Chestnut Herbal School


Herbs growing in pots.

How to Grow Culinary Herbs in Containers: 10 Healing Plants for Your Porch or Patio

How to Grow Culinary Herbs in Containers: 10 Healing Plants for Your Porch or Patio Written by Meghan Gemma and Juliet Blankespoor Photography by Juliet Blankespoor Lush, aromatic plants gracing the gateways to your home—porch steps, patios, pathways, and windowsills—are the ultimate welcome mat. In particular, potted culinary and medicinal herbs bring a little something [...]
Lavender growing in a pot.

Growing Medicinal Herbs in Pots: 10 Healing Plants for Your Container Garden

When I first began foraging my own food and medicine, I focused on a particular array of plentiful, generous, and nourishing plants—the wild weeds, the common flora, and the invasives. These plants are some of our most superb medicinal allies and nutrient-dense wild foods. And these feral botanicals continue to be my main squeezes: non-native, “weedy” medicinals and wild foods are the most sustainable options out there.

Passionflowers seeds displayed in a spiral.

Herbal Seed Suppliers and Nurseries: Ethical Sources for Medicinal Seeds & Plants

Winter is rife with viral booby-traps—there’s a head cold and cough waiting at every gas station pump and pin pad across the land. A strong immune system is adept at navigating pathogenic obstacles, but some scenarios call for a boost, herbal-style. When I know I’ve been exposed to a cold or the flu, I don’t waste a moment in reaching for my tried-and-true immune stimulating herbs.

An outstretched palm holding turmeric root.

Kauai Farmacy Gardens: Bioregional Farm-to-Apothecary

Last winter, I had the pleasure of visiting the Kauai Farmacy Gardens with my family on a visit to Kauai, affectionately known as the Hawaiian “Garden Island.” I was intrigued by their thriving tropical farm-to-apothecary business model and was eager to meet the plants and people involved. Doug Wolkon, one of the co-founders of the gardens, generously spent an afternoon with us, showing us around the plantings and apothecary.

Juliet Blankespoor in her garden.

9 Tips for Planning the Herb Garden of Your Dreams

As you peer into the future, imagine how you might interact with your dream garden. Take a moment to write down all the reasons you wish to grow herbs, and how you might incorporate their medicine and beauty into your life. Then, think about how your garden will evolve with time, and which needs are the most important. Will it be a place of refuge, with secret nooks, replete with peaceful statues and comfortable seating nestled under verdant arbors? Do you envision your gardens as an inspirational educational setting, with wide paths and ample signage for visitors? Is your goal to grow herbs for your own apothecary and kitchen or do you have an herbal products business?

Large milkweed seed bug.

Large Milkweed Seed Bugs

Large Milkweed Seed BugsWritten and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor Large milkweed seed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) - I recently photographed some colorful milkweed bugs in my garden and decided to repost a small piece I had previously posted about these gorgeous gregarious insects with the new photos, figuring most of you didn't read the original essay, [...]
Joe Hollis

Joe Hollis & Mountain Gardens

Joe Hollis of Mountain Gardens, a botanical sanctuary in a small sheltered cove bordered by National Forest and nestled under the massive Black Mountains, including the largest mountain in the East, Mount Mitchell. The sanctuary boasts four acres of medicinal herbs and edible plants from around the world flourishing in countless niches created by terrain, aspect, water, sun, and shade. Joe has been acquiring useful plants for the past four decades by trading with other botanical gardens, gardeners, and seed-saving/sharing organizations. In his estimation, he grows over one thousand species of plants, including the populations of native medicinals and edibles he has encouraged in the adjoining forests. Mountain Gardens is the kind of place where one cannot step off the path without trampling on an incredibly rare plant, such as the only Himalayan ginseng growing in North America.