Mountain Gardens
2004 wildfood (1).jpg

Workshops

 

Learn to identify, propagate, cultivate, harvest and prepare medicinal herbs and other useful plants.
Classes taught at Mountain Gardens, North Carolina’s premier demonstration garden of medicinal plants, with herb shop / pharmacy, extensive research library, seed collection & plant nursery, adjacent to Pisgah National Forest.

 

All-day workshops are 9:30 am – 5:00 pm Cost $100 (bring your own lunch)

Half-day classes are 1:00 – 5:00 pm Cost: $50

 

Cost includes handouts, seed and plant distributions and samples of herbs and preparations as appropriate.

Each session will include: a plant walk in the garden and/or adjacent National Forest, lecture/demonstration, hands-on practice, resources and bibliography for further study.

For information on driving, lodging, and refunds, click here.

To register for an event, please follow the link for each date to register online, or call 828-675-5664.

We offer a 20% discount to students, residents of Yancey and Mitchell Counties, and groups of 3 or more. Email us for a code.

 

These workshops take advantage of our unique combination of diverse habitats, extensive plant collection, extraordinary library and well-equipped herb shop, plus my forty years of study and experimentation.

As a ‘botanic garden of useful plants’, one of our purposes is to introduce and promote new useful plants, for gardeners, growers, herbalists and chefs. Areas of special interest include wildfoods, medicinal herbs, (native and oriental), health-boosting (tonic, adaptogenic) plants and east-west parallels in botany and pharmacy.

Seeds and plants of most of the species discussed will be available for purchase; additionally participants will have the opportunity to purchase freshly dug, bare-root plants at a considerable saving.

 
 
 
Local Herbs in Chinese Medicine, with Thomas Avery Garran
Jul
13
1:00 PM13:00

Local Herbs in Chinese Medicine, with Thomas Avery Garran

SPECIAL GUEST WORKSHOP WITH THOMAS AVERY GARRAN

Mountain Gardens is very pleased to announce a pair of workshops with Thomas Avery Garran—Using Local Herbs in Chinese Medicine, and Grow Chinese Herbs, on July 13 and 14th. Mr. Garran is the author of what are, in my opinion, the two best books (of the eight now available) on the very lively subject of using western herbs in the practice of Chinese medical herbalism: Western Herbs According to Chinese Medicine (Healing Arts Press, 2008) and Western Herbs in Chinese Medicine: Methodology and Materia Medica (Passiflora Press, 2014). He is currently based in Beijing, China and recently completed his PhD at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences: National Center for Materia Medica Resources and Daodi Herbs.

In this half-day workshop we will review all previous efforts to classify western (American & European) herbs in Chinese medicine categories (taste & character, meridians entered, actions & indications), focusing on native medicinal herbs and locally abundant "weeds." In addition to Thomas Avery Garran's experitse on the subject, we have collected eight publications on the topic, plus we’ll be referencing 75+ reports by my students at Daoist Traditions. A particular focus will be native (S. Appalachian) herbs with closely related Chinese species, such as Black cohosh / sheng ma, wild yam / bie xie, Solomon’s seal / yu zhu,American / Asian ginseng, etc. Mountain Gardens offers a unique opportunity to view these herbs in close proximity.

$60

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Grow Chinese Herbs, with Thomas Avery Garran
Jul
14
9:30 AM09:30

Grow Chinese Herbs, with Thomas Avery Garran

SPECIAL GUEST WORKSHOP WITH THOMAS AVERY GARRAN

Mountain Gardens is very pleased to announce a pair of workshops with Thomas Avery Garran—Using Local Herbs in Chinese Medicine, and Grow Chinese Herbs, on July 13 and 14th. Mr. Garran is the author of what are, in my opinion, the two best books (of the eight now available) on the very lively subject of using western herbs in the practice of Chinese medical herbalism: Western Herbs According to Chinese Medicine (Healing Arts Press, 2008) and Western Herbs in Chinese Medicine: Methodology and Materia Medica (Passiflora Press, 2014). He is currently based in Beijing, China and recently completed his PhD at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences: National Center for Materia Medica Resources and Daodi Herbs.

