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Hat and Fragrance Garden

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This Hat and Fragrance Garden at Shelburne Museum has a plethora of different kinds of herbs. Some are culinary, some are medicinal, and some are used for lots of other uses. Let's take a look.

The first one, is called Costmary. Costmary has an anise flavor, kind of like anise hyssop, which is another herb in this garden. It's a nice herb to create minty flavored drinks, and you can use it in cooking in different dishes. It grows up about 3 feet tall, it has spiky little leaves that have teeth or serrated. It's also a good moth repellant. So when you're putting your sweaters away for summer, you can throw a few leaves of costmary in the drawer. Or if you have an old book and you don't want silverfish to eat the pages, throw a few leaves, too. It will repel them.

Most people think of French tarragon as a culinary herb and you can use it in cooking. It has a very strong flavor so you have to be really careful when you're using it in recipes. But it also is great if you want to put it in a potpourri, detergents or even in soaps.  It gives anything that nice anise flavor and smell which will permeate the product. If you like anise, you're all set. If you don't, you might want to use something else.

The final herb is soapwort. This one is really cool herb, because soapwort has saponin in it. If you take the leaves and rub them really fast with some water, they froth up. They were used in ancient times to clean linens, fabrics and metal. Soapwort was basically a soap substitute.

So you could have soap in your garden. Imagine going out in your garden and getting your hands dirty, picking soapwort to wash your hands.

So herb gardens can be more than just culinary treats, they can have lots of other uses.

By Charlie Nardozzi

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