Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp sent a copy of this story she wrote for Indystar.com in Indianapolis. I'm reprinting it here in case you don't know that this is the first time the National Garden Bureau and the Herb Society of America has teamed up for such a project. Thank you, Jo Ellen!
The International Herb Association (IHA) developed the Herb of the Year project back in 1994 and every year designates a specific herb to share information with educational organizations, schools and businesses.
This new cooperation between the Herb Society of America, which helps IHA celebrate the specific herb each year, and the National Garden Bureau which has not focused on herbs before, is an exciting and positive step that enhances the Herb of the Year project. Here's Jo Ellen's story with a link if you want read the original page in the IndyStar, or if the newspaper link expires, the link to Jo Ellen's website: http://hoosiergardener.com
The National Garden Bureau and the Herb Society of America have teamed up to name 2012 the Year of the Herb.
This is the first time the not-for-profits have become partners in their missions to promote gardening and to educate people about growing plants.
To guide gardeners in their selections, the herb society offers its top 10 list, which members voted on at their 2011 annual conference.
Among the winners, these three are easy to grow from seed: sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum), chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and dill (Anethum graveolens).
Buy these seven plants at the garden center: Greek oregano (Organum vulgare hirtum), bay (Laurus nobilis), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), common thyme (Thymus vulgaris), parsley (Petroselinum crispum), common sage (Salvia officinalis) and lavender (Lavandula).
Another group, the International Herb Association, has named 2012 the Year of the Rose, a plant not frequently thought of in the same category as basil or thyme.
But rose petals are edible, and the seed heads, called hips, are a common ingredient in teas, herbal medicines and natural vitamins. Jim Long's "How to Eat a Rose" is a helpful guide for any cook (www.longcreekherbs.com).
"Here in America, we tend to look upon the rose as just a flower in a vase," Long wrote in the 2004 paperback. "Roses are used for lotions and rinses for the body, too, but it's their use in foods that is fascinating to me. Rose ice cream, (the sweet beverage) sharbet, rose wine, rose vinegar, rose candies, jams and jellies are all an important part of life in many cultures."
Florist roses are not a good choice, because they have been treated with various pesticides. Long recommends organically grown roses, especially heavily fragrant, old-fashioned or antique varieties.
Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp (http://hoosiergardener.com) is a director of the Garden Writers Association and co-author of "The Indiana Gardener's Guide." Write to her at P.O. Box 20310, Indianapolis, IN 46220-0310, or firstname.lastname@example.org://www.indystar.com/article/20111015/LIVING11/110150307/Celebrate-Year-Herb-2012