Educational Herb Garden



Valerian flowering


Overview of the Herb Garden

The Educational Herb Garden aka the Herb Collective is a MAPG project that consists of a residential herb garden and a group of people, from novice to experienced individual, interested in learning more about herbs, medicinal and otherwise.  We meet every other week during the growing season.  For most meetings we have a guest speaker who teaches us about a particular herb or process and we perform duties necessary to maintain the health and beauty of this special space.  We recommend joining the MAPG Google Group to stay updated on the Herb Collective meeting details as well as other permaculture topics. The project is located just 2 miles north of Madison at 3919 Gray Road, DeForest. We hope to see you in the garden!

Ginny Bormann, Jean Schneider, Linnzi Hodel and Judy Skog, Volunteer Coordinators

Carpooling is encouraged and common for those who come!   Call 608-513-0016

If you want to check the status of a work night, need help with directions, or have any other questions please call Jean Schneider at 608-513-0016.

Violets harvested for infused honey and tincturing

Violets harvested for infused honey and tincturing

2017 Garden Gathering Dates

Open the garden, Saturday April 22nd from 1:00-3:00pm (rain date April 23rd)

Free Herb Talks the 2nd and 4th Mondays, May 8th thru the end of September

2016 Garden Gathering Dates

Please check back the week before each date for the DIY project materials you should bring with you!  In the past our herb talks have been on violets, dandelions, plantain, American skullcap, yarrow, Monarda/bee balm, lady’s mantle, elecampane, Aronia, rugosa rose, and roots including marsh mallow and sochan (green-headed coneflower).  We will affix a plant to each date as the plants come into harvest for our take-home DIY projects or in some cases it may be show and tell only.

April 25th – end of September we meet on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month from 6:00-7:30pm

Monday September 26th 6:00:-7:30: Our last scheduled Herb Night of the year.  Burdock is the topic tonight.  We will dig up burdock roots and then go inside to work with the root and have our talk (with handout).  Kate McFeeley of Prairie Pearls Greenhouse will be leading the talk.  It gets dark so early now we won’t have a lot of time outside, and since we have had all this rain its a big buggy.  Bring some bug spray, gloves and a shovel if you have them.  If you have burdock you have dug up, please bring it along.  Want to make a tincure?   Please bring a small jar and some high proof alcohol (Everclear type, or 100 proof vodka) or a bag to take some roots home with you.  Optional: bring any garden bounty you want to share or food or something you have made to share.

Monday September 12th 6:00:-7:30: Its a PLANT GIVEAWAY!  We have so many extra plants in the herb garden this year it has turned into part jungle.  Bring your gloves, shovels, buckets and pots and take some plants home with you.  There will also be plants that can be harvested instead of dug up, like several varieties of mints, lemon balm and mugwort  and maybe even some stray rose hips and aronia berries to harvest.  My grapes will be ready then and I can share some out too.  Here are the plants we know we have a lot to give away, its not all inclusive, there are more:  rosa rugosa (very large rose hips), anise hyssop, chamomile – a variety used for dye (spectacular plant!), globe thistle (decorative, for the humming birds), lemon balm, peppermint, chocolate mint, mugwort (3 varieties, use for smudging and for sleep), bee balm (monarda), yarrow and more.  If you don’t need plants, please come for the herbal community, help others fill their pots if you are able or just relax and chat.  As usual we will have some herbal tea to share, and Ginny mentioned she will bring homemade raspberry ice cream.  Bring your garden bounty to share too.  We welcome monetary donations for the plants – donations will be used to purchase more plant varieties for the herb garden. If you can’t come but would like to donate, please make check out to MAPG and send to Jean Schneider 3919 Gray Road DeForest WI 53532.  Please join us!

