A Brief History
We have come such a long way. What started as a posting on a tree at a sale at the Civic Garden Center asking for people interested in herbs, to the first meeting of fifteen intrepid herb lovers in the basement of the CGC, is today’s flourishing organization of 125 plus herb enthusiasts. I think the first incredible accomplishment is that seven of the original members are still members at our 30th anniversary.
The Herb Society of Greater Cincinnati was initiated by Venus Derrick and Verona Bennetto after interest in such a group had been expressed by workers during the 1975 Civic Garden Center Plant and Herb Sale. A mailing list was compiled using every source imaginable and a preliminary meeting was held on September 25, 1975, at 7:30 PM. During that informal gathering, it was agreed to hold future society meetings the third Thursday of each month, with the time varying, and to charge $6.00 dues per membership.
Here are just some of the highlights:
►Established the Herb Garden at the CGC which in 1999 won the Civic Beautification Silver Bowl Award for ten years of excellence.
►Have given over $75,000 in support of scholarships to UC, Cincinnati State, and Miami University, as well as donations to the CGC, Neighborhood Gardens, Flora Therapy, The National Arboretum, Pauline Warfield Lewis Center, Cary Cottage, and more.
►Participated in the Cincinnati Flower Show since its beginning where we have won numerous medals, including the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Award, the Mayor’s Award/Amateur Category, and The Cincinnati Enquirer Award of Excellence.
►Publish a cookbook, Herbs: From Cultivation to Cooking, which received favorable reviews from several sources including Bon Appetit. It is still in active publication. Thousands of copies have been sold through the years, and it is still available through a number of sources.
►Began a cooperative effort with Dr. Jerry Snider, Director of Herbarium at UC. We donated money for cases and related supplies. Members have made and donated numerous herbarium sheets to the Herbarium.
►Established our own sale and celebration of herbs.
►Renovated and maintain a historic herb garden at Sharon Woods Historical Village.
►Our members have created and given hundreds of programs, both for the Herb Society itself as well as for other organizations throughout the tristate. They have also contributed their time and talents to many other gardening endeavors in our area.
►And Lord knows we can cook. How much wonderful hospitality have we shared with each other over the years? It makes my mouth water just to think about it.
I know there is so much more we have achieved, but you get the idea; we are a very productive group. I really believe we support the Herb Society statement of purpose, which is to promote interest in the growing and use of herbs and to exchange information and experiences related to herbs. In order to achieve this purpose, members will be expected to contribute of their time and talent. We certainly do.
In closing, I would like to first comment on the diversity of the group. Among our members, we have talented artists and craftsman, horticulturalists and master gardeners, chefs and culinary expert, and much, much more. And next I want to comment on the memberships’’ generosity. I have never seen a harder working, so willing to donate time and materials; they even donate their husbands’ time and talents! Thanks you all for making the past thirty years such a productive and rewarding experience. May we continue to grow and learn in the future.
By Jenny Kingery, 2005