The Homestead Herbalism foundation course is nearing the end of a decade since it’s humble beginnings in 2003. To date, over 150 women (and yes, happily, a few men, too!) have completed the certificate course and now apply their knowledge and skills in their own backyards and kitchens. I love to imagine that the wild plants in their midst are happy to be recognized and utilized by humans once again! To the observant eye, the last ten years of seasonal classes have paralleled the changing seasons in the garden. Very often an old garden takes well to a good dividing and re-planting from time to time. Doing so will allow plants to stretch new roots into healthy new surrounds which will encourage an even more abundant harvest than before. Those who own a pair of pruning snips know that it is sometimes a rather uncomfortable task to cut away that which was loved and nurtured for so long. At best it requires a deep breath and a leap of faith, trusting that the plant will come back even better than before.
As some of you may already know, we bid a grand farewell to the former home base and gardens of Farm at Coventry in July of 2011. The gardens and business were established there in1997 and lovingly nurtured for fourteen years. It was a necessary, but bittersweet decision to leave that large stone farmhouse after I suddenly found myself alone in it. My two children had grown up into their own lives and my long term relationship dissolved about the same time. Continuing to teach others about ‘sustainability’ and ‘resiliency’ through all of this abruptly took on deeply personal symbolism in a drafty 19th century farmhouse with twelve big rooms (and two hungry woodstoves) during one of the coldest winters in a good long while.
With one friend’s help, I found a beautiful (and more manageable) farm close by. With the help of many friends, I began the arduous process of transplanting home and gardens to the new location in the spring and summer of last year. I’ve been blessed, once again, with rich loamy Pennsylvania soil to dig in and one year later, the gardens are full of thriving perennial and annual herbs and flowers. It will take a few seasons for the roses and elders to establish themselves for hefty harvests but it has been a wonderful lesson for all of us in discovering and using what grows under your feet and around the edges whereEVER you are; well established gardens or not. To twist a common phrase: ‘I’ve learned to bloom where I’m planted’.. but not without tough (but necessary) pruning and the tender, loving transplanting and care of friends and family. My roots are once again taking hold in this land that I love and the new growth has been beautiful, healthy and strong! Another deep bow of gratitude to all who were instrumental in the ‘transplanting’ process. You are all intrinsically part of my new gardens and home. I am so happy to be starting my second decade of teaching, settled into this new and beautiful place and gearing up for the 2013 sessions of classes while the 2012 classes are beginning to wind down. The perpetual organic gardening experience, right?!
We are taking registrations for the upcoming Homestead Herbalism Saturday or Sunday sessions which start in just a few months ~January of 2013. The course itself will be expanding from 9 to 12 months next year and incorporating some of the second year course gleanings as well as completely new information never before shared. Download the full color brochure here. It’s going to be an exciting new twist on the last ten years.