Chestnut Herbal School

My Lovely Office Assistant

Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

Ms. Rose driving a hard deal

I would like to introduce my lovely office assistant, Ms. Rose, whose many talents include:

  • Finding new and unusual ways to incorporate post-its and scotch tape into thought-provoking and controversial art installments throughout the workplace.
  • Asking for a snack repeatedly when her employer is on the phone with a prospective student, with three able adults idly chatting in the kitchen.
  • Throwing herself on the ground, offering drama and diversion to the tedious task of responding to e-mails, when it is time for arithmetic (Ms. Rose moonlights as a homeschooler when she’s not upholding her rigorous responsibilities as school administrator)
  • Using a toy car to roll in love notes (on a post-it, of course) into the office when mom is working too late
  • Working knowledge of the program- little pieces of lined paper (Best colored with poke berries and adorned with dried leaves, and offered as gift to her uptight boss) She uses this tactic especially to diffuse workplace tension, and before she hints indirectly for a bonus (preferably pumpkin chocolate chip muffins).

Pictured below is Ms. Rose in her younger years, disciplining a tardy herbal student. Ms. Rose rarely encounters such insolence as herbal medicine students are world renowned for their punctuality, but in this rare and unfortunate event, she handles the situation adeptly, using the latest educational methods such as shaming and name-calling.


Another one of Ms. Rose’s duties at the school is hosting neighboring herbal dignitaries. You can see from the picture below, that she makes sure our honored guests are quite comfortable.

A few of Ms. Rose’s critics deem her punishments to be exceptionally harsh, but most see a poetic justice in her choices. Pictured below is a student experiencing the consequences of late night noise-making in camp. A group of young female students, in the spirit of neighborly herbal ambassadorship, spent the evening entertaining the local young men in our campground with fire spinning, whisky and lively eighties rock music. They chose an interesting locale to celebrate with their new friends – directly across the road from their instructor, who is known to have serious bouts of insomnia. Naturally, Ms. Rose, with her infinite wisdom in the disciplinary arena, was set to the task of developing the most appropriate consequence. She decided upon lassoing up the culprits, handing them the Flora of the Carolinas, and requiring them to key out a fleabane from the beginning of the Flora. To the botanically uninitiated this may seem to be a light handed punishment, but in actuality one needs rigorous concentration for such a task, especially with a brain befuddled and addled by whisky and lack of sleep. Poetic justice indeed.

Photo credit unknown

Pictured below is a rare look into the private life of Ms. Rose, enjoying the beach after another long field trip overseeing the safety and well being of her herbal charges.

Meet The Green Mastermind Behind Blog Castanea:

Juliet Blankespoor

JULIET BLANKESPOOR is the founder, primary instructor, and Creative Director of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, an online school serving thousands of students from around the globe. She's a professional plant-human matchmaker and bonafide plant geek, with a degree in botany and over 30 years of experience teaching and writing about herbalism, medicine making, and organic herb cultivation. Juliet’s lifelong captivation with medicinal weeds and herb gardening has birthed many botanical enterprises over the decades, including an herbal nursery and a farm-to-apothecary herbal products business. 

These days, she channels her botanical obsession through her writing and photography in her online programs, on her personal blog Castanea, and in her new book, The Healing Garden: Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedies. Juliet and her family reside in a home overrun with houseplants and books in Asheville, North Carolina.

Interested in becoming a contributor?


© Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and, 2011-2024. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Learn more about cultivation, identification, and uses for medicinal herbs in our 1,000-hour Herbal Immersion Program, which is the most comprehensive handcrafted online herbal course out there.


8 thoughts on “My Lovely Office Assistant

  1. laughing at loud! Sassy little ms rose has had quite the life, entertaining herb folk from all over the country. Remember the talent show in Florida? You are both dear treasures!

  2. So very true…she is the best…very amusing write-up. Look how far she’s come from when she was a baby screaming bloody murder when her diapers were changed!

  3. I had completely forgotten about the fire spinning incedent! You are too funny! You are an amazing teacher (even without sleep!) with a great sense of humor.

  4. Haidi Sternberg says:

    I enjoyed every minute of the presentation about Ms. Rose. I look forward to meeting her — but with a little trepidation. She is a hard taskmaster, and at my age I am not very compliant. We shall see…


  5. claudia green says:

    Oh she’s such a tuffy!!! I stay clear when the ruthless assistant calls me to attention….no telling what she is demanding of me next!!! Yikes!!! She has taught me so much in the years I have witnessed her brutal organizational tactics… an important aspect of the schooling there at Chestnut Hill…
    Whew, such a budding young herbalist she is!! Love to you all!!

  6. I love it all. Besides entertaining yourself, you also had me laughing out loud. Looks like the bugs are being worked out of the blog! Can’t wait to see you guys, just 3 week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>