Learn how to use herbs in a variety of ways during anneversary celebration

by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - The Aurora Colony Museum will play host to the 40th anniversary celebration July 20 of the Willamette Valley Herb Society. The Willamette Valley Herb Society is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year and you’re invited to the party.

The celebration will take place in the Emma Wakefield Herb Garden in the courtyard of the Aurora Colony Museum.

At the celebration, Herb Society members will give demonstrations on how to use herbs in a variety of ways. Herb products will be sold. Cookies and iced tea will be served.

The garden was established in 1974 in honor of Emma Wakefield, Canby’s “Herb Lady.” Since it’s inception, the herb society has continuously maintained the garden as a way to honor Emma and to educate the public about the historical uses of herbs.  Wakefield, who died in 1980, was a home herbalist who encouraged others to grow and use herbs.  At age 78, she was the one of the founding members of the Willamette Valley Herb Society. During the 44 years she lived in Canby she became a recognized authority on herbs.

The museum’s herb garden, filled with culinary and medicinal varieties, is a throwback to a typical Aurora Colony herb garden. Mint, yarrow, valerian, horehound, tansy, agrimony, rosemary, thyme, chamomile and many more herbs offer a fragrant welcome to museum visitors.

Aurora has long been a haven for herbs. Aurora Colony founder Dr. Wilhelm Keil was an herbalist. A German immigrant, Keil had no formal medical training but was skilled in the use of medicinal plants. He cultivated an herb garden much like the one planted and maintained today by the Herb Society.

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