Mr. Garran has, for the past seven years, been growing herbs commercially in China and has worked with a number of farms around the country as a consultant as well as a student (studying what they are doing and helping them to improve and move toward organic production if they are not already doing that). He has a new book coming out shortly, Chinese Herb Cultivation: Daodi Practices for Growing and Processing Chinese Herbs (Passiflora Press, 2019), which is a translation of a daodi agriculture and processing text. The text has 39 herbs in it and will be the most comprehensive text available in English.

Daodi is a descriptor term that designates an herb as coming from a specific region known traditionally for producing the highest quality of a particular herb, but the term also includes the techniques used to grow, harvest and process the herb so that it becomes an 'official' daodi herb.

This workshop will be a rare opportunity for us to learn from Mr. Garran about how top quality herbs are produced in China while examining the actual herbs as they are being grown at Mountain Gardens. I anticipate acquiring much priceless information regarding the accuracy of the genetic material we currently have here. We will also look closely at the ecology of China as compared with this area and therefore the most appropriate Chinese herbs for us to grow and appropriate techniques for each of them, as well as the very complex traditional post-harvest processing for the herbs. Mr. Garran is dedicated to developing commercial scale production of top quality Chinese herbs in America using organic methods. His book and his teaching will be superior to anything we have had available to us in the past and will go far towards accomplishing this worthy goal.

In this full-day workshop, we’ll tour our large collection (100+ spp.), and discuss habitat, propagation & cultivation, harvesting and processing methods. Chinese medicinal herbs encompass a complete range of plant types (annual & perennial herbs, shrubs, vines, trees) and habitats (garden, woodland, wetland, etc). There is an established market, nationally and locally, but almost no growers. Be a pioneer!

$115

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Chinese Herb Processing (Pao Zhi)
Jul
20
9:30 AM09:30

Chinese Herb Processing (Pao Zhi)

In this full-day workshop we will learn about Chinese herb processing, which uses various degrees of heat as well as a variety of 'adjuvants' such as bran, earth, brine, vinegar, wine, and ginger juice to modify the palatability, side effects, actions and energetics of herbs. These methods could also be advantageously applied to Western herbs.

Class minimum 5 people

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Herbal Preparations
Aug
10
9:30 AM09:30

Herbal Preparations

In this full-day workshop, we will explore techniques and preparations from Eclectic herbalism of the 19th century.  We will also look at those used to produce traditional Chinese preparations. We've assembled a good collection of pharmacy textbooks, formularies, materia medica, etc. from the era when medicine was herbal medicine.  We will introduce texts and demonstrate techniques and apparatus as we make tinctures (alcoholic extracts) using both maceration and percolation methods, water extracts by way of infusion and decoction, honey pills, herbal mead, and salve. We will also demonstrate essential oil and hydrosol distillation.

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Summer Plant Walk
Aug
24
1:00 PM13:00

Summer Plant Walk

Join us for a two-hour walk in the garden, as we look at edibles, medicinals, and other useful plants. We’ll look at both native and introduced species. The walk will cover ID, cultivation, harvest, and uses.

$25 per person ($20 for students, residents of Yancey and Mitchell Counties, and groups of 3 or more—email us for a code)

View Event →
Grow Adaptogens
Aug
31
1:00 PM13:00

Grow Adaptogens

In this half-day workshop, we’ll learn about adaptogens, herbs that help the body adapt to stress— in other words, health and longevity-promoting herbs.  This is my favorite category of herbs and I have put a lot of effort into acquiring and learning to grow them.   After a brief introduction to the concept, worldwide, and relevant literature, we’ll tour the garden examining  and discussing the plants.  We’ll conclude in the herb shop to look at a full range of Chinese tonic herbs and discuss how to use them.

View Event →
Seed Saving
Sep
7
1:00 PM13:00

Seed Saving

This half-day workshop will cover all aspects of seed saving: when and how to collect seed, various methods and apparatus for seed cleaning, drying and storage. We will also discuss seed germination, particularly as it relates to storage (which seeds are best stored dry, which need to be kept moist and stratified by exposure to winter temperatures.) We will also look at requirements for maintaining vegetable varieties – which species will cross pollinate, isolation distances, etc.

