How Green is Your Thumb?

…and may we borrow it?

This summer, nine of the CLP branches (Carrick, Homewood, Knoxville, Lawrenceville, Mt. Washington, Sheraden, Squirrel Hill, West End, and Woods Run) are planting herb gardens – plus Lawrenceville is operating a seed library – all thanks to a generous grant from the Mary Jane Berger Foundation.

So far, each of the participating branches have been subject to soil testing to determine the best plants for that location and have consulted with the fine folks at Phipps on where to start digging. Quite soon, we’ll break out the roto-tillers and get our hands dirty. Sound like a good time? Get in contact with a branch near you to volunteer. We’ll be happy to have you. If you don’t have time to dedicate to the gardens on a regular basis, you can jump in on the many gardening programs that are being planned. My branch has plant swaps, terrarium building and seed bomb-making on the calendar!

In the meantime, check out a few herb gardening books from the catalog:

 Community Gardening: A PHS Handbook – editor, Jane Caroll

Herb Gardening From the Ground Up : Everything You Need to Know About Growing Your Favorite Herbs -Sal Gilbertie and Larry Sheehan

 Jekka’s Herb Cookbook – Jekka McVicar

The Complete Illustrated Book of Herbs: Growing, Health & Beauty, Cooking, Crafts


– Jess


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7 responses to “How Green is Your Thumb?

  1. ZZMike

    This is a good time to bring up a book the library should consider. We were at a garden show recently, and one of the talks was about this one:

    The Ambonese Herbal, Vol 1

    There are 6 volumes in all – each one over 600 pages ($85 each). It was written in the late 1600s (in Dutch), and finally translated last year – Yale University Press. The speaker had a set with her for us to look at.

    The Introduction takes up the first 150 pages of Vol. 1. The translator has added thousands of Notes throughout, explaining the original Dutch and how he came to translate the Dutch.

    The series was written by Rumphius (1627–1702) – whose life is more than interesting (he lived in interesting times). He spent the last 50 or so years of his life on the Indonesian island of Ambon, and carefully described and drew all the species of plant life he could find.

    What sets this apart from all the other books on the subject (that have yet to be written) is that he includes the day-to-day uses of the plants and trees, even including the folk-lore.

    This is the volume that concentrates on herbs:

    “The Ambonese Herbal, Volume 4: Book VIII: Containing Potherbs Used for Food, Medicine, and Sport; Book IX: Concerning Bindweeds, as well as Twining and Creeping Plants”

    There’s a smaller book, an extract, dealing entirely with orchids:

    Rumphius’ Orchids: Orchid Texts from “The Ambonese Herbal”

    Anyone with an interest in orchids really should have that one – on Amazon: “22 new from $4.00 43 used from $0.01”

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Mke! It looks like there is already a set of these at the Hunt Bontannical Institute, and while I certainly wouldn’t rule it out, we do make a deliberate effort not to duplicate the university libraries’ collections. I’ll pass this on to the appropriate staff, however.

      Leigh Anne

      • lectorconstans

        Leigh Anne: At about $450, I certainly wouldn’t duplicate it. As long as it’s available somewhere nearby, that’s sufficient.

        I would consider getting a copy of “Rumphius’ Orchids”, though. It’s a nice little book.

  2. Very creative! good photo

  3. Will you be doing anything with the herbs grown, or are they just going to be decorative?

    • We’re doing a mix of cooking and decorative herbs, so once harvest time hits, we’ll be able to use them for various programs at the branches – cooking, crafting, and seed saving!
      – Jess

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