Pennsylvania Heartland Unit
The Pennsylvania Heartland Unit has dedicated itself to sponsoring gardens that will inspire others to learn about and use herbs in their daily lives.
From the time of the initial study groups, members have cared for a small garden at the White Horse Tavern, a property listed with the Berks County Historic Preservation Trust. This garden in Morlatton Village, Douglasville, PA, is designed on either side of a brick path that leads into the building. The restoration of the brick walkway at this garden was sponsored and funded by PHHS. This garden is maintained by two of the unit members. READ MORE…
Early on, it was decided that Pennsylvania Heartland should sponsor a garden in an educational setting the caretakers of the Berks Campus of Penn State University were enthusiastic about PHHS sponsoring a learning garden at the site of the Janssen Conference Center. In 1987, unit member Yvonne England along with Penn State groundskeeper Peter Jon Snyder made this a reality. In this setting, where meetings and conferences are frequently held, the garden has a great deal of public exposure and the goal of extending knowledge can be reached by both the university and the herb unit. The Herb Garden dedication at Penn State was held in the garden on Sunday, September 18, 1988 at 2:00 PM. This garden was divided into four main theme beds, Culinary, Fragrance, Closed Knot and Open Knot, surrounded by two side beds, Silver Garden and Native Plants Garden. The culinary garden holds a sundial placed there in memory of Paul Winter, whose wife taught at the Penn State Berks Campus. The fragrance garden holds a bee skep protected by a wonderful structure donated as a gift to the unit from outgoing Unit Chair Billie Beadle in the spring of 1996. Billie’s husband Bill actually built the skep holder.
In 1991 the unit accepted the garden on the Albright College Campus as a public garden under its sponsorship. Unit members were part of the planning and planting of this garden located near the campus center. One of its greatest features was that it could be easily viewed through the larger glass windows near the theater. Caring for this garden had many advantages. Because the unit held their Herbal Delights Symposium at the Albright Campus, it provided a perfect focal point for many symposium participants to learn about herbs and gardening. In addition, the many visitors to the campus were exposed to herbs, and the dining hall chef enjoyed the easy access to the culinary herbs. It is in this garden that the unit placed a memorial sundial commemorating the work done by HSA member Priscilla Lord, formerly of the New England Unit.
In 2002, the Herbal Delights Symposium held annually in June changed its format and location from Albright College to the Conrad Weiser High School in Robesonia, PA. At that time it was decided that it was no longer feasible to continue the maintenance at the Albright Garden. The sundial at Albright in Memory of Fuzzy Lord remains there due to the fact that the base in which the bronze plaque is anchored weight 300 pounds. The College has hired a gardener to look after the Albright Herb Garden.
In 2003, the unit applied for and was awarded the Suburban Greening Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in Philadelphia for the garden at Penn State’s Berks Campus.
In 2004, the unit replaced the rear knot garden at the Berks Campus due to the deterioration of the plant material and the high cost of upkeep and maintenance. This is now an apothecary garden. Another item of note is the memorial bench in memory of Anne Heckler’s husband Bill which was relocated from Albright College to the Penn State Garden in 2004. The unit also placed permanent engraved stone markers in each of the six theme beds that year.
In 2011 with the help of the garden staff at the Berks Campus, all six gardens and the lavender beds had the wood replaced around the beds. Also in 2011, the herb garden at the Mouns Jones House, also located in Morlatton Village, was added as a unit garden.
PHHS held a 25th Anniversary celebration at the Berks Campus garden in 2013. A Garden Party open to the public included music, refreshments, garden tours and a Tussie Mussie make and take for all.
The unit has a garden coordinator. This individual schedules work days for the maintenance of each garden and arranges for the purchase of plants and mulch as needed. Care at the Berks Campus garden is also facilitated by “bed heads.” Each “bed head” is responsibility for her specific garden. In addition, a special cleanup in spring and fall is scheduled to encourage the help of all unit members in the gardens.
As per the unit bylaws, an annual minimum of 3 hours of garden work in a public garden is requested of each member. At least 1 of these hours should be in one of the PHHS unit gardens.