May 12, 2015
By Rita Cook
Laura Miller has a nose for herbs.
The Texas A&M AgriLife Commercial Horticulture Extension Agent for Tarrant County and sixth-generation Texan earned a bachelor of science in horticulture and a master of education in agricultural education from Texas A&M University.
This Saturday, Miller will be among a bounty of herb experts sharing their knowledge at the Greater Fort Worth Herb Society Herb Festival on May 16.
Miller said she got interested in herbs because she has always enjoyed their flavor.
Above, Tarrant County extension agent Laura Miller will speak on Edible Herbs at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
“My family says I have been single-handedly increasing the per capita parsley consumption since I was a small child,” Miller says. “Herbs are also just fun for anyone who enjoys gardening. By nature, most of them are fragrant and there is a wide range of colors and textures to in an herb garden.”
At the upcoming Herb Festival, Miller will speak on “Edible Herbs,” where she’ll be encouraging folks to grow their own herbs at home.
“Fresh herbs are fairly expensive in stores, but inexpensively grown at home,” she says. “They don’t require much space and can be grown in containers or in the ground. Herbs are a great addition to a healthy diet, adding lots of flavor without adding fat or salt.”
Right, tri-color sage used in a landscape at Disneyland. Photo courtesy of Laura Miller.
According to Esther Chambliss, vice president of the Greater Fort Worth Herb Society and festival vendor chairperson, the annual herb festival, featuring presentations and vendors, is now in its 28th year.
“The first festival was held in 1986 at the Fielder Museum in Arlington and then moved to the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens in Fort Worth Texas in 1988.”
This year festival vendors will be offering guests not only a variety of plants and herbs, but also home and garden items, handcrafted soaps and lotions, handcrafted jewelry, gluten-free baking mixes, herbal teas, artisan cheeses and herbal spice blends and honey.
Left, The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society Herb Fest will feature vendors sellings herbs and garden-related items for sale. Courtesy of the GFWHS.
Miller, who relocated to Texas in 2008 from Florida, where she was a University of Florida commercial horticulture extension agent for seven years, says she recommends that beginners grow perennials, like rosemary, which smells great and also blooms in the wintertime.
“Rosemary is actually the number-one drought-doesn’t-bother-it landscape plant in the post-summer 2011 Denton County Master Gardener survivors’ survey,” she adds. “Mint can be used as a great smelling ground cover too, even in shady areas.”
Lemon grass is also an easy, attractive plant often used in Asian cuisine, she said. While bay leaves grow on an attractive small evergreen tree that can also be cultivated as a large shrub.
Right, Lemon grass, courtesy of The Herb Society of America.
Regarding her “Edible Landscape” lecture, Miller will likely be drawing on her youth and the herbs she began to eat back then.
“I will be talking about incorporating edibles into a traditional ornamental landscape. An edible landscape can be both beautiful and delicious – and appealing to wildlife as well.”
HOSTED BY: The Greater Fort Worth Herb Society
WHEN: May 16, 2015, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE: Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd, Fort Worth
COST: $2, children under 12 free
9:30 a.m. Laura Miller, Tarrant County Extension Agent: Herbs in an Edible Landscape
10:30 a.m. Judy Barrett, Editor of Home Grown Organic Magazine: Antique Roses
1 p.m. Dr. Judy Griffin, Aroma Health Texas: Herbs for Health & Beauty
2 p.m. GFWHS President, Stacy Moore: How to Make Your Own Garden Markers
Rita Cook is an Arlington-based award-winning journalist who writes or has written for the Dallas Morning News, Focus Daily News, Waxahachie Daily Light, Dreamscapes Travel Magazine, Porthole, Core Media, Fort Worth Star Telegram and many other publications in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. With five books published, her latest release is “A Brief History of Fort Worth” published by History Press. Contact her at email@example.com.