Yarb Tales

June 12, 2017

Elephant Garlic Revisited

Elephant garlic, Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum is a relative of garlic, onion and leek that lives in many local Ozark Gardens and survives long after cultivated areas are abandoned. It is named for it very large, often apple sized bulbs. Individual cloves can be the size of regular garlic bulbs. Click on the title to read the complete Yarb Tales.

December 23, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Herbed oils, when safely made, labeled, stored and consumed in a timely manner, are delicious additions to many home-cooked dishes and can also be used in body care products. First, obtain small quantities of high-quality seed and nut oils. Oils become rancid because of oxidation without artificial preservatives. Read more

December 19, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Plant use is interwoven in every aspect of human existence. Balsams, gums and resins are substances from the plant kingdom that travel worldwide in the marketplace, playing important supportive roles in our lives. Frankincense is such a plant product, surfacing now with the Christmas season as a mysterious word, naming a precious gift from the three wise men in the story of the Nativity. Those who have attended Mass in the Catholic faith know the fragrance of the smoke from the incensiers. Read more

December 12, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with colors, textures and sweet and pungent aromas. With their natural display, the herbs help us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

This past week, all of the botanizers, hunters and nature lovers have been treated to ice sculptures in the woods and along roadsides, creeks and wetlands. Read more

December 5, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with colors, textures and sweet and pungent aromas. With their natural display, the herbs help us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

In early December, with Halloween and Thanksgiving past, the cold mist sits low on the land, hydrating pine and cedar boughs with fine fog. With this weather, nature provides conditioned, seasonal material to celebrate the coming of winter weather. Cool, damp days are perfect for hiking around with bushel basket, pruners and loppers.
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November 7, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with colors, textures and sweet and pungent aromas. With their natural display, the herbs help us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

This week, November 7 through 12, the gardening moon phase is the second quarter, going into a super full moon on Monday, November 14. We will be gardening in the dark of the moon, a time to kill plant pests and weeds in barren signs and to plant perennials and hardy annuals that are grown for their underground parts in fertile signs. We have both fertile and barren work days this week. Wednesday will be in the fertile sign of Pisces and we start out in Aquarius and end in Aries, both barren signs. Read more


October 31, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with colors, textures and sweet and pungent aromas. With their natural display, the herbs help us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Eventually we gardeners are going to have to decide whether or not to save our potted plants from freezes this winter. Here at the Ozark Folk Center we are blessed with structures made for this purpose, the greenhouse and cold frames. Decisions about which plants are moved to the warmth of the greenhouse, nestled into cold frames or sent to the compost pile are based on value, available space and the health of the individual plant. Some plants are very tender, some are semi-hardy and some are very hardy but are planted in clay or cement pots that will break if filled with frozen potting medium. Read more

October 24, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with colors, textures and sweet and pungent aromas. With their natural display, the herbs help us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Autumn leaves are falling. We rake and blow them from gutters, lawns and pathways for safety and neat appearances. Leaves are considered refuse by many people. These folks burn them or buy supersized plastic bags in which to send the nuisance waste away. Read more

October 7, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas. With their natural display, the herbs help us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Even though the compost demonstration is ongoing at the Ozark Folk Center, few people take advantage of the opportunity to watch. It does take an invitation from a gardener to find the production area. The majority of the time the compost would be as engaging as watching grass grow at any given moment in time. Read more

September 26, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

This week Master Naturalist volunteers and the Ozark Unit of the Herb Society of America are preparing for the 27th Annual Herb Harvest Fall Festival that will take place October 6, 7 and 8. There are still seats available. The early-bird deadline for registration is September 29. Thank you to everyone who supports and participates in this enjoyable and educational event. Read more

September 12, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Kathleen Connole has been a key speaker during the Herb Harvest Fall Festival for many years because she is an avid plant researcher. The theme of this event, figuratively speaking, is a sojourn around the planet, portraying the useful plants that connect the world to the Ozarks. read more

September 5, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants. 

Steven Foster is an international figure in the world of herbs who will be teaching during the Herb Harvest Fall Festival. His credentials are lengthy and may be found on his website, www.stevenfoster.com. On his site you will find the blog Passionflower—Herb n' Food. read more

August 29, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas. With their natural display, they help us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Today the Ozark Folk Center exists to perpetuate, present and promote the Ozark way of life in an educational and enjoyable manner; through craft demonstrations, musical programs, the Heritage Herb Garden, workshops and other special events. read more

August 15, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

We have three species of ragweed in Arkansas. All three are annuals. Common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, has leaves that are deeply lobed and the lobes are lobed again! read more

August 8, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

The pepper plant collection in the Herb of the Year™  is yielding fruit. I have been tasting them for flavor and heat. The Scoville heat scale (SHU) is a subjective way to describe the burning sensation of various chile fruit. I am interested in experiencing the potency of our peppers for myself.

