* No mileage charge in Mass. (Mileage outside of Mass. is .45 per mile.)
* 1 copy of each of my books donated for club raffles.
Each lecture includes a full table display of plants, accessories and decorative floral pieces related to the topic.
Do you have an idea for a class or lecture, but don’t see it here? Give me a call. I’ll be glad to develop one for you.
TO BOOK A CLASS OR LECTURE CALL BETSY AT 978-470-0911 OR EMAIL Betsy@betsywilliams.com
Mrs. Thrift’s Savory Herbal Kitchen
Mrs. Thrift loves to grow culinary herbs and she loves to cook! Learn to make her favorite herb-enhanced condiments, vinegars, mustards, butters, pestos, salts, and nuts, and how to use them to lift ordinary, everyday meals to a new taste level. Enjoy a sampling of herb butter, vinegars, mustard, nuts, pestos and salt at the end of the program.
Mrs. Thrift’s Portable Herb Garden
Nothing makes home cooking taste better then fresh herbs! Betsy, Mrs. Thrift’s close friend, demonstrates how to plant a portable herb garden in a 14″ container. With a little water and a little feeding, a pot of herbs will thrive on a a sunny porch, deck or doorstep! Not enough sun? A potted herb garden can be moved from place to place to take full advantage of available sunlight. Classic culinary herbs will be discussed, as will growing from plants or seeds, how and when to water and feed and how to harvest and use. Tastings of herb butter, nuts and vinegars are included along with recipe sheets.
Living with Herbs
Herbs play many roles in our lives. They flavor our food and drink, are used in medicines, enhance body products, flourish in our landscape and deepen the meanings of our ceremonies. They appear in our myths, legends and fairy tales. In the garden, plain green herbs are often left on the sidelines while flashier plants strut their seasonal stuff. But some of those flashy plants are herbs also! What’s in your garden, medicine chest, cupboard and bathroom? Much of the story of humankind is held in the fragrant green leaves of everyday herbs. Learn about this fascinating family of plants that weave through human history as well as daily life.
Are There Faeries in the Bottom of your Garden?
Tulips and thyme, foxgloves and cowslips are among the fairies favorite flowers. In fact, many of our common garden flowers have been associated with the little people by story, song and tradition since the most ancient of times. What are fairies, where do they come from and what plants are they especially fond of? Hear the stories and learn the cultural requirements of the fairies favorite plants. Could there be faeries in your garden? Well maybe, if you grew some of these!
Herbs and the Season of Christmas
Boxwood, juniper, rosemary, ivy, pine and bay are ancient herbal Christmas greens. St. Nicholas day, St. Lucy’s day, Christmas and Twelfth Night all have special herbs associated with them. Hear the stories and uses of the herbs of the Christmas season. Learn how to use them in your own holiday celebrations. Creative and delightful ways of decorating with herbal plant material are demonstrated.
Glorious Garlic and her Bodacious Cousins, the Alliums
Learn how to grow and use garlic, queen of the kitchen, and her many strikingly beautiful cousins, the alliums. Fall is garlic planting time for New Englanders, as well as time to plant the bulbs of decorative alliums. Critter resistant and easy to grow, alliums boast lovely, long lasting flowers that add interest and color to the garden from May to September and, in some cases, can be dried for winter use. Learn how to grow garlic, which alliums to choose for your garden and how to use both of them in seasonal flower arranging.
Old Plants in a New Land, the History and Stories of America’s First Recorded Herbal Immigrants
Wherever humans have wandered, whatever new territories they set out to explore, their important plants have traveled with them. Plants they knew would provide food and medicine at the end of the journey. When the English settlers arrived on the coast of Massachusetts in the early 17th century the roots and seeds of their most necessary plants came with them. Many were herbs that had been important to the health and well-being of humans for thousands of years and still are widely used today. Learn the stories of those herbs: their earliest recorded use, 17th century New England use and how they are used today. How to find and use primary and secondary sources of herbal uses will also be discussed.
Winter Pleasures from Summer’s Borders
A detailed lecture on picking and drying flowers and herbs from beds and borders for use in dried flower arraignments, potpourris, and the kitchen. The talk covers air-drying, drying with desiccants, dehydrating and preserving leaves with glycerin. A practical “how-to” talk for clubs and groups preparing for fall and winter fund-raising events
Herbal Weddings: Old Traditions, Modern Uses
An herbal wedding is the essence of romance! The perfumed air, the delightful colors and the ancient symbolism of the plants blend to create a truly magical day. The program includes the stories and traditions of wedding herbs and the language of flowers, cultural directions for growing the herbs, garden design suggestions and how to use herbs and herbal flowers creatively in wedding flowers, food and drink.
Beginning Your Herb Garden
Interested in growing culinary herbs but aren’t sure where to start? Gather up your questions and seed catalogs and come learn all you need to know to grow herbs successfully. We will sniff, taste and discuss common and uncommon culinary herbs. Learn how and where to grow them, how to use them fresh from the garden all summer long and when and how to preserve them for winter cooking. The class handouts include growing tips and delicious recipes.
Developing Theme Gardens
Whether you garden in beds, borders, pots or boxes, themes are lots of fun to play with. Do you love Christmas? Then design a little Christmas garden. Planning a wedding or special anniversary celebration? Create a tussie-mussie garden for the occasion. Love pizza? Cook up a pizza garden. Want to invite the fairies to come and play? Grow their favorite plants and they just might move in! Like beautiful meals? Plan a garden of edible flowers. Theme gardens are based on historical uses of plants. Down through the centuries certain plants have become associated with certain events. Learn about the language of flowers, the herbs of Christmas, the wee peoples favorite plants and the art of designing fragrant, flavorful storytelling gardens for children and the young at heart. Handouts include plant suggestions for theme gardens and a book list.
Mrs. Thrift Captures the Herbal Harvest
Gardens and farm stands are brimming with fresh herbs. Now is the time to stock your pantry and freezer for winter cooking and holiday gift giving.
Imagine lining your cupboard shelves with jewel toned bottles of herb vinegars, golