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HISTORICAL HAUNTS: From March 2008 San Diego Botanical Garden Quotes…

Edited by Cathy Tylka, for Let’s Talk Plants! May 2024.

Quotes From San Diego Botanical Garden …


By Sally A. Sandler, San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanical Gardens) Docent, March 2008.

As we prepare the Herb Garden at Quail Botanical Gardens for the upcoming festival, I am reminded of just how vast is the subject of herbs. They not only nourish the body, mind and spirit, but herbs take us on a journey through time. With a little research, you can discover plants that were used millennia ago, learn the ancient legends associated with them, and gain a sense of other places and other people. Indeed, herbs were present in the dim recesses of prehistoric times as the first instruments of the gods and as servants of magicians. They were carved on cave walls, concocted into strange brews, and dedicated to deities. They were carried by Crusaders, prized by Chippewa and Cherokees; used as crowns for poets.

Did you know, for example, that Cleopatra made Aloe vera gel and tea tree oil part of her personal beauty kit?

Wix stock photo.

That Achilles used portions of yarrow (Achillea) to treat his soldiers’ wounds in the battle of Troy?

Yarrow. (Yarrow is the International Herb Association's 2024 Herb of the Year.Photo credit: Karen England.

That Artemisia is named for the queen of Greece in 353 B.C. who was a famous botanist of her time?

That the Romans made liberal use of lavender in their baths and named it from the Latin root “larvae,” which means “to wash?”

WiX stock photo.

Did you know—somewhat comically—that Pilgrims used the leaves of balsamic smelling costmary (Bible Leaf) as bookmarks in the Testaments, both to note their pages and to inhale to avoid falling asleep in church?

I never did care much about history— at least not what I learned from those rote lessons in high school textbooks. But now, 40 years later, my schooling comes from these humble and majestic sages of the past that connect us to our roots.

Every herb has a story to tell; we have only to stop and listen.


WiX stock photo.

From Linkedin Currently About Sally Sandler ...

... As a highly active volunteer since 2006, I hope to make significant contributions in furthering the goals and mission of San Diego Botanic Garden, in Encinitas, California. This includes coordinating the 12 Garden Beautification Teams of volunteers, and increasing our number of volunteers active in horticulture from 60 in 10/08 to 75 by 10/09.


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