On May 15, 2019, members of the WRHS and distinguished guests came together to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the WRHS Herb Garden in its current location at Cleveland Botanical Garden. The day was the culmination of a labor of love by the 50th Anniversary Committee and paid celebration to all the past and present gardeners who designed and have maintained the garden from its beginnings to the present. We were thrilled to be joined by our Honorary members, Mr. Alex Lackey, who represented the Mayor of Cleveland; Ms. Jill Kosky, President & CEO of Holden Forest and Gardens; Ms. Karen Kennedy from The Herb Society of America, members of the the Frankenmuth, Michigan and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania HSA units, and harpist Anne O’Connell.
The room looked beautiful with fresh centerpieces of fragrant herbs from Mulberry Creek Herb Farm adorning each table, a beautifully decorated Time Capsule watering can to collect best wishes, and a lovely program and favor bag marking each place setting. We enjoyed our traditional Mai Bowle (a punch made with wine and Sweet Woodruff, chilled by a beautiful ice ring made of strawberries, wine and edible flowers thanks to members Lou Ann Hanink and Beth Schreibman-Gehring), saw a passing of the torch as our outgoing Unit Chair Kathleen Gips, welcomed guests and presented all the newly installed officers, including Kathleen Hale as incoming Unit Chair and Lynne Griffin as Vice Chair, enjoyed beautiful and sentimental speeches by Kathleen Gips and Kathleen Hale as well as a lovely prayer by Jane Toth, Garden Co-Chair; were reminded of our history and the passion and amazement our garden inspires in many from the words shared with us by Jill Kosky and the “As For” Proclamation delivered by Alex Lackey; and prepared to enjoy a delicious luncheon meal prepared by Bon Appetite following a “May the Spade and Spoon Be Ever United” toast delivered by Kate Williams. Ms. O’Connell delighted the audience with beautiful harp music and singing. A lovely touch to the meal was carrot cake muffins from former member Pat Korman’s recipe courtesy of current members Sherry Schubert and Nancy Krause. Our Frances Zverina Horticulture Scholarship and WRHS Horticulture Scholarship winners were also announced on this day.
Each attendee had the opportunity to then tour our Herb Garden and received a favor bag containing a copy of History of the Western Reserve Herb Society Herb Garden: 1969-2019, written by Bobbi Henkel and Mary Lynn Fruit, a pressed flower bookmark made by several of our members, herbal tea made by Kathleen Gips, Asclepias seed pods provided by Kathleen Hale, and “50” shaped chocolates made by Kathy Shriver and Bobbi Henkel.