Last weekend my girlfriend and I went to the Michigan Herb Conference. What a breath of Spring it was. As we walked in we were greeted with this beautiful display of topiarys from my favorite vender.
New this year were lavender topiary's.
Chartuse moss in a hypertufa planter.
This years displays were all about the Herb of Year Elderberry. In America it's not too widley used, but in Europe they know all it's benefits. We are just begining to appreciate the health benefits and use them.
It truely is Nature's Medicine Chest!
Every year these two fibre artists make wonderful needle felted accessories to wear to the conference.
I always look forward to seeing their new creations.
This year there's felted elderberries in among the flowers.
One of our speakers was Kirk R. Brown (horticulturist, garden communicator, playwright and actor).
He was the program for the banquet portraying John Bartram: The Kings Gardener.
John Bartram lived in the mid 1700's and was one of the first naturalist to collect different plant species in America and send them to England for the King. He was good friends with Benjamen Franklin. Their is so much history on this man it's hard to write it in a few sentences.
One of his accomplishments was to publish the first plant catalog with 1,123 plants in it in 1754. No glossy plant pictures, just a plant list.
Of course Elderberry was included.
When he shipped the plants to England they had to be boxed up to keep the mice and rats on the ship from eating them. They were stored in the Captians quarters for the journey as the Captain always had a cat.
The center pieces for the tables at the banquet were "Bartram's Boxes" filled with plant specimans and a reproduction drawing of Mr. Bartram in a old bottle.
Also included was a "scroll" listing all of the plants in the box.
A huge hanging ball of herbs was auctioned off.
My favorite speaker was the owner of Souther Exposure Herb Farm in Battle Creek, Mi. He brought along lots of new gardening ideas. Here are a few.
This first is a concrete stone made by building a wooden frame, lining with plastic (sprayed well with PAM for anti-stick), then quick drying cement is poured in and finally pressing in the vinyl mat to create the design. After pulling out the matt, let it dry thourghly and take out of the box. This is the first porject I want to make this spring. A stepping stone for my gate.
Next dryed hydrangeas sprayed a cranberry tint, tucked in a basket with little lights throughout. This would be a beautiful centerpeace thoughout the Fall and Winter.
I love, love this also, an old minnow bucket with a stran of little white lights tucked in. I can see this on an outdoor glass picnic table. At night the glass would reflect the lights.
Lots of ideas here, but what I wanted to remember was next Fall after finishing using the different heirloom pumpkins for displays, put them away in a corner of the garage (so they stay cold but don't freeze), in spring cut the tops off, fill in the hole with good soil, water and set in your garden. The seeds should send out vines through the top and hopefully you will get some pumpkins!
Add a "green" roof to a bird house. Make a frame around the roof, add a layer of gravel then soil and plant. A good plant to use for the hot summer would be Hens and Chicks, they don't need a lot of water or attention.
I know this blog is getting long but were nearing the end. (He had 33 creative garden ideas!)
Back home with my treasurers, two rosemary topiariays for gifts, and some new herbs for the garden, golden sage, lemon thyme and tri color salvia.
Of course a jar of elderberry jam, and read the lable it says LIFE! How could you pass up that. And a bag of dried elderberrys I'm going to make lots of muffins.
sitting on a spool of thread, with a thimble hat, buttons and a strawberry needle keeper.
I wish you all "the Luck of the Irish" this weekend. I will be fixing the traditional Irish dinner for us, remember on St. Patricks Day we all have a little Irish in us.