Monday August 22nd 6:00:-7:30: How to use plants for smudging is our topic this week.  We will be talking about what plants you can make smudge sticks from in the garden including white sage.  There are so many other plants that can be used too!  If you want to take some home, bring string to tie your smudge sticks together for drying.  There will be a handout on some uses for smudge and what each of the plants can be used for, and we will talk about how to use plants for space clearing and spirit work.  We may also touch on plant resins and how to use them and we will be burning some plants too.  Day Host-Jablonski will lead the talk this week. Please join us!  Smudging Workshop 2016

Monday August 8th 6:00:-7:30: Rose hips – ours are ready very early this year.  Usually we harvest in September, but they have turned red and are ready now!  This particular variety of Rosa rugosa produces huge hips.  These highly nutritious fruits can be used for jelly, in recipes and for tea.  Feel free to dig up plants to take home with you while you are here.  We have many plants and hips to share.  There will be rose hip tea to try as well as rose hip nut bread with rose hip butter made by Ginny Bormann, Herbalist.  Ginny will also lead our talk and provide a handout for you to take home.  Join us for an herb garden walk, harvest of hips and sharing of food. Rose handout

Monday July 25th 6:00:-7:30: Catnip, its not just for cats!  It makes a tasty tea or tincture and can be used  for indigestion, headaches, acute illness and as a sedative.  Kate McFeeley, Herbalist and owner of Prairie Pearls, will be leading the talk this week.  Come and see our massive catnip plant and learn how to harvest and use it yourself.  We will have some catnip tea to try along with other goodies to snack on.  Bring a collection bag with you if you want to harvest some catnip to take home.  There will be a handout too.  Bring garden gloves if you have them.  If you want to make the tincture bring a small mason jar and high proof alcohol with you.

Monday July 11th 6:00:-7:30: Monarda is a very useful native plant.  Its common name is Bee Balm and is also known as Sweet Leaf by Native American healers.  Both our native bee balm with the light blue/purple flowers (fistulosa) and the larger variety many of us have in our gardens with larger red flowers (didyma) are useful plants medicinally.  Fevers, burns, nerves, bladder, sinus congestion and headaches and much more.  They can be used fresh or dried in teas or tinctures.  Both the leaves and flowers are used.  Its a great time to come and harvest some to take home and dry for use later, perfect to have on-hand for cold and flu season.  There will be a handout for you to take home, bring collection bags and a small jar and high proof alcohol if you want to make a tincture.  As always, bring your gardening gloves and clippers if you have them.  There will be Monarda iced tea for everyone to try too!  Jean Schneider will be leading our talk this week.

Monday June 27th 6:00:-7:30: Lavender is in full bloom now.  Come learn how to use lavender in your life!  We will be harvesting lavender, learning how to make a tincture or infused honey from it.  Please cut and bring any lavender flower stalks you have at home too.  Kate McFeeley, Herbalist and owner of Prairie Pearls, will be leading the talk about Lavender.  There will be a handout to take home with you.  There are lots of other plants ready to harvest and dry or to transplant and take home with you (chocolate mint, catnip, white sage for smudge sticks, hyssop and more).  Ginny is bringing some really lovely food to share with everyone: Lavender-Marinated Chicken and Mizuna Salad with Kiwi-Lavender Vinaigrette and Lavender Honey Ice Cream.  Come join us for some herbal community of sharing of plants, knowledge and food.

Tuesday June 21st 9am-1pm with lunch! 6:00-7:30: join us for an herb garden work party!  We will be removing some unruly plants in the garden and adding more medicine herb plants.  I have a bunch of plants I’m tending in pots that are ready for the garden!  There is always a lot of fun to be had in the garden learning together about using and growing medicine plants.  We also have lots of plants to share with people who come – either to dig up and take home with you or harvest for medicine making (comfrey, yarrow, rosa rugosa, mints, yellow balm, mugwort, wormwood, rue and more!)  Depending on flowering there may be other plants ready to harvest too (anise, lavender…)  There is rhubarb I can share.  We really appreciate the help!Ginny and I will be providing a home-made lunch for everyone too.  Please let us know if  you are thinking of joining us so we can make sure there is enough for everyone. Ginny has been providing treats at all of our free herb talks and is a fabulous cook!

