The American Botanical Council (ABC) will host its first live HerbDay celebration since 2019 and the event will be, as always, free and open to the public. It will be held at ABC headquarters at 6200 Manor Road, Austin, Texas 78723 on Saturday, May 6, from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
We are honored to have three renowned herbalists from across the country join us for this revival of a 17-year long tradition. Rosemary Gladstar will be giving a presentation on Herbs as Sweet Medicine for the Soul from 2:00 p.m.–3:15 p.m. Rosemary has been practicing, living, learning, teaching, and writing about herbs for more than 50 years. Considered a star figure in the modern herbal movement and often referred to as the “godmother of American herbalism,” Rosemary is the author of 12 books including Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide, Herbal Healing for Women, Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, and Herbal Healing for Men. She is the co-founder and former director of both the International Herb Symposium and the New England Women’s Herbal Conference, the founding president of United Plant Savers (UpS), and the co-founder and original formulator of Traditional Medicinals Tea Company. She is also the author and inspiration behind the popular home study course The Science and Art of Herbalism that has taught thousands of students over the past four decades. In 2018, Rosemary was awarded an honorary doctorate for her life’s work from the National University of Naturopathic Medicine. She recently moved from her home at Sage Mountain — an herbal retreat center and botanical sanctuary where she lived for 30 years — to a smaller haven where she plans to write more, tend to her new gardens, and spend more time with the plants. To learn more about Rosemary, visit her website.
Starting the morning off from 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m., Susan Belsinger and Tina Marie Wilcox will give a presentation called All About Ginger and Its Kin: From Garden to Kitchen and Apothecary. Herbal enthusiasts Susan Belsinger and Tina Marie Wilcox met in 1996 when Susan presented two herb programs at the Ozark Folk Center, where Tina Marie is the herbalist, head gardener, and herbal event coordinator. Susan cooks, writes, takes photos, and teaches. Her latest book, The Perfect Bite: Focus on Flavor, was published in 2022. Having herbs, gardening, botany, good food, and fun in common, Tina Marie and Susan hit it off and began a long-distance friendship. Gardening from their respective homes, Susan in Maryland, and Tina Marie in Arkansas, they’ve exchanged a lot of seeds, plants, roots, and ideas over the years. They have collaborated on presentations and workshops across the country, from the Smithsonian to EPCOT and have done many programs for the Herb Society of America (HSA). They co-authored the creative herbal home, which celebrates their herbal lives and have written for national publications like Mother Earth Living, The Herb Companion, The Herbarist, Herbs for Health, and GRIT, as well as the Brooklyn Botanic Garden All-Regions Guides. Tina and Susan are both members of the International Herb Association, HSA, ABC, and UpS.
From 12:30 p.m.–1:45 p.m., Rosemary, Susan, and Tina lead a plant walk around ABC’s 20+ medicinal and culinary theme gardens. Among them, these three inspiring women bring decades of plant knowledge to what is certain to be an educational and amusing walk through the gardens.
From 12:00 p.m.–12:30 p.m., as part of the Central Texas Mycological Society’s first involvement in HerbDay, Jesus Garcia will lead a short myco-meditation and mycology walk through the Rose, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Ayurvedic Gardens. Jesus is a Mexican shaman and herbalist who teaches the traditions of lineage work through botanica practices of curanderia and community spiritual herbalism. Jesus is an early childcare educator who focuses on nature school fundamentals through holistic enrichment garden programs and is the founder of the HerbalActionProject, a nature play-school and community garden sanctuary. From Jesus: “In this mycology walk, we will connect deeply with our communities, gathered to stand upon the magic of mycelium. We will open our spirit to the great ancestor known as earth as we channel through a silent meditation to feel connected and rooted to our abilities as humans, healers, and plant spirit seekers.”
In addition to these wonderful speakers, HerbDay at ABC will offer its usual plant and book sales, vendors, free refreshments, music by Heather Bishop, and children’s activities including nature art, chalk drawing, and a Maypole dance. ABC will also unveil ABC Dietetic Intern Nicole Blackburn’s Garden to Table Nutrition capstone project. Nicole will complete her nine week rotation at ABC on HerbDay and will be presenting information on the Inclusivity Garden she designed and built with the help of other interns.
Visit the HerbDay website to learn more about HerbDay, its origins, photos from previous years, and other events happening in 2023.