at MOUNTAIN GARDENS
These workshops take advantage of our unique combination of diverse habitats, extensive plant collection, extraordinary library and well-equipped herb shop, plus my forty years of study and experimentation.
As a ‘botanic garden of useful plants’, one of our purposes is to introduce and promote new useful plants, for gardeners, growers, herbalists and chefs. Areas of special interest include wildfoods, medicinal herbs, (native and oriental), health-boosting (tonic, adaptogenic) plants and east-west parallels in botany and pharmacy.
Seeds and plants of most of the species discussed will be available for purchase; additionally participants will have the opportunity to purchase freshly dug, bare-root plants at a considerable saving.
Half-day workshops cost $50, all-day $100 (bring your own lunch). Some workshops will include valuable handouts.
PLANT WALKS and WORKSHOPS
April 19 Fri, 1:30-5pm Spring wildfoods and Sansai We’ll be observing, discussing and tasting seasonal wildfoods, both native and oriental (often related spp.). These are gourmet (and very marketable) vegetables that can be naturalized in your woods, fields, wetlands, etc.
April 21 Sun 9:30 – 5pm Spring useful plants This all-day session will cover ID, uses, ecology, propagation, cultivation and harvest of a wide variety of edible, medicinal, craft (fiber, dye. paper, basketry, etc., etc.). We’ll be touring the garden and also the large library of resources I’ve assembled.
April 26 Fri 1:30 – 5pm Bamboo: Hardy spp., cultivation, harvesting, food & craft uses. Bamboo is far and away the most useful of all plants, its only ‘flaw’ being that it is too easy to grow (invasive). We’ll look at it, talk about it, taste it and make a simple garden arch / trellis. Well also be reviewing a collection of books on growing, using and building with bamboo.
May 10 Fri 1:30 – 5pm Spring wildfoods & medicinals A plant walk in the garden and adjacent Nat’l Forest. ID and discussion of uses, plant habitats, propagation / seed germination and harvest / preparation, with tasting and a quick literature review
May 25 Sat 9:30 – 5pm Grow Chinese herbs We’ll tour our large collection (100+ spp.), and discuss habitat, propagation & cultivation, harvesting and processing methods. Chinese medicinal herbs encompass a complete range of plant types (annual & perennial herbs, shrubs, vines, trees) and habitats (garden, woodland, wetland, etc). There is an established market, nationally and locally, but almost no growers. Be a pioneer!
June 14 Fri 1:30 – 5pm Perennial vegetables (with notes on edible weeds) Become a hunter-gatherer on your own land. Once established, many of these spp. are care-free, and can be harvested for years to come. Knowing the appropriate habitat is one key to success. another is knowing in advance the potential weediness or invasiveness of a species. Diversify your diet, CSA, or restaurant sales.
June 29 Sat 1:30 – 5pm Wasabi WNC is ideally suited for wasabi cultivation. I’ll share what I’ve learned over 25 years of working with wasabi, and we’ll inspect several plantings. Wasabi is easily grown if you can provide the right habitat, and a very high-end market is there and waiting. At last check of internet, no one is offering fresh, domestic wasabi. Be a pioneer! Seeds & plants will be available for purchase.
July 19 Fri 1:30 – 5pm Bamboo: hardy spp., cultivation, food & craft uses; trellis making. Same as 4/26
August 24 Sat 9:30 – 5pm Grow Chinese herbs same as 5/25
Aug 25 Sun 9:30 – 5pm Summer useful plants same as 4/21, but different plants will be discussed
Sept 13 Fri 1:30 – 5pm Perennial vegetables same as 6/14, different seasonal emphasis
May12 Sun 9:30-5pm 19th century apothecary: techniques and preparations from Eclectic herbalism. I have assembled a good collection pharmacy textbooks, formularies, dispensatories, materia medica, etc. from the era when medicine was herbal medicine. Very detailed instructions for up to 50 different types of preparation, on a scale and using apparatus suitable to a home kitchen. I’ll introduce the texts, and demonstrate techniques and apparatus as we make a tincture, percolation, syrup, essential oil / hydrosol, herbal mead, salve, and lozenges. (I hope we can squeeze all that in)
July 6 Sat 9:30 – 5pm pao zhi – Chinese herb processing. Using various degrees of heat as well as a variety of ‘adjuvants’ such as bran, earth, brine, vinegar, wine and ginger juice, Chinese medicine has developed a unique repertoire of techniques to modify the palatibility, side effects, actions and energetics of herbs. These methods could also be advantageously applied to western herbs
July 20 Sat 9:30 – 5pm Chinese herbal preparations (by Chinese methods) This parallels the 5/12 workshop (above), but using Chinese techniques and apparatus to produce traditional Chinese preparations. Much less inormation is available (in English) on this subject – I’ll share what I’ve found. We’ll make medicinal wine and liqueur, honey pills, salve, syrup, infusions and decoctions.
Sept 7 Sat 9:30 – 5pm Pao zhi Chinese herb processing. Same as 7/6.
TONIC & REJUVENATIVE HERBS
Aug 16 Fri 1:30 – 5pm I. Food: Tonic & rejuvenative herbs in garden and kitchen Bupin ‘repair substance’ is a group of Chinese herbs which can be combined with meat (optional) and vegetables to produce ‘medicated cuisine’, for tonification and boosting immunity. Consisting mostly of seeds, fruits and tuberous roots, they are tasty and are consumed as part of the meal (a few fibrous ones are used to prepare stock, then discarded). There are classic combinations invo;ving 6-12 or more herbs, and many of these are sold pre-packaged in the larger oriental supermarkets. An exciting new (to us) direction for adventurous chefs. Many of these can be grown locally (an exciting new direction for adventurous growers). Also: congee, the standard Chinese breakfast of soupy rice, to which herbs can be added to address a wide variety of health concerns. I’ll share a collection of cookbooks.
Sept 20 Fri 1:30 – 5pm II. Drink: Longevity tonics & rejuvenative herbs as meads & liqueurs. This workshop will cover many of the same plants as above, and also those rasayana ‘rejuvenative’ herbs used in Ayurvedic (India) medicine which can be grown locally. Instead of food, the focus will be on using these herbs to create medicinal wines, herbal meads and longevity elixirs (liqueurs). These are very popular in the orient, being healthful and delicious. The same herbs used to retard aging are also used for boosting athletic performance, ‘body-building’ and martial arts. You can purchase herbs to take home and make your own brew, from a large selection of recipes. (E.g. more than a dozen different recipes for improving memory).