According to the Herb Society of America, herbs are “plants (trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, biennials, or annuals) valued historically, presently, or potentially for their flavor, fragrance, medicinal qualities, insecticidal qualities, economic or industrial use, or in the case of dyes, for the coloring material they provide.” I am particularly interested in “plants valued for their flavor,” i.e., culinary herbs. This is a work-in-progress guide to culinary herb resources in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
The following are the local public herb gardens, sources for buying herbs, societies, magazines, and books. The asterisk indicates that the locations also offer herb events, classes, and workshops. Because of the pandemic though contact them first to see if they are open or offering workshops. This is not all inclusive, there are other groups and businesses such as master gardeners and nurseries that provide herbal presentations. These events are listed on my local monthly events tab on pegplant.com. Join the Facebook group, Culinary Herbs and Spices to learn more about growing and using herbs, including sharing recipes.
Public Herb Gardens
National Herb Garden, U.S. National Arboretum, Washington DC*
National Library of Medicine’s Herb Garden, Bethesda, Maryland
Green Spring Gardens (Potomac Unit donated the Doris Frost Herb Garden in 1995), Alexandria, Virginia*
Meadowlark Botanical Garden’s Herb Garden, Vienna, Virginia*
U.S. Botanic Garden and the Bartholdi Park, Washington DC*
The Bishops Garden at the National Cathedral, Washington DC.
The Franciscan Monastery’s garden, Washington DC (annual plant and herb sale in April)
The Green Farmacy Garden, Fulton, MD*
Plant and Seed Sources
See pegplant.com for a list of nurseries and a list of seed sources. Most local nurseries sell herbs in the spring. The only place that specialize in herbs is Willow Oak Flower and Herb Garden* in Severn, MD. DeBaggio’s Herb Farm and Nursery closed in the spring of 2020.
The Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America sells herbs at the Friends of the National Arboretum plant sale at the U.S. National Arboretum in DC, in April.
The Franciscan Monastery has an herb and plant sale in April.
The Baltimore Herb Festival is in May at the Leakin Park, Baltimore, MD.
Blooming Hill Lavender Farm specializes in lavender and has an annual lavender festival in June as well as other herb-related events throughout the year, Purceville, VA.*
Smile Herb Shop, College Park, MD.*
The Herb Society of America, Ohio. The website has many resources and a library of webinars. You can become a member at large.
The Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America is the local unit for the Washington DC metro area. There is a membership form on the website or come to a meeting as a guest.
The International Herb Association is responsible for the Herb of the Year. Each year they select an herb and produce a compendium of articles on that particular plant. This is a membership organization and members receive the publication free but the public can order it as well for a fee.
The Essential Herbal magazine (a website, blog, magazine).
Culinary Herb Books, chronological order
Herb Gardening for Beginners: A Simple Guide to Growing and Using Culinary and Medicinal Herbs at Home by Marc Thomas, 2021
Edible Flowers: How, Why, and When We Eat Flowers by Monica Nelson, 2021
The Homesteaders Guide to Growing Herbs: Learn how to Grow, Prepare and Use Herbs by Kristine Brown, 2020
Complete Container Herb Gardening: Design and Grow Beautiful, Bountiful Herb-filled Pots by Susan Goetz, 2020
Botanical Baking: Contemporary Baking and Cake Decorating with Edible Flowers and Herbs by Juliet Sear, 2019
The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen: Using the Power of Food to Cook Your Way to Better Health by Devon Young, 2019
The Kitchen Herb Garden: Growing and Preparing Essential Herbs by Rosalind Creasy, 2019
Grow Your Own Herbs: The 40 Best Culinary Varieties for Home Gardens by Susan Belsinger and Arthur O. Tucker, 2019
Beyond Rosemary, Basil and Thyme: Unusual, Interesting and Uncommon Herbs to Enjoy by Theresa Mieseler, 2019
The Herbal Kitchen: Bringing Lasting Health to You and Your Family with 50 Easy-to-Find Common Herbs and Over 250 Recipes by Kami McBride, 2019
A Taste for Herbs: Your Guide to Seasoning, Mixes and Blends from the Herb Lover’s Garden by Sue Goetz, 2019
Herbal Handbook for the Homesteaders: Farmed and Foraged Herbal Remedies and Recipes by Abby Artemisia, 2019
The Art of Edible Flowers: Recipes and Ideas for Floral Salads, Drinks, Desserts and More by Rebecca Sullivan, 2018
The Herbalist’s Kitchen: Cooking and Healing with Herbs by Pat Crocker, 2018
The Homesteader’s Herbal Companion: The Ultimate Guide to Growing, Preserving and Using Herbs by Amy K. Fewell, 2018
The Art of Cooking with Lavender by Nancy Baggett, 2016
The Culinary Herbal: Growing and Preserving 97 Flavorful Herbs by Susan Belsinger and Arthur O. Tucker, 2016
Homegrown Herb Garden: A Guide to Growing and Culinary Uses by Lisa Baker Morgan and Ann McCormick, 2015
Cooking with Flowers: Sweet and Savory Recipes with Rose Petals, Lilacs, Lavender and Other Edible Flowers by Miche Bacher and Miana Jun, 2013
Edible Flowers: 25 Recipes and an A-Z Pictorial Directory of Culinary Flora by Kathy Brown, 2012
Eat Your Roses: … Pansies, Lavender and 49 other Delicious Edible Flowers by Denise Schreiber, 2011
Essential Guide to Growing and Cooking with Herbs by Herb Society of America, edited by Katherine K. Schlosser, 2007
The Edible Flower Garden by Kathy Brown, 1999
Edible Flower Garden by Rosalind Creasy, 1999
Edible Flowers: Desserts and Drinks by Cathy Wilkinson Barash, 1997
Living with Herbs: A Treasury of Useful Plants for the Home and Garden by Jo Ann Gardner 1997
Edible Flowers: From Garden to Palate by Cathy Wilkinson Barash, paperback 1995; hardback 1993
Herbal Treasures: Inspiring Month-by-Month Projects for Gardening, Cooking and Crafts by Phyllis Shaudys, 1990
Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, edited by Claire Kowalchik and William H. Hylton, 1987
The Pleasure of Herbs: A Month-by-Month Guide to Growing, Using and Enjoying Herbs by Phyllis Shaudys, 1986
Produced by Peggy Riccio, pegplant.com