08-31-11-herbal-wreaths.jpgDid you know that Charlemagne, a.k.a. Charles the Great, was not only ruler of the Roman Empire for 47 years, but he was also an avid gardener? So much so, that included in his royal edicts is the Capitulare des Villes, a list of plants to be grown on his royal estates. It included floral plants like lilies and roses, which are both beautiful and have medicinal purposes. Plants like savory, dill, fennel, rosemary, mint, lemon balm, thyme, lavender, rue, borage, basil, costmary and chervil were also on the list. One can only imagine the pleasure with which he anticipated the harvest season.

From fresh fruits and veggies to aromatic flowers and herbs, it is harvest time. On Saturday, Sept. 10, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden is offering a class on herbal kitchen wreaths. From 10 a.m. to noon, come and enjoy the creative process, learn a thing or two and leave with your own, custom designed wreath.

Herbs from the Heritage Garden, on the Cape Fear Botanical Garden property will be harvested and used to make the wreaths. Once the herbs dry, the wreaths provide an aromatic decoration as well as delicious seasonings for your meals.

If this workshop sparks an interest for you, check out Katherine K. Schlosser’s book The Herb Society of America’s Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking With Herbs in the gift shop. It covers everything from growing herbs to how to use them and cook with them, and includes plenty of delicious recipes that you can use with your new wreath.

There are also some fun facts in the book as well, things like “the classic definition of an herb is any plant used for flavoring, food, fragrance or medicine that is without a woody stem and that dies to the ground after flowering. This seemingly neat and tidy definition does not take into account some plants that are quite commonly known and used as herbs yet have woody stems and do not die back — for instance, rosemary, sage and lavender as well as some trees.”

According to Schlosser, “At the National Herb Garden, the definition offered by Henry Beston in Herbs and Earth (1935) governs plant selections: ‘In its essential spirit, in its proper garden meaning an herb is a garden plant which has been cherished for itself and for a use and has not come down to us as a purely decorative thing.’”

The workshop costs $25 for nonmembers and $20 for members. The price includes garden admission. In fact attendees are encouraged to stay and enjoy the garden after class. Preregistration is required before Sept. 6. Call 486-0221 to find out more.

Photo: On Tuesday, Sept. 6, Cape Fear Botanical Gardens will host a workshop on how to make herbal kitchen wreaths.

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