July 2010: Barbara Hall, Lady Barbara's Garden
Imagine this: A woman, with a lifelong love of plants, spends many years as a professional gardener in New York state. She shows you her Oregon garden. It’s full of *gasp* weeds!
Now go to the corner of 8th & S. Park on a Saturday and look for the tiny, beautiful booth covered in white lace. The woman in that booth, known as Lady Barbara, is the one that can show you her weed garden. She can also help you heal what ails you with the “produce” from that garden, a wide variety of herbal tinctures and infused oils.
I asked how she got started as an herbalist. “Teasel!” was the rapid response (note the exclamation point). Barbara suffered through 8 bouts of Lyme disease over 15 years, and found a complete cure through the use of teasel root tincture. This wasn’t actually the answer to the question, she’s been a plant lover and professional gardener for nearly 40 years, and apprenticed with wise woman herbalist Susun Weed 17 years ago for starters. But she is a teasel afficianado and an herbal enthusaist who speaks through both deep understanding and experience. The enthusiasm for her subject bubbles up constantly through our conversation. She says her throat spray saved her from the “Eugene Plague” that we all had in January. Her anti-allergy tinctures are quite popular at the moment, of course! She loves to send folks away with a bottle of relief in their hands, and a look of hope on their faces.
The sign at the back of the booth proclaims Lady Barbara’s Garden to be the “World’s Tiniest Herb Shop.” At sixteen square feet of store, that’s a safe proclamation. Space is carefully used here, with a single example of most items arranged neatly on racks. Everything is labeled clearly. I really appreciate great labeling! Of course the lace covering really sets the booth apart, makes it “lady-like” and makes it extra easy to find. It’s great to be as distinctive as possible when your store front is four feet wide! Though she could easily move into an 8x8 booth featuring a luxurious 64 square feet of space, Barbara loves her neighbors and their Market ‘hood. She also knows the importance of staying in the same location so her regular customers can find her. It’s not exactly the kind of item you browse the Market for.
She is now excited by the opportunity to teach about herbs and herbalism worldwide via the internet. Her highly informative website and links to her online classes can be found at Lady Barbara’s Garden. But really, she’s so great to chat with in person, the internet just can’t replicate that experience. Come find her near the corner of 8th & S. Park, in the little lace booth.