2018 Annual Meeting of Members-Speakers

Herbs in Bloom-2018 Annual Meeting of Members

Herbs in Bloom-2018 Annual Meeting of Members
June 1, 2018
Tarrytown, New York

Three outstanding educational programs will be featured.

Jo Ann Gardner-"Herbs and Hardy Roses: Natural Companions in the Cottage Garden"

For 30 years, Jo Ann Gardner and her husband Jigs operated a hand and horse-powered farm on a remote peninsula on Cape Breton Island.  Living in such isolated conditions, the land became her teacher, inspiring many lectures, articles, and books, two of them devoted to herbs: Living With Herbs (1997), Herbs In Bloom (1998).  In 2001, the Gardners moved to the Adirondacks.  Jo Ann’s latest book is Seeds of Transcendence: Understanding the Hebrew Bible Through Plants.  She will have her books on hand for sale and will sign members’ copies.   

Her presentation “Herbs and Hardy Roses: Natural Companions in the Cottage Garden” reflects her lifelong interest in combining useful and beautiful plants, without distinction, in her cottage garden landscapes. This PowerPoint lecture traces how she built her gardens in Cape Breton and the Adirondacks from scratch using the simplest materials and common plants to create attractive and enduring plantings.

Margaret Skinner and Arash Ghalehgolabbehbahani-"Saffron: A Golden Opportunity for Small Diversified Farmers"

Saffron is the dry stigmata harvested from flowers of the fall-blooming Crocus sativus L.  It is the most expensive spice in the world, with a retail price of as much at $5,000/lb.  Over 90% of the global saffron production is grown in Iran.  Why not grow it in Vermont?  For three years, scientists at the University of Vermont have been conducting research to answer that question.  Their goal is to evaluate the potential of saffron as a high-value crop to support small diversified growers.  They found saffron can be grown effectively in containers (milk crates) in high tunnels even in the cold climate of northern Vermont.  Recipients of The Herb Society of America’s Research Grant in 2016, they assessed the quality of their crop and found it was generally comparable to the commercially available product.  Their research has stimulated great interest among growers nationwide, and this year hundreds of producers harvested their first crop this past fall.  The presenters will report on their research and the status of saffron production across the U.S.

Margaret Skinner is a research professor and Extension entomologist at the University of Vermont (UVM), Entomology Research Laboratory where she has worked for over 33 years.  She obtained a Masters and Ph.D. degree at UVM, and since graduating has worked on a wide range of subjects.  Her work focuses primarily on insect pest management, including development of biological control for several greenhouse and invasive forest pests.  To address the needs of small diversified growers to increase their crop revenues, she recently expanded her work to include saffron production.

Arash Ghalehgolabbehbahani is a post doctoral research associate at the University of Vermont, North American Center for Saffron Research and Development.  He obtained his Ph.D. from Ferdowski University, in Mashhad, Iran, the center of saffron production.  His thesis research involved assessment of changes in crop diversity in northeastern Iran.  He also was a partner in a company producing medicinal herbs in Iran.  For the past three years, he has been a key participant in the UVM saffron research program, bringing his unique personal experience with saffron production to the program.


Pat Thompson-"HSA's Notable Native Herbs™ 2019"

New York Unit Botany and Horticulture chair Pat Thompson will deliver a presentation on our Notable Native Herbs (NNH) for 2019: New Jersey Tea Ceanothus americanus and Equisetum hyemale horsetail or scouring rush.  The Notable Native Herb is the signature program of HSA’s Native Herb Conservation committee.  
Two native herbs are featured each year, one being a woody plant and the other herbaceous, and the committee encourages members to study these plants in the wild and grow them, when practical, in their gardens. By presenting these selections a full year in advance, it is hoped that they can be shared widely by members and units with local growers and nurseries around the country.  

 Pat Thompson has been a member of the New York Unit since 1983 and her entertaining and informative reports on the culture and lore of herbs are a mainstay of the New York Unit program.  A graduate of Sweet Briar College, Pat is active in the theatre as an actor and in production.  She is an avid gardener and lifelong learner.

Registration will begin January 11, 2018 on the HSA Website

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