Garfield Farm Heading

Garfield Farm home page | News Index

News from Garfield Farm

Growing Herbs Lecture April 10

    Garfield Farm Museum is hosting a lecture on Herb Gardening on Sunday, April 10th starting at 1pm. Samantha Bamberger, museum volunteer, will discuss the origins of herbs and the differences between them and spices.

    Though thought of as specialty items today, plants that provided culinary or medicinal uses were grown historically by individuals who enjoyed using them or felt they had some benefit to human health. When diets depended on a few foodstuffs that could be stored before the days of canning or freezing, limited selections and monotony of choices, any addition to improve or vary flavor provided some gustatory relief.

   Likewise, the complete lack of medicine or understanding of human health meant individuals were often desperate for anything that might seem to provide some remedy. Even some of the most toxic plants would be tried with often no benefit or even a worsening of symptoms but such was the agony of illness and desire for relief.

   These plants were typically grown with other garden vegetables and fruits and no conscious effort was made to have separate gardens for them as some inaccurate historic interpretations of the past have suggested. Many of the botanicals were collected from the wild and not necessarily propagated.

    There also will be a small hands-on demonstration for learning how to plant and transplant herbs. This course is intended for beginning and intermediate gardeners. There is a $10 donation for the class and reservations are required by calling the museum at (630) 584-8485, or emailing

    Garfield Farm Museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt. 38 on Garfield Road. The 374-acre site is a historically intact former 1840s farm and teamster inn being restored as an 1840s working farm museum by volunteers and donors from around the country.