June 13th 6:00-7:30 – Comfrey.  The comfrey is just starting to flower now.  This is a very useful plant to use in salves in healing cuts and scrapes and as a tea for keeping bones strong, healing broken bones and as a nutritive tea for digestion.  Come learn more about comfrey, harvest some leaves and flowers for tea, and even dig up some plants to take home with you for your garden!  The rue is also flowering now and ready for harvest for spiritual uses, rosa rugosa plants to dug up and take home with you, peppermint/ spearmint/ chocolate mint ready to be taken home with you as either plants or cuttings for tea.  We also are putting out a call to help with pulling out some unruly plants – we appreciate your help with this anytime, just call or send us a note with when you want to come.  Bring a friend!  You are welcome to dig up plants and do harvesting if you are coming to work in the garden.  THANK YOU!

May 23rd 6:00-7:30 – Yarrow.  Lots of yarrow ready to harvest and dry to have on hand for teas or to start a tincture.  The young spring leaves are the best to use in your tinctures, adding the flowering tops to your tincture later on.  Handout on how to use this common plant for acute conditions.  Also there are enough yarrow plants for us to divide and send home with people.  Bring high proof alcohol or vodka and a small jar if you want to do the tincture.  Bring a few plastic bags if you want to dry yarrow leaves or take some plants home with you.

May 9th 6:00-7:30 – Violets.  They are just starting to flower and come in many colors.  We will forage here and make a group project together, as it take MANY violets to make a tincture or oil.  If you have violets at home or elsewhere that is in a chemical free space, pick the flowers (some leaves are ok too) and bring them with you. The more the better!  If you pick the day before, just put them in the refrig in a plastic bag.  As always we will have a handout for you to take home too.  We welcome you to bring any violet items you have made to show the group.

April 25th 6:00-7:30 Chickweed is our herb of the night!  This common yard and pasture plant is a delicious foraged food as well as a medicine.  Come learn more about how you can use this plant for common ailments.  Ginny Borman, herbalist, will lead our discussion and foraging session.   If you want to do the DIY, please bring a 1/2 pint jar (or whatever size you have) and your choice of oil (olive, sunflower etc.) or alcohol.  If you want to make a tincture bring the alcohol, high proof vodka works well, or if you want to make salve/infused oil bring the oil. MAPG Chickweed Handout

If you have any chickweed in your chemical free yard, pick some and bring it with you!  Ginny is bringing some goodies for us to try again – last week she brought a delicious dandelion pie and made some cooked dandelion greens for us to try. We all make tinctures to take home too.

April 16th 1:00-4:00 Spring wake-up the garden with herb talk and DIY project.  We will be talking about dandelion, how to cook with as a foraged food, use as a spring tonic and make a tincture to use year-round.  Recipes and a handout will be provided.  If you want to do the take-away DIY project please bring a pint mason jar with lid and high proof alcohol (like Everclear) or high proof vodka to tincture the leaf.  Also, since dandelion is just starting to come up, if you have the opportunity to pick leaves and bring them with you that would be appreciated.  We expect to make a tasty saute to enjoy together.   Wear work clothes and if you have them bring gloves and pruning sheers/clippers.  Or just come as you are! Dandelion handout 2016

Goldenseal in the MAPG Herb Garden

Goldenseal in the MAPG Herb Garden

Skullcap in the Herb Garden

Skullcap in the Herb Garden

2015 Topic Information

Violet handoutDandelion handout Plantain handout

American Skullcap handout Bee balm handout with recipes

Yarrow handout Lady’s Mantle report

Elecampane handout Aronia handout

Rose handout

Roots reportgluten-free alcohol report

2014 Topic Information:

Lemon Balm Glycerite and Lemon Balm talk

St. John’s Wort

Thyme Monograph


Monograph of Anise Hyssop and Hyssop


Herbal First Aid



Elecampane - Inula helenium


Bee balm – Monarda fistulosa



One Response to Educational Herb Garden

  1. Pingback: Herb Talk – Burdock Monday Sept 26th | Madison Area Permaculture Guild

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