Mountain Gardens
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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.

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Grow Chinese Herbs, with Thomas Avery Garran

  • Mountain Gardens 546 Shuford Creek Road Burnsville, NC, 28714 United States (map)


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!