Northern California is teeming with talent. Here you’ll find pioneers in every industry from computer science to the culinary arts. The same holds true for gardening and horticulture. It is with great pleasure that The Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Art & Garden Center announce the first annual Garden for All Season event, a fall festival showcasing two local area experts, ROSALIND CREASY and KAMI McBRIDE.
“We are so pleased to be teaming up with Kami and Rosalind on our first Garden for All Seasons event. Part of our mission as Marin Master Gardeners is to educate the public on sustainable gardening practices, and we couldn't ask for more talented speakers on the topics of edibles and herbs,” said Kathryn Reinhardt, Co-President of Marin Master Gardeners.
Rosalind will be sharing her vast knowledge on landscaping with edibles, and Kami will teach us how to get the most from our herb gardens. The Marin Master Gardeners will also be sharing their expertise by displaying various gardens (Mediterranean, herb, habitat and native), delivering talks and running demonstrations around sustainable gardening, water conservation, seed saving, composting and container gardening. In anticipation of the event, we sat down with Rosalind and Kami to find out what inspires them, how they got their start(s), and what every home gardener should know:
- How did you get your start in the world of edible/herb gardening?
Rosalind: My dad. He gave me my first veggie garden at age 5. It was right off his own garden (not sure whether he just wanted to keep me occupied or what), and he set me up with some tomatoes, strawberry runners and bean seeds and I was off. Of course, after I few days I moved all the plants around like dollhouse furniture and they all died. I am still moving my garden around today, years later.
Kami: I went on my first herb walk at a nature summer camp when I was eight years old. I remember just being so amazed at learning about the uses of the plants that grew right where I spent so much time playing. From then on I was on the hunt for everything I could learn about plants.
- As in any creative industry garden design trends come and go. Any trends in edibles/herbs you love right now? By contrast, any that you would like to see disappear?
Rosalind: Edibles have finally become powerful – they finally have status. They have moved beyond the rows of farm vegetables. Everybody wants edibles in their gardens now. We have let the genie out of the bottle, and that’s a trend I can get behind. There are no trends that are bad right now; the fact that everybody is curious and learning about edibles is always a net positive.
- What are your top go-to plants you would recommend in any edible/herb garden?
Rosalind: I call herbs “edibles with training wheels.” Anyone with a window box or a tiny plot of earth should start there. In the winter, I recommend lettuce and cilantro. So many people here think cilantro is hard to grow and usually it’s because they are planting it in the spring (to eat with their tomatoes), which is wrong. Cilantro is a day length sensitive herb so when they days get too long it wants to bolt and starts putting out seed. Plant it in the winter and it’s prolific and easy – a great starting point. When talking about edibles, there are no overrated plants. They all serve a purpose; whether it’s sharing with your neighbors, adding to your compost, or providing for the local food bank – all of which nurture our communities.
Kami: I love lemon verbena. It is so versatile. It makes the best hot tea, iced tea, lemonade and party punch. It is delicious in deserts, butters and ice cream. I love having it planted on the edge of the walkway so every single time I walk by it, I am bathed in its delicious aroma. I love this herb.
- What are the most common mistakes home gardeners make when planting with edibles/herbs?
Rosalind: That’s easy – people are overly ambitious. I always advise to start simple, which is why I include an effort scale when I am writing about edibles. Don’t jump out of the gate with a peach tree (a 5 on my scale), unless you are ready to battle with borers, and peach tree leaf curl. Start with the 1s and 2s and build your expertise over time.
Kami: I think a common mistake that new gardeners make is not planting enough different things. Plant a lot of various things and see what does well where you live. Then try again next year and let go of expectations that this year will be the same as last year. Each year the harvest will be different.
- Who/what inspires you creatively?
Rosalind: When I see people “get” that gardening with edibles goes so far beyond a household. It’s a full circle experience that involves feeding and nurturing individuals, communities and the earth. Once you start a light bulb will go off and you’ll never go back. It’s like living life in full color then reverting back to black and white.
Kami: I love the whole slow food, local, sustainability movement and how it is just spreading across the land. I delight in seeing gardens instead of lawns and neighborhood produce stands. I currently really love the book Kitchen Literacy by Ann Vileisis. We didn’t get to this point of being illiterate about our food over night. It happened over time and it is important to reclaim our knowledge about where and how our food is produced.
The Garden for All season is an event no gardening enthusiast will want to miss, so mark your calendars for Sat., Oct. 22. The event will be held at The Marin Art & Garden Center in Ross, California, doors open at 9:30 a.m. and the event runs until 4:00 pm. Tickets are $10 per person for an all-day pass, $25 for each additional speaker. Tickets maybe purchased day of the event or tickets can be purchased online at marinmg.org. Register before Oct. 17 and save up to $20. For questions about the event or registration please e-mail the event coordinator at email@example.com.
Rosalind Creasy is a landscape designer, garden writer and photographer, and leading authority on edible landscaping. She is the author of eighteen books, including two best-selling titles for Sierra Club Books: the original edition of Edible Landscaping (1982) and Cooking from the Garden (1988), which were both Garden Writers Association award winners. Creasy lives in Los Altos, California. http://rosalindcreasy.com
Kami McBride, author and herbalist. For more than 23 years, Kami has inspired people to plant spice rack and medicine cabinet gardens. Kami developed herbal curriculum for the Masters program at the California Institute of Integral Studies and at UCSF School of Nursing and she is the author of The Herbal Kitchen, a guide to preparing, storing, and using herbs for culinary and long-term healthcare. www.livingawareness.com
Learn more about the Marin Master Gardeners by visiting marinmg.org.