View Event →
Tonic Foods
Sep
14
1:00 PM13:00

Tonic Foods

This half-day workshop will cover tonic & rejuvenative herbs in garden and kitchen. Bupin, ‘repair substance,’ is a group of Chinese herbs which can be combined with meat (optional) and vegetables to produce ‘medicated cuisine’, for tonification and boosting immunity. Consisting mostly of seeds, fruits and tuberous roots, they are tasty and are consumed as part of the meal (a few fibrous ones are used to prepare stock, then discarded). There are classic combinations involving 6-12 or more herbs, and many of these are sold pre-packaged in the larger oriental supermarkets. An exciting new (to us) direction for adventurous chefs. Many of these can be grown locally (an exciting new direction for adventurous growers). Also: congee, the standard Chinese breakfast of soupy rice, to which herbs can be added to address a wide variety of health concerns. I’ll share a collection of cookbooks.

View Event →
Tonic Wines
Sep
21
1:00 PM13:00

Tonic Wines

In this half-day workshop, we’ll discuss longevity tonics & rejuvenative herbs as meads & liqueurs. This workshop will cover many of the same plants as above, and also those rasayana ‘rejuvenative’ herbs used in Ayurvedic (India) medicine which can be grown locally. Instead of food, the focus will be on using these herbs to create medicinal wines, herbal meads and longevity elixirs (liqueurs). These are very popular in the orient, being healthful and delicious. The same herbs used to retard aging are also used for boosting athletic performance, ‘body-building’ and martial arts. You can purchase herbs to take home and make your own brew, from a large selection of recipes.

View Event →

Summer Plant Walk
Jun
22
1:00 PM13:00

Summer Plant Walk

Join us for a two-hour walk in the garden, as we look at edibles, medicinals, and other useful plants. We’ll look at both native and introduced species. The walk will cover ID, cultivation, harvest, and uses.

$25 per person ($20 for students, residents of Yancey and Mitchell Counties, and groups of 3 or more—email us for a code)

Photo by Lauren Lightbody

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Grow Wasabi
Jun
15
1:00 PM13:00

Grow Wasabi

Western North Carolina is ideally suited for wasabi cultivation. In this half-day workshop I’ll share what I’ve learned over 25 years of working with wasabi, and we’ll inspect several plantings. Wasabi is easily grown if you can provide the right habitat, and a very high-end market is there and waiting. At last check of internet, no one is offering fresh, domestic wasabi. Be a pioneer! Seeds & plants will be available for purchase.

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Perennial Vegetables and Wildfoods
Jun
8
1:00 PM13:00

Perennial Vegetables and Wildfoods

In this half-day workshop you’ll learn how to become a hunter-gatherer on your own land. Once established, many of these species are care-free, and can be harvested for years to come. Knowing the appropriate habitat is one key to success. Another is knowing in advance the potential weediness or invasiveness of a species. Diversify your diet, CSA, or restaurant sales.

View Event →
Grow Adaptogens
May
25
1:00 PM13:00

Grow Adaptogens

These are herbs that help the body adapt to stress, in other words, health and longevity-promoting herbs.  This is my favorite category of herbs and I have put a lot of effort into acquiring and learning to grow them.   After a brief introduction to the concept, worldwide, and relevant literature, we’ll tour the garden examining  and discussing the plants.  We’ll conclude in the herb shop to look at a full range of Chinese tonic herbs and discuss how to use them. This is a half-day workshop.

View Event →
Grow Chinese Herbs
May
18
9:30 AM09:30

Grow Chinese Herbs

In this full-day workshop, we’ll tour our large collection (100+ spp.), and discuss habitat, propagation & cultivation, harvesting and processing methods. Chinese medicinal herbs encompass a complete range of plant types (annual & perennial herbs, shrubs, vines, trees) and habitats (garden, woodland, wetland, etc). There is an established market, nationally and locally, but almost no growers. Be a pioneer!

View Event →
Grow Woodland Medicinals
May
11
1:00 PM13:00

Grow Woodland Medicinals

Mountain Gardens hosts a very large collection of medicinal herbs.  In this half-day workshop, we will examine and discuss almost all of the important native woodland medicinal herbs (ginseng, goldenseal, false unicorn, black cohosh, blue cohosh, etc), their ID, propagation, ecological requirements, harvest, preparation and uses. We'll also look at some related Asian woodland medicinals, and examine the most useful sources of information from our library.  

