|Marsha and Darryl Herren
Olive Forge Herb Garden
Article and photos by Kathleen Walls
Marsha and Darryl Herren are an amazing couple. Seniors, who are their
own best advertisement for staying healthy with herbs, they run Georgia's
only licensed herb farm. This place is amazing. You can find over 350
varieties of culinary, medicinal and wreath herbs. Their gardens and gift
shop, The Still Room, are available for browsing.
|The Herren's home
Bur mainly this is the Herren's home. As Darryl stated.
"This is where we live and how we like to live. With a little bit of room.
We have 15 acres here and that's plenty to pay taxes on."
Marsha and Darryl have made good use of every inch of that 15 acres.
Where ever you look there are beautiful and useful plants and herbs
thriving. The place is a veritable Garden of Eden. Looking around I could
understand when Marsha said, "We took an early retirement for mental
health. Since moving out here our mental health has greatly improved."
|Marsha points out their special rosemary bush
Surrounded by herbs that improve you health and make you
food taste better it is easy to believe that not only did their mental
health improve but their physical health as well. They certainly work hard
to improve the health of those who visit. Plants from seedlings to full
grown are all over. basil, oregano, thyme, lavender, coriander, cilantro as
many as 280 species of plant. Some culinary, some medicinal, some wreath and
some for perfume. The even have some tobacco growing. Darryl tells of the
religious uses of the tobacco by native Americans.
Rosemary rules here. They have 28 variety of rosemary. One bush is
almost the size of a small tree. I was so impressed with a new variety of
rosemary they have produced by crossing some existing plants. The
butterfly garden is another impressive place. Darryl explained that in
order to have a complete butterfly garden, you need not only the beautiful
flowering plants that the butterflies love, you must also have the plants
they need as caterpillars and those used to devout and to create their
cocoons before hatching into the beautiful flying jewels everyone wants to
see in their garden. Not only is the garden welcoming to humans, wildlife
seems to love it. In addition to their cat, named George Washington since
he was born on Independence Day, deer and many species of birds visit
|Their special gift shop
One fantastic plant they grow is the wild impatient also
called jewelweed. This fantastic plant will stop the itch of poison ivy. If
applied directly to where you have touched ht e poison ivy you will not get
a rash even. Use rubbing alcohol and mix even amounts of the alcohol and the
plant moisture from the stem. Add a little glycerin and it will protect you
from poison ivy. You can buy it at their gift shop if you don't happen to
have a convenient plant.
Another plant that has figured in the history of the South is indigo.
Daryl showed us some growing indigo and explained the complicated process
for creating the dye form the plant. They have a stagehorn fern that is so
big they have named her Lois. Lois is about the size of a Volkswagen
The gift shop, filled with their own handmade soaps, candles, teas,
lotions and books on herbs, is part of their beautifully rustic home they
build lovingly by hand. The t hree homemade products that are most
popular: Darryl's Sweet Feet, a product that promises to smooth the skin
of your feet, Satin-Sage Oil, which is made to reduce wrinkles, and a
homemade pain-away product are the most requested products. They invited
us in to enjoy some of their homemade bread, cake, lavender cookies and
Rooivos tea. I could not help but admire some of Darryl's great natural
This is the kind of place you need to visit to believe.
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