The Herb Garden Weekend 2018
This year’s Garden Weekend was held under blazing sunshine and everyone said the herbs smelt wonderful! The Mediterranean varieties like thyme, marjoram, basil, lavender and rosemary felt quite at home but the roses were a bit overwhelmed and the garden volunteer team were kept busy dead-heading every day to keep everything looking tidy.
We have been busy restocking and reorganising the herb beds this year and now visitors can see one area devoted to the herbs mentioned by Erasmus Darwin in his books and letters (‘Dr Darwin’s Medicine Chest’) and another featuring the more traditional plants of earlier centuries (‘The Apothecary’s Garden’). The ‘Scented Garden’ is a new addition with David Austin roses mingling with pinks, lavender and chamomile and already a favourite with visitors. Finally, ‘The Dyer’s Garden’ contains some of the plants used to produce natural colouring for fabrics before the introduction of commercial dyes – when the plants have grown a bit more, we hope to have a demonstration of the technique right here in the garden.
The Garden Weekend had several highlights apart from the weather! The tours kept visitors amused with stories of the ‘Fashions and Passions’ of the 18th century garden, namely gin, opium, snuff and, more seriously, the drug Digitalis from foxgloves. The Mayor of Lichfield, Councillor David Leytham and his wife, Mrs Jan Leytham-Gain, the Mayoress, attended the event on Sunday afternoon and enjoyed craft work with artist-in-residence, Hannah Golding and the relaxing atmosphere created by Neal’s Yard Remedies from Birmingham who filled the house with beautiful herbal scents and gave tempting trials of their products.
Herbs plants on the stall sold well, children took part in the ‘Herb Garden Explorer’ Trail and the tea room was as popular as ever and kept up a brisk trade on both days thanks to the faithful band of cooks and serving volunteers.
All-in-all, it was a very happy and successful weekend and with our new band of garden volunteers full of enthusiasm, we already have plans for something even bigger and better next year – watch this space!