WORKSHOPS

at MOUNTAIN GARDENS

These workshops take advantage of our unique combination of diverse habitats, extensive plant collection, extraordinary library and well-equipped herb shop, plus my forty years of study and experimentation.

As a ‘botanic garden of useful plants’, one of our purposes is to introduce and promote new useful plants, for gardeners, growers, herbalists and chefs. Areas of special interest include wildfoods, medicinal herbs, (native and oriental), health-boosting (tonic, adaptogenic) plants and east-west parallels in botany and pharmacy.

Seeds and plants of most of the species discussed will be available for purchase; additionally participants will have the opportunity to purchase freshly dug, bare-root plants at a considerable saving.

Learn to identify, propagate, cultivate, harvest and prepare medicinal herbs and other useful plants.
Classes taught at Mountain Gardens, North Carolina’s premier demonstration garden of medicinal plants, with herb shop / pharmacy, extensive research library, seed collection & plant nursery, adjacent to Pisgah Nat’l Forest

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Half day classes are 1:00 – 5:00 pm Cost: $50
All day workshops are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Cost $100 (bring your own lunch)
Cost includes handouts, seed and plant distributions and samples of herbs and preparations as appropriate.
Each session will include: a plant walk in the garden and/or adjacent National Forest, lecture/demonstration, hands-on practice, resources and bibliography for further study.

For information on driving, lodging, and refunds, click here.

To Register for an event, please either call: 828-675-5664
or follow the link for each date to register online.

Workshops and Events Calendar for 2017

April 23rd Sunday (½ Day): Spring wild foods and Sansai

We’ll be observing, discussing and tasting seasonal wildfoods, both native and oriental (often related species). These are gourmet (and very marketable) vegetables that can be naturalized in your woods, fields, wetlands, etc.

April 29th Saturday (½ Day): Spring Useful Plants

This half-day session will cover ID, uses, ecology, propagation, cultivation and harvest of a wide variety of edible, medicinal, and craft (fiber, dye. paper, basketry, etc., etc.) plants. We’ll be touring the garden and also the large library of resources I’ve assembled.

May 5th-7th we will be selling plants at the Asheville Herb Festival

May 13th Saturday (½ Day): Making a woodland garden of useful plants

In this workshop we will look at the variety of native woodland plant communities and the edible and medicinal plants associated with each in order to select appropriate plants for any type of woodland. We will discuss the propagation and cultivation / fertilization of important S. Appalachian useful woodland plants and their Asian relatives. We will also consider problems associated with invasive plants, both native and exotic, in a woodland setting.

May 28th Sunday: Grow Chinese Herbs

We’ll tour our large collection (100+ spp.), and discuss habitat, propagation & cultivation, harvesting and processing methods. Chinese medicinal herbs encompass a complete range of plant types (annual & perennial herbs, shrubs, vines, trees) and habitats (garden, woodland, wetland, etc). There is an established market, nationally and locally, but almost no growers. Be a pioneer!

June 2nd Friday: Free Tours of our medicinal plants garden

June 3rd – 5th we will be attending and selling plants at Medicines from the Earth Conference, Black Mtn, NC

June 17th Saturday (½ Day): Perennial Vegetables

Become a hunter-gatherer on your own land. Once established, many of these species are care-free, and can be harvested for years to come. Knowing the appropriate habitat is one key to success. another is knowing in advance the potential weediness or invasiveness of a species. Diversify your diet, CSA, or restaurant sales.

June 24th Saturday (½ Day): How to Grow Wasabi

WNC is ideally suited for wasabi cultivation. I’ll share what I’ve learned over 25 years of working with wasabi, and we’ll inspect several plantings. Wasabi is easily grown if you can provide the right habitat, and a very high-end market is there and waiting. At last check of internet, no one is offering fresh, domestic wasabi. Be a pioneer! Seeds & plants will be available for purchase.

July 23rd Sunday: Pao zhi / Chinese herb processing

Chinese herb processing. Using various degrees of heat as well as a variety of ‘adjuvants’ such as bran, earth, brine, vinegar, wine, and ginger juice. Chinese medicine has developed a unique repertoire of techniques to modify the palatability, side effects, actions and energetics of herbs. These methods could also be advantageously applied to western herbs.