View Event →
Spring Plant Walk
Apr
28
1:00 PM13:00

Spring Plant Walk

Join us for a two-hour walk in the garden, as we look at edibles, medicinals, and other useful plants. We’ll look at both native and introduced species. The walk will cover ID, cultivation, harvest, and uses.

$25 per person ($20 for students, residents of Yancey and Mitchell Counties, and groups of 3 or more)

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Making a Woodland Garden of Useful Plants
Apr
27
1:00 PM13:00

Making a Woodland Garden of Useful Plants

In this half-day workshop we will look at the variety of native woodland plant communities and the edible and medicinal plants associated with each in order to select appropriate plants for any type of woodland. We will discuss the propagation and cultivation / fertilization of important southern Appalachian useful woodland plants and their Asian relatives. We will also consider problems associated with invasive plants, both native and exotic, in a woodland setting.

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Spring Plant Walk
Apr
6
1:00 PM13:00

Spring Plant Walk

Join us for a two-hour walk in the garden, as we look at edibles, medicinals, and other useful plants. We’ll look at both native and introduced species. The walk will cover ID, cultivation, harvest, and uses.

$25 per person ($20 for students, residents of Yancey and Mitchell Counties, and groups of 3 or more)

View Event →
Perennial Food Plants Lecture, Discussion, and Exchange
Mar
17
1:30 PM13:30

Perennial Food Plants Lecture, Discussion, and Exchange

Joe Hollis will lead a talk on perennial food plants, drawing on his experience at last year’s Potential of Perennials for Food System Resilience Symposium in Switzerland. Topics, in addition to perennial vegetables, may include food resilience, climate change, and carbon sequestration.

Bring your plants and/or seeds if you have extra to share, for an optional community exchange at the end of the session.

This is a free event (donations are welcomed).

View Event →
Tonic Wines
Sep
29
1:00 PM13:00

Tonic Wines

Longevity tonics & rejuvenative herbs as meads & liqueurs. This workshop will cover many of the same plants as above, and also those rasayana ‘rejuvenative’ herbs used in Ayurvedic (India) medicine which can be grown locally. Instead of food, the focus will be on using these herbs to create medicinal wines, herbal meads and longevity elixirs (liqueurs). These are very popular in the orient, being healthful and delicious. The same herbs used to retard aging are also used for boosting athletic performance, ‘body-building’ and martial arts. You can purchase herbs to take home and make your own brew, from a large selection of recipes.

View Event →
Seed Saving
Sep
22
1:00 PM13:00

Seed Saving

This workshop will cover all aspects of seed saving: when and how to collect seed, various methods and apparatus for seed cleaning, drying and storage. We will also discuss seed germination, particularly as it relates to storage (which seeds are best stored dry, which need to be kept moist and stratified by exposure to winter temperatures.) We will also look at requirements for maintaining vegetable varieties – which species will cross pollinate, isolation distances, etc.

View Event →
Tonic Foods
Sep
8
1:00 PM13:00

Tonic Foods

Tonic & rejuvenative herbs in garden and kitchen. Bupin, ‘repair substance,’ is a group of Chinese herbs which can be combined with meat (optional) and vegetables to produce ‘medicated cuisine’, for tonification and boosting immunity. Consisting mostly of seeds, fruits and tuberous roots, they are tasty and are consumed as part of the meal (a few fibrous ones are used to prepare stock, then discarded). There are classic combinations involving 6-12 or more herbs, and many of these are sold pre-packaged in the larger oriental supermarkets. An exciting new (to us) direction for adventurous chefs. Many of these can be grown locally (an exciting new direction for adventurous growers). Also: congee, the standard Chinese breakfast of soupy rice, to which herbs can be added to address a wide variety of health concerns. I’ll share a collection of cookbooks.

View Event →
Herbal Preparations
Sep
1
9:30 AM09:30

Herbal Preparations

Techniques and preparations from Eclectic herbalism of the 19th century. We will also look at techniques and apparatus used to produce traditional Chinese preparations. I have assembled a good collection of pharmacy textbooks, formularies, dispensatories, materia medica, etc. from the era when medicine was herbal medicine. I’ll introduce the texts and demonstrate techniques and apparatus as we make a tincture, percolation, infusion, decoction, essential oil / hydrosol, herbal mead, salve, and honey pills. (I hope we can squeeze all that in.)

