Herb, plant festivals draw crowds as spring gets into full swing
BY BRAVETTA HASSELL & NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writers
Thursday, April 19, 2012
4/19/12 at 3:02 AM
Susan Balogh was experiencing some health issues when the man she was dating suggested she consider natural remedies such as herbs and vitamins.
They've since married. And although it's hard to say that it was herbs that led to nuptials, Balogh, who has always been a gardener, has been planting herbs ever since.
She chuckles to herself at the recollection. That was, in fact, where her history with the plants began. She's passionate about them, she says. At her Swan Lake home she has such a wide variety of herbs, naming them all isn't easy.
"Oh my goodness ... just about every kind," Balogh said.
Salad burnet, sage, rosemary, chives. She stopped listing them.
But growing them is easy.
"They like the dry, hot climate," Balogh said. Perfect for Oklahoma.
Balogh has been growing herbs for about 15 years, has been a member of the Tulsa Herb Society for about 12 years and receives one to two herb magazines in the mail each month.
She uses her herbs in cooking, crafts, soaps and cleaning.
"I think people don't realize how multipurpose an herb can be," Balogh said. One of the ways she puts her herbs to use is by adding thyme to vinegar. It makes for an effective solution to damp-mop wood floors. The fragrance of the herb diminishes the vinegar's pungent smell.
She's been frequenting Tulsa's various herb events for years.
And because now's the time to plant your herbs, it's also the time to buy them, Balogh says. She finds it hard to get the good herbs she'll want to seed or use once festival season is over.
By June, for instance, "It's kind of past the point."
Once you've purchased your plants, Balogh suggests using your herbs in a reasonable amount of time if you want to use them fresh.
In the meantime she recommends putting them in a glass. Cut the stem ends and place the cuttings in a shallow glass of water as you would a bouquet. The glass can be kept on a counter.
Some gardeners recommend storing them in a container in the refrigerator and covering the leaves with a plastic bag. Herbs should keep well for several days.
The herbs season kicked off last week with Brookside's Herb Day and continues this month with the Sand Springs and Jenks herb festivals.
Sand Springs Herbal Affair and Festival
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Downtown Sand Springs
Every year the Sand Springs Herbal Affair festival adds new vendors and more variety to the popular event. The festival began in 1989 as a small downtown street sale and has grown to attract about 30,000 people.
Guests can find plenty of fresh herb plants and enjoy a day filled with music, art and food at the festival.
"We have increased in size since last year, and we are adding some vendors. We have a caricature artist coming who has never come before," said Debbie Manahan, one of the organizers.
"We mostly have plants, but a couple vendors are bringing fresh produce," she said.
With about 10 more vendors than last year, the physical size of the festival has grown, too.
"We moved the children's tent back a bit, and that opened up a new area for vendors," Manahan said.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., children can enjoy face-painting, games and an art project at the Peppermint Lane tent between Main Street and Garfield Avenue on Broadway. There will also be music throughout the day, including Shelby Eicher and Mark Bruner from 11 a.m. to noon and 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
"It just started out as a way for independent growers to sell their wares. They never dreamed it would grow as big as it has," Manahan said.
For more information, visit tulsaworld.com/herbalaffair.
Jenks Herb 'n' Plant Festival 2012
8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The annual herb festival in Jenks also draws thousands of guests to this southern suburb of Tulsa.
And this year about 150 vendors will be at the 16th Annual Jenks Herb 'n' Plant Festival on April 28. The event was chosen in 2010 as the Governor's Conference on Tourism Redbud Award winner.
"There will be several new and different vendors there this year," said Karen Meyer, an organizer of the event.
In addition to many herb vendors, other products will include roses, lawn furniture, homemade soaps, gardening clothing and all-natural fertilizers.
Food vendors will include Super Moo's Ice Cream, which will be churned on site, Smokestack BBQ and MeeMee Strawberry Patch, Meyer said.
A pancake and sausage breakfast hosted by the Kiwanis Club will be held from 7 to 10:30 a.m. at First Methodist Church, Fifth and Main streets in downtown Jenks
For more information, visit tulsaworld.com/jenksherbs.
Original Print Headline: Time to grow gardens
Bravetta Hassell 918-581-8316
Nicole Marshall Middleton 918-581-8459
Janey Winford reaches for a plant during Brookside's Herb Day last week. Oklahoma's dry, hot climate is perfect for growing most herbs. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Joana Marquette and her daughter Lily Szaszko look through a selection of plants during Brookside's Herb Day last week. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World
Shanon Alexander carries a tomato plant through the stalls at Brookside's Herb Day last week. MATT BARNARD / Tulsa World