BY JEN FARNSWORTH
Herb gardens have become increasingly more popular over the past few years. At home, in the garden or in your kitchen, kits keep popping up in local garden centers, even in the grocery stores. People are interested in growing everyday herbs such as parsley and basil. For more than twenty years, the Thymly Herb Group, based out of Ballston Spa, is a group of herb connoisseurs who meet once a month. Their interests extend way beyond common herbs, and stretch into fragrant and culinary herbs that most of us have never even heard of.
Group member Janet Waite said the 40 group members meet at the 4-H training center to discuss herbs, standbys, planting methods and how to best utilize herbs in cooking. They also have an herb of the month, this month they are showcasing two; Salvia officinalis and Lemon Verbana.
“We celebrate the herb by having an herbal refreshment. We talk about how we can use it in different ways, how to grow it. We learn so much from each other as well as when we have guests,” said Waite.
Members go on field trips over the summer months. Waite said this year they will be going on three including The Berkshire Gardens. She said they share recipes that use herbs and visit each other’s gardens. They have culinary activity, including workshops on making of bouquet garnet for soups, as well.
The group also gives back to the community by maintaining two gardens, one at Brookside Museum and on at the 4-H Training Center. Waite said they have the garden at the Brookside Museum divided into a fragrant and edible section. She said visitors to the museum often pick the herbs.
“We love to see the herbs used as learning, like when you see children picking them. It’s really nice,” said Waite.
The group also puts about a cookbook that complies all of their favorite recipes that use a rainbow of herbs.
Dues for the group are $10 a year. They meet at the 4-H Training Center on Middleline Road on the third Monday of every month, starting back up again in September.