Given that a small bunch of cilantro can now run you $2 at Dean & Deluca, converting that unused windowsill into an herb garden may not be a bad idea after all. And it won’t just be good for your pasta, either – cilantro is considered to be an herbal remedy for ailments like headaches and stress. According to Marjorie Kern, a noted herbalist, plenty of common herbs do double duty, “for flavoring, for culinary purposes, and for medicinal purposes.” Kern will be teaching a pair of classes about medicinal herbs at the Horticultural Society of New York. “Chinese Herbal Medicine” will review ordinary herbs normally associated with cooking that can be grown in window boxes or small gardens – including cilantro, which is an excellent source of vitamin C, and Chinese chives, which help to ward off colds. (No one need fear a two-hour lecture on the uses of the rare and hard-to-grow flowering scrophularia.)
Two weeks later, she will teach students how to cultivate and harvest winter indoor herbs, spotlighting those that can handle even prewar-apartment steam heating. “Anyone can grow anything, anywhere,” Kern explains, “and that goes for the winter garden.” Participants will leave with a sample of Kern’s own homegrown herbs.
“Chinese Herbal Medicine,” October 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. “Winter Indoor Herbs,” October 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Classes are $55 each for members, $65 for nonmembers. The Horticultural Society of New York, 128 West 58th Street (757-0915).
Liz Innvar, a veteran gardener at the New York Botanical Garden, has some good news for gardeners who think the growing season ends in October. “Fall is a good time for gardening,” she insists, “particularly in this climate.” Innvar will be offering two classes this fall aimed at backyard gardeners. The first, “Getting Started With Perennials,” explains how to start and maintain a healthy perennial garden. The second, “Late Season Gardening,” provides the basics for growing a fall garden and is appropriate for anyone from weekend enthusiasts to hard-core green thumbs. Both classes will include slides, ample discussion time, and a walk through the Botanical Garden to see firsthand the beauty of a perennial or late-season plot.
“Getting Started With Perennials,” October 7, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. “Late Season Gardening,” October 19, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Classes are $40 each for members, $44 for nonmembers. New York Botanical Garden, 200th Street and Southern Boulevard, the Bronx (718-817-8700).
SMALL IS BEAUTIFUL
Ever wonder at the elegance of a Japanese garden or marvel at the delicate beauty of a bonsai tree? With the help of Robert Mahler, you can stop wondering and start cultivating them in your own home garden. Mahler, an expert gardener at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, will offer two classes on the subject. The first, “Japanese Gardening in Small Spaces,” is designed to teach students how to produce a miniature Japanese garden in their own plots, even very small ones. The second, “A Bonsai Forest,” is an interactive workshop in which participants will create and take home a bonsai forest that mimics a peaceful nature scene.
“Japanese Gardening in Small Spaces,” September 19, 2 to 5 p.m.; $19 for members, $22 for nonmembers. “A Bonsai Forest,” November 7, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; $99 for members, $109 for nonmembers (fee includes $50 materials charge). Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn (718-622-4433).