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Chicago Master Gardener

A blog for Chicago Master Gardeners providing information on volunteer opportunities, training, workshops and resources.

Cont. Ed. Op. Herb Day-January 17-Urbana

Posted by Ron Wolford -

URBANA – Herbal experts from around the country will present five educational sessions designed to provide information and inspiration about herb gardening. The event will be held on Saturday, January 17 from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center near Lincoln Ave. and I-74 in Urbana.

"This year's speakers include Lucinda Hutson, a noted herbal author, speaker, and garden entertainer, from Austin, Texas," said Chuck Voigt, University of Illinois vegetable and herb specialist and coordinator of the event. *

Hutson will give two talks. In the morning, her presentation is entitled, "A Fiesta in Lucinda's Garden, which includes her suggestions for creating a memorable garden party. Her afternoon talk is entitled, "Theme Gardens from Around the World." "Lucinda is famous in the Southwest for her cooking, gardens, and style," said Voigt.

Kathryn and Melvin Schiedermayer, from New Glarus, Wisconsin, will explain how to harvest and preserve herbs. Their business, Garden Spirit Natural Bath & Skincare, gives a good idea of what to expect. "Many herb novices do a good job of growing a wide variety of herbs, but then have trouble knowing what to do with them beyond cooking," said Voigt. "The Scheidermayers will offer many ways to solve this dilemma." Voigt said that the Schiedermayer's herbal soaps and lotions will be available in the retail area of the event.

Father Dominic Garramone, of St. Bede Abbey in Peru, Illinois lectures all around Illinois about herbs and is an engaging and entertaining speaker. He previously hosted a "Breaking Bread with Father Dominic" TV series on PBS. "We have tried to get Herb Day on his schedule for many years, and finally succeeded this year," said Voigt. Garramone will demonstrate baking herb breads with special meanings. Recipes will be included in the attendee packets.

Susan Hess, from Farm at Coventry, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania claims a Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. "She discovered that this group once had a tremendous store of herbal knowledge and lore, which was suppressed and nearly lost in the latter half of the 20th Century. She and her fellow researchers are working hard to rebuild that storehouse of knowledge," said Voigt.

In addition to the speakers, there will be a retail area selling a wide variety of herb, spice and gardening products as well as books and products from the presenters.

Advance registration of $55, which includes an herb-themed lunch buffet, must be received by January 9. Contact Carla Chapman (217-333-7738;

On-site registration on January 17 begins at 8:00 a.m. only as space allows and does not include lunch. The first educational session begins promptly at 9:00 am.

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