November 17, 2009
The Herb Garden
Once upon a time in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire there was a beautiful herb garden. It had been started over thirty years ago by a caring family and a host of loyal friends. Over the years the herb garden grew into a place enjoyed by many, many people not just from the Lakes Region, but also visitors from other areas of this country and abroad. In addition, the garden itself was enriched by bringing in new plants from as far away as California, Texas, Washington State and the UK.
The garden grew and prospered for many years under the watchful eye of herbalists Mr. Nee and later Mr. Polivnick. During their tenure as herbalists, some of the very special herbs were taken into the local schools so that students could learn more about herbs and the many benefits that herbs provide for continued growth and development of the human body.
Alas, however, a few years ago changes started to be made to the herb garden. A major proposed change was to actually move the herb garden to another location. The proposed changes were slow to develop at first, but this past year some monumental changes were attempted and, in some cases, made. First, at the beginning of the past growing season, herbalist Polivnick departed, leaving many to wonder why.
It appears that the heads of the family, Mr. Graham and Ms. Weatherbie who have assumed major control of the herb garden, had a vision of a new and different way to grow herbs. A few backyard gardens had been successful with this new method, but it had never been successfully accomplished with as large a garden as the one we have in the Lakes Region. To carry out their experiment, or new vision, Mr Graham and Ms. Weatherbie convinced the family to bring in a new “gardener”, Mr Fogel. Problems arose immediately when the new gardener (who was not an herbalist) and Mr. Graham and Ms Weatherbie (who are not herbalists either!) convinced the rest of the family that it was necessary to eliminate many of the well established herbs and replace them with seedlings and herbs from a different region.
Now, anyone who has had an herb garden knows that a lot of herbs and weeds look alike. Therefore an uninformed gardener “weeding out” an herb garden is in grave danger of destroying the entire garden. Unfortunately, many members of the family and most of the loyal supporters of the herb garden over the years are not only being left out, but are being denied any input to the decision making process relative to the “new herb garden.”
This old Yankee farmer thinks it is time to take back the garden. Hire an herbalist with the stature of a Nee or Polivnick. Dismiss the “gardener” or put him in charge of marketing and publicizing the herb garden instead of weeding it. Demand the Overseers of this garden assume the responsibility that is theirs to ensure the herb garden gets everything it needs to remain healthy instead of letting the gardeners Graham, Weatherbie and Fogel continue to weed the garden indiscriminately. And finally, the Overseers need to speak out and do something about experiments being done to a once fragrant and thriving herb garden.
Diane L. Potter
Center Harbor, NH