View Event →
Grow Chinese Herbs
Aug
25
9:30 AM09:30

Grow Chinese Herbs

We’ll tour our large collection (100+ spp.), and discuss habitat, propagation & cultivation, harvesting and processing methods. Chinese medicinal herbs encompass a complete range of plant types (annual & perennial herbs, shrubs, vines, trees) and habitats (garden, woodland, wetland, etc). There is an established market, nationally and locally, but almost no growers. Be a pioneer!

View Event →
Perennial Vegetables
Jun
16
1:00 PM13:00

Perennial Vegetables

Become a hunter-gatherer on your own land. Once established, many of these species are care-free, and can be harvested for years to come. Knowing the appropriate habitat is one key to success. Another is knowing in advance the potential weediness or invasiveness of a species. Diversify your diet, CSA, or restaurant sales.

View Event →
Grow Adaptogens
Jun
9
1:00 PM13:00

Grow Adaptogens

These are herbs that help the body adapt to stress, in other words, health and longevity promoting herbs.  This is my favorite category of herbs and I have put a lot of effort into acquiring and learning to grow them.   After a brief introduction to the concept, worldwide, and relevant literature, we’ll tour the garden examining  and discussing the plants.  We’ll conclude in the herbshop and look at a full range of Chinese tonic herbs and discuss how to use them.

View Event →
Grow Chinese Herbs
May
26
9:30 AM09:30

Grow Chinese Herbs

We’ll tour our large collection (100+ spp.), and discuss habitat, propagation & cultivation, harvesting and processing methods. Chinese medicinal herbs encompass a complete range of plant types (annual & perennial herbs, shrubs, vines, trees) and habitats (garden, woodland, wetland, etc). There is an established market, nationally and locally, but almost no growers. Be a pioneer!

View Event →
Spring Useful Plants
Apr
28
1:00 PM13:00

Spring Useful Plants

This half-day session will cover ID, uses, ecology, propagation, cultivation and harvest of a wide variety of edible, medicinal, and craft (fiber, dye. paper, basketry, etc., etc.) plants. We’ll be touring the garden and also the large library of resources I’ve assembled.

We offer a 25% discount to students, Celo residents, and groups of 3 or more. Email us for a code.

View Event →
Sep
9
1:00 PM13:00

Tonic Foods / Bupin

Tonic & rejuvenative herbs in garden and kitchen. Bupin, ‘repair substance,’ is a group of Chinese herbs which can be combined with meat (optional) and vegetables to produce ‘medicated cuisine’, for tonification and boosting immunity. Consisting mostly of seeds, fruits and tuberous roots, they are tasty and are consumed as part of the meal (a few fibrous ones are used to prepare stock, then discarded). There are classic combinations involving 6-12 or more herbs, and many of these are sold pre-packaged in the larger oriental supermarkets. An exciting new (to us) direction for adventurous chefs. Many of these can be grown locally (an exciting new direction for adventurous growers). Also: congee, the standard Chinese breakfast of soupy rice, to which herbs can be added to address a wide variety of health concerns. I’ll share a collection of cookbooks.

View Event →
19th Century Apothecary
Sep
2
9:30 AM09:30

19th Century Apothecary

Techniques and preparations from Eclectic herbalism. I have assembled a good collection pharmacy textbooks, formularies, dispensatories, materia medica, etc. from the era when medicine was herbal medicine. Very detailed instructions for up to 50 different types of preparations, on a scale and using apparatus suitable to a home kitchen. I’ll introduce the texts and demonstrate techniques and apparatus as we make a tincture, percolation, syrup, essential oil / hydrosol, herbal mead, salve, and lozenges. (I hope we can squeeze all that in.)

View Event →
Grow Chinese Herbs
Aug
26
9:30 AM09:30

Grow Chinese Herbs

We’ll tour our large collection (100+ spp.), and discuss habitat, propagation & cultivation, harvesting and processing methods. Chinese medicinal herbs encompass a complete range of plant types (annual & perennial herbs, shrubs, vines, trees) and habitats (garden, woodland, wetland, etc). There is an established market, nationally and locally, but almost no growers. Be a pioneer!

View Event →