Aug 5th Saturday Afternoon: Free garden tour for the 25th annual Southeastern  Permaculture Gathering at Arthur Morgan School, Celo NC

August 13th Sunday: Using western herbs in Chinese Medicine

In this workshop we will review all previous efforts to classify western (American & European) herbs in Chinese medicine categories (taste & character, meridians entered, actions & indications) – we have collected eight publications on the topic, plus we’ll be referencing 75+ reports by my students at Daoist Traditions. A particular focus will be native (S. Appalachian) herbs with closely related Chinese species, such as Black cohosh / sheng ma, wild yam / bie xie, Solomon’s seal / yu zhu, American / Asian ginseng, etc. Mountain Gardens offers a unique opportunity to view these herbs in close proximity.

August 19th Saturday: Making Chinese Herbal Preparations

Using Chinese techniques and apparatus to produce traditional Chinese preparations. Little information is available (in English) on this subject – I’ll share what I’ve found. We’ll make medicinal wine and liqueur, honey pills, salve, syrup, infusions and decoctions.

August 26th Saturday: Grow Chinese Herbs

We’ll tour our large collection (100+ spp.), and discuss habitat, propagation & cultivation, harvesting and processing methods. Chinese medicinal herbs encompass a complete range of plant types (annual & perennial herbs, shrubs, vines, trees) and habitats (garden, woodland, wetland, etc). There is an established market, nationally and locally, but almost no growers. Be a pioneer!

September 2nd Saturday: 19th Century Apothecary

Techniques and preparations from Eclectic herbalism. I have assembled a good collection pharmacy textbooks, formularies, dispensatories, materia medica, etc. from the era when medicine was herbal medicine. Very detailed instructions for up to 50 different types of preparations, on a scale and using apparatus suitable to a home kitchen. I’ll introduce the texts and demonstrate techniques and apparatus as we make a tincture, percolation, syrup, essential oil / hydrosol, herbal mead, salve, and lozenges. (I hope we can squeeze all that in.)

September 9th Saturday: (1/2 Day) Tonic Foods / Bupin

Tonic & rejuvenative herbs in garden and kitchen. Bupin, ‘repair substance,’ is a group of Chinese herbs which can be combined with meat (optional) and vegetables to produce ‘medicated cuisine’, for tonification and boosting immunity. Consisting mostly of seeds, fruits and tuberous roots, they are tasty and are consumed as part of the meal (a few fibrous ones are used to prepare stock, then discarded). There are classic combinations involving 6-12 or more herbs, and many of these are sold pre-packaged in the larger oriental supermarkets. An exciting new (to us) direction for adventurous chefs. Many of these can be grown locally (an exciting new direction for adventurous growers). Also: congee, the standard Chinese breakfast of soupy rice, to which herbs can be added to address a wide variety of health concerns. I’ll share a collection of cookbooks.

September 10th Sunday: (1/2 Day) Perennial Vegetables

Become a hunter-gatherer on your own land. Once established, many of these spp. are care-free, and can be harvested for years to come. Knowing the appropriate habitat is one key to success. another is knowing in advance the potential weediness or invasiveness of a species. Diversify your diet, CSA, or restaurant sales.

September 16th Saturday: Seed Saving

This workshop will cover all aspects of seed saving:  when and how to collect seed, various methods and apparatus for seed cleaning, drying and storage. We will also discuss seed germination, particularly as it relates to storage (which seeds are best stored dry, which need to be kept moist and stratified by exposure to winter temperatures.) We will also look at requirements for maintaining vegetable varieties – which species will cross pollinate, isolation distances, etc.

September 23rd Saturday: Tonic Wines

Longevity tonics & rejuvenative herbs as meads & liqueurs. This workshop will cover many of the same plants as above, and also those rasayana ‘rejuvenative’ herbs used in Ayurvedic (India) medicine which can be grown locally. Instead of food, the focus will be on using these herbs to create medicinal wines, herbal meads and longevity elixirs (liqueurs). These are very popular in the orient, being healthful and delicious. The same herbs used to retard aging are also used for boosting athletic performance, ‘body-building’ and martial arts. You can purchase herbs to take home and make your own brew, from a large selection of recipes. (E.g. more than a dozen different recipes for improving memory).

 

To Register for an event, please either call:  828-675-5664
or follow the link for each date to register online.
  • Half-day: $50
  • Full-day: $100

At Mountain Gardens, we strive to create an inclusive and accessible learning environment for students of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Sliding scale, barter, and work trade options may be available upon request.

 

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