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Spice up Your Summer with Herb Garden Weekend at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Hannah Nowicki
Media Relations Intern
(847) 835-6954, direct

Event Date: 
Saturday, July 26, 2014 to Sunday, July 27, 2014
Release Date: 
Monday, June 30, 2014

GLENCOE, IL (June 30, 2014) – Whether you’re an herb enthusiast or still learning the difference between a herb and a spice, you’ll likely discover something new at Herb Garden Weekend, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27, at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden.

Visitors can explore the fragrant and flavorful world of kitchen herbs through a full day of displays, demonstrations and hands-on activities. Garden staff and volunteers will share their expertise on such topics as herb gardening techniques and preparing and cooking with herbs. Learn how to grow herbs in containers, add herbs to beverages and view a special raised bed planting that features herbes de Provence, a traditional French mixture. Explore more relaxing uses for herbs with the Herbs in the Bath display featuring herbal balms, scrubs and more. Meet members of the Herb Society of America and discover new ways to capture herb flavors.

Take part in hands-on activities designed especially for families. Visitors of all ages can play a guessing game based on the scents of different herbs, decorate labels for the herbs they plant, and dig around in the “Herb Sandbox” with cups and spoons. A detailed schedule of activities can be found below.

Herb Garden Weekend is also a celebration of Artemisia, the herb of the year as designated by the International Herb Association. Artemisia, known for its strong aroma and bitter taste, has a variety of uses ranging from moth repellent, treatment for snakebites and additional flavor for grilled meats and fish. Even though there are more than 400 species of Artemisia, the most common culinary type is tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus). Few may recognize tarragon’s bushy appearance and small, elongated light green leaves; however, the mild licorice-like taste complements chicken, herbal butters and many other dishes.

Appreciation of herbs continues to increase as people look to expand their home recipes and try a variety of fresh flavors. This growing awareness highlights the difference between herbs and spices. Herbs are usually designated by the use of the plant’s leaves, as with thyme, basil, and chives, while spices such as cinnamon and peppercorn originate from bark, seeds and other plant parts. For more fun facts and tips, stop by the Herb Garden Weekend. Admission to the event is free and regular parking fees apply.

Highlights of Herb Garden Weekend include the following:

  • Garden Chef Series: 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in the Fruit & Vegetable Garden’s open-air amphitheater.
    • Saturday’s chef is Bradford Phillips from Guildhall in Glencoe.
    • Sunday’s chef is Andy Motto from Quince in Evanston.
  • Kitchen Herb Tours: 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The horticulturist from the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden will share her expertise and knowledge while taking visitors on a guided walk. A Saturday-only tour led by the Home Landscape Garden horticulturist will feature the herb gardens found there. 
  • Herb Discovery Carts: Visitors may explore the many types of herbs and edible flowers they can grow in their own home gardens. Herb resource materials will be available, including plant and seed sources, as well as recommendations. 
  • A variety of herbal products and herb-related items will be available for sale in the Wheelbarrow Shop and from the following vendors: Century Farmhouse, Windy City Harvest, Wild Tree, Three Tarts Bakery, Bushel & Peck’s, W&M Land Corp and others.Hands-on activities for kids and families include playing “Sniff and Guess” to identify different herbs and spices by their scents, decorating labels and planting herb seeds, making a dried herb mix to take home to make herb butter, and playing in the “Herb Sandbox,” a tub filled with dried petals and herbs.
  • Volunteers will be giving away a basil seedling (Ocimun basiliccia ‘Bolloso Napoletano’) while supplies last.  


Editors, please note: For digital images, contact Julie McCaffrey at (847) 835-8213 or at

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