Arkansas Unit, Herb Society of America, Inc. (AU-HSA)
The Arkansas Unit of The Herb Society of America (AU-HSA), founded in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1966, has approximately forty members spread from the Little Rock area throughout the state. Its logo incorporates a cotton boll, symbolizing the regional historic importance of this herbal plant.
AU-HSA is dedicated to promoting the knowledge, use, and delight of herbs through educational programs, research, and sharing the experience of its members with the community, and it lives up to this mission partly through its three gardens. The Territorial Medicinal Garden at the Historic Arkansas Museum features plants used in Arkansas’s territorial days, such as boneset, ground ivy, garlic, native senna, pokeweed, and selfheal, as researched by Mary Worthen. The Garden of Exploration at the Arkansas School for the Blind provides fragrance and texture, as well as splashes of color. Culinary and fragrance herbs are the focus of the Mansion Herbary, located on the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion. Members plant and maintain the three gardens and provide occasional public educational programs. Some members are frequently sought-after speakers for garden clubs and other organizations. Many are master gardeners.
Of the unit’s four booklets (Vegetables, Soupçon or Soup’s On, Fins and Feathers, and Frontier Pharmacy), the only booklet readily available is the newly revised Frontier Pharmacy, which is sold at the Historic Arkansas Museum. The unit has also published the full-length cookbook Celebrating Herbs.
Members Mary and the late Booker Worthen, Ruth and the late Rollie Remmel, Dorothy Veirs, and Mary Remmel Wohlleb have received national certificates of appreciation, and Marie Fowler has received a national certificate of achievement from The Herb Society of America. The Worthens and Remmels were recognized for their efforts in fundraising and accounting for donations toward the creation of the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington DC. Wohlleb’s compilation of the 1982–1986 indices for the society’s annual journal, The Herbarist, and her work on the national board were cited as reasons for her certificate. Veirs and Fowler were honored largely for their extensive and varied educational outreach and their dedication to unit activities.
For additional information:
Carson, Janet B. “Looks Aren’t Everything.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, May 18, 2019, pp. 1E, 6E.
The Herb Society of America. http://www.herbsociety.org (accessed May 26, 2017).
Mary Remmel Wohlleb
The Herb Society of America Inc.
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I am with the Arkansas Unit of the Herb Society of America. I am our chairman in charge of management of the Garden of Exploration at the Arkansas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. In my recent efforts to find a draft of the design for the garden, I came across your reference page for Neil Hamill Park, the architect who designed the garden. The garden was gifted to the school in 1964 by Betsy Blass, wife of Noland Blass. She had done some work with the school, reading poetry to the students and such. She was inspired by a visit to a garden for the blind at the Dallas Botanical Gardens. I have a letter from her to our garden chair in the early 1980s explaining the founding of this garden.