To make a bouquet garni from dried herbs, combine in a muslin bag, piece of cheesecloth or doubled gauze.  Great to add to a small stockpot of soup or to create a broth.

1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 potato, chopped into large chunks
3 cloves whole garlic
8 cups water
1 fresh bouquet garni/dried bouquet garni bag
dash salt and pepper
            Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least an hour. Strain out the vegetables and remove the bouquet garni/bag. This broth can be used as a base for soups, gravies and more.



1c rice (strength)                 
1/2c barley (prosperity)
1/2tsp marjoram (joy & happiness), rosemary (remembrance), savory  
            (good interest), mint (wisdom), sage (long life) and thyme (bravery)
2 bay leaves (victory)
Package in a wide mouth quart jar by first adding the rice, then the bay leaves and herbs around the edge and last the barley to fill the jar.  Attach a label with the meaning of each of the herbs and the following instructions:
            Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, stir in the above, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 45 mins. or until all water is absorbed.  Meanwhile, sauté a chopped red & green pepper and onion in butter until semi-soft.  Add 1c half & half & 1 1/2 c vegetable or chicken broth and blend well.  When rice mixture is cooked, remove bay leaves, add broth mixture and simmer on low heat 20 mins., stirring occasionally.  Serve hot.



Their “herb of the month” in February was thyme, which is a favorite of the fairies, in fact thyme will help you see the fairies!   That’s why I bring the following Fairy Thyme Rounds and Fairy Thyme Tea to spark everyone's imagination before my presentation on fairy gardens:

            Cream 1c butter and 1c sugar, then add 1 egg, 1Tbs fresh lemon thyme and 1tsp lemon zest and mix well.  Add 2½c flour and 1tsp baking soda, then 1tsp vanilla. Roll into two logs, wrap & refrigerate overnight.  Slice, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.

1Tbs thyme
1Tbs calendula
1Tbs chamomile flowers
1Tbs spearmint
1Tbs sage
1Tbs marjoram
1Tbs lemongrass
            Mix all together and store in a cool, dry place that is not in the sun. To use, take one teaspoon of the mixture per cup, add boiling water, and allow to steep for 3-5 minutes.  Strain tea and sweeten with honey as desired. Serve hot or cold.





Since spring is hopefully just around the corner, I demonstrated accessories for a new fairy garden called “Spring Fling.” It included the following herbs planted in a painted wood box:

Violets (Viola spp) – Blossoms used for fairy love & sleep potions

(Thymus vulgaris) – Faeries favorite plant because of its color, fragrance and habit of growth.  Used as a place to build their houses, as resting place, for dancing and as a soft green bed for fairy babies

– Fairies love round mossy areas, especially woodland faeries


The accessories included a fence made of plant tags, a winter tree, a bench, a set of bunnies, miniature pots and of course a couple fairies!


  • A setting to attract the wee folk may include ponds,
    & gazing balls since they love looking at their reflections
  • Shiny stones like marble and agate attract fairies
  • Faeries like to be recognized as part of the garden with statues
  • “The bottom of the garden” (semi-wild areas) is their favorite spot to live
  • Yellow butterflies are messengers from fairies
  • To find fairies follow your cat – they have fairy sight and are jealous of fairies
  • The favorite food of fairies is the strawberry
  • The favorite color of fairies is green.


For more information and examples, see this earlier post on Fairy Gardens.

See these links for more information on available free presentations and demonstrations for your groups!


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