A Brief History Of The Herb Society Garden At Sulgrave
The Society was at that stage based in London, and as part of their charitable aims and objectives decided to start a herb garden. Several sites were identified, and several award winning herb garden designs were submitted, but ultimately nothing came of them. The search for a herb garden moved the Society out of London in 1997, and ultimately the ideal garden was found at Sulgrave Manor, where the Society also established its office.
|The Herb Society was founded in 1927 by Hilda Leyel, w ho also founded the Culpeper shops at the same time. The Society was at that stage called The Society of Herbalists, and Hilda used the consulting rooms of the Society above the Culpeper shops to treat her patients. The patients would then have their medication made up afterwards in the shop downstairs. The shops also sold culinary herbs, aromatic herbs, and all produce of a herbal nature.
Hilda Leyel died in 1957 and as a result The Society of Herbalists and the Culpeper shops split, and the Society went on independently, continuing to run events and provide its many members with a regular journal. The Society then decided to change its name to The Herb Society.
The garden runs down the east side of the manorís property, and will
ultimately take up the north side as well, joining the two gardens. The
garden has been designed to be in keeping with the historical nature of the
manor. It was originally the kitchen garden for the manor, and the old steps
leading down now take the visitor to a large round central bed, with other
beds stretching away both north and south.
Sulgrave Manor is the ancestral home of George Washington and the Society
therefore decided the main theme of the herb garden would be to reflect
those herbs that were taken out to America by the Pilgrim Fathers, and also
those herbs, like tobacco, that came back from America. Many of the herbs
taken out were the ordinary herbs that we know of today. Those visiting the
garden will be surprised to learn that a lot of plants considered not to be
herbs, in fact are. There are many definitions of what constitutes a herb,
but essentially it is a plant with medicinal, aromatic or culinary
properties. Therefore herbs can range from roses, which not only have
aromatic but aphrodisiac properties, to mint, which is used in cooking, as a
digestive, and for many other purposes.
The garden is maturing and turning into a wonderful
setting, with its many benches to sit and enjoy nature. The garden was
officially opened in June 2003, and is a great
attraction, both aesthetically and educationally.