Tampa Bay weather never ceases to amaze. Following our second harsh winter in a row, we have enjoyed a long, lovely spring, and then seemed catapulted abruptly straight into August, or at least so it seems from the high temperatures.
On Tuesday, I found a respite from the heat, during the first in a series of classes on healing with herbs with Willow La Monte, at her organic herb garden and nursery in Valrico. Sitting and chatting informally with half a dozen or so like-minded folk under her huge oak tree, enjoying the breezes as we shared tea made from freshly picked herbs along with stories about what brought each of us to our interest in herbs and gardening, it was an idyllic way to spend an afternoon. An interesting aside is that, of those of us attending the first class, each of us had, at one time or another, lived overseas.
The actual name of the class is “Gathering Wisdom from a Flower,” which is an excellent description of how Willow herself approaches her brand of folk herbalism, which utilizes techniques from organic gardening and permaculture, and relies heavily upon folk wisdom from all over the world.
The class technically began this past Tuesday, June 7th, but because there were a number of people who could not make the first class, she has extended it by one session. The class meets every other Tuesday, from 10:00 AM until 12:30 PM, and the upcoming dates are June 21st, July 5th and 19th, and August 2nd, 16th and 30th.
The classes may be paid for as a series or, for those whose schedules won’t allow attending them all, may be taken individually as well. The series costs either $60 or $85, depending upon whether or not you have the time and inclination to help out in the garden following the classes. Similarly, the individual classes are either $10 or $12, with the same stipulation.
According to the email description I received, the class will cover, among other things:
Using herbs internally and externally
Looking at our kitchen herbs and spices in herbal healing
Making herbal preparations
Growing herbs organically in Central Florida
Listening to the Garden Wisdom
Many may know Willow, as I did, from seeing her around town at one of the many fresh markets, where she does a regular round selling organically grown herbal plants and relevant books. I met her at the Saturday morning fresh market in Largo, near my home, and she and I immediately struck up a long and enjoyable conversation based upon our many mutual interests. That was some time ago, and I have always intended to visit her organic herb nursery, but had simply not made the time to do so.
Although this is an introductory class, it is suitable as well for those with a fair knowledge of organic gardening and herbalism, as I can almost guarantee you will learn something new. And, even better, you will meet like-minded people in a lovely, peaceful and meditative environment. Who could ask for more?
For more information, please call Willow at 813.643.7285.
Willow Delight Herbal Gardens is located at 2211 Ray Road, Valrico, FL 33594.