‘Biquinho’ (Bird Beak), Capsicum chinense, is rated at 500-1,000 SHU. This little cousin to the habanero is just a peck on the cheek for anyone who is a real chile-head. read more

August 1, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

The past two weeks I have been moving electric fence from one mowing area to the next so that donkeys, Whiskey and Tango have lush grazing. As I tromped across high grass wearing shorts and no insect repellent I thought I was pretty smarty because I had not had to pick off even one tick in all that time. read more

July 23, 2016

The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Machines do so much work in the garden these days that the use of hand tools is becoming less common. When at first I became a gardener, it was because I loved to dig. As a horticultural laborer working for the Parkways and Parks Commission in New Orleans, I learned about shovels. read more


July 11, 2016

The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

As a gardener I have changed the character of this land on which I live and work. The Ozarks have notoriously poor soil, yet plants grow in massive profusion. Today I will wage war on wisteria, an insidious woody vine that was planted on my farm long before I bought the place. If anyone asks me where to find wisteria (Wisteria spp.) for their yard, I do my best to talk them out of it. read more

July 4, 2016

The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Cilantro leaf and coriander seed are produced by the cool season annual, Coriandrum sativum. Just last week, in the Kitchen Garden, there were large stands of it in shades of gold and brown, just ripening its seed. To the uneducated eye, it looked like the garden was in need of weeding, but in fact, a very important process was coming to fruition. read more


June 20, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, is one of several herbal grasses growing in the Heritage Herb Garden. It is native to the tropics in South and Southeast Asia and it will not winter over outside here in the Arkansas Ozarks. Our specimen lives in a large pot and is transferred from the greenhouse to the garden when night time temperatures are reliably warm and then back again before frost. It thrives between 64º and 100° F. and loves full sun, high humidity and well-drained soil. read more

May 23, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Vetiver grass, formally known as Vetiveria zizanioides was given the new genus name Chysopogon in 1991. Also called khus khus, this herb is a tall, clumping grass that is native to tropical Asia. It is cultivated in Haiti, Réunion and Java for the essential oil of its roots. The essential oil is valued in the industries of perfumery and flavoring. read more

May 16, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Now, in mid-May, plants are actively growing. Gardeners can stimulate new branching and improve the appearance of specimens through proper pruning techniques. Clean pruning shears and loppers with rubbing alcohol, sharpen the blades and let’s get started. read more

May 2, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

This is the first week of May. We are in the midst of high spring in the Ozarks. Blue, sand and downy phlox are all blooming along roadsides. Showy evening primrose colonies are drifting pink waves down ditches while spotted cranesbill geranium do the same on shady bluff banks. White, yellow, wood and bird’s-foot violets are flowering in their respective preferred habitats. read more

April 25, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants

Yesterday I was fortunate to be walking along a moist, sandy path on the White River with two companions to harvest stinging nettle. It was a perfect, mild spring day. read more

April 18, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants

I woke up this morning hungry for greens and scrambled eggs. My winter stores of fat are weighing me down. There is more work in the garden than I can shake a hoe at and I just need to lighten up, both in body and spirit. read more

April 4, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants

Life on our planet depends upon cycles. The movement of elements, which are the building blocks of matter, is achieved through the processes of cycles. Birth, growth, reproduction and death make up the life cycle. read more

March 7, 2016

The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants

Now, more than ever before, we can save money and eat better if we grow a vegetable garden and shop at the farmers’ markets. Fuel prices, trucking and processing costs are passed on to the consumer at the grocery store. While stores are convenient and, thankfully, usually a dependable place to obtain a wide variety of produce, the freshest food is locally grown. The surge of pride and burst of flavor that comes from eating the food you have grown are rewards beyond the measure of money. read more

February 22, 2016

The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

To start seeds indoors you need moistened, pasteurized growing medium, sterile containers and labels. Use plastic cell-pack pots that fit snuggly into trays or any small container that drains well and is big enough to sustain new seedlings for a few weeks. read more


February 8, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Flowering plants produce seeds. This is the purpose of the flowers. Open-pollinated food crops, including beans and peas, grains, corn, squash, cucumbers, melons, greens, tomatoes, onions and okra are grown from seeds. These plants produce seeds that can be saved and planted the next season with the expectation that most, if not all of the characteristics of the parents will be present in the new generation. read more

February 1, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Herbs that we now call “salad greens” come from wild plants that include chicory and endive (Cichorium spp.), lettuce (Lactuca spp.) and sow thistles (Sonchus oleraceus). read more

January 25, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

The past couple of weeks Yarb Tales have been telling the stories of pests that feed on plants and are especially pesky for indoor specimens. read more

January 18, 2016

The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

When you see masses of tiny, black or gray dots on the stem tips and leaves of your plants, it is probable aphids that have invaded and are feeding. Aphids are sap-sucking bugs that cluster on the growing tips and under the leaves of plants in the home, greenhouse and garden. read more

January 11, 2016
The Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center graces the park with visual colors and textures, sweet and pungent aromas, and helps us to interpret the history of the human use of plants.

Scale is a pest that afflicts many evergreen and deciduous woody plants. We are currently treating bay, (Laurus nobilis), citrus trees, Schefflera, Gardenia, and tea shrub, (Camellia sinensis) to control this sap-sucking organism. All of these plants are indoors or in the greenhouse.
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May 2016 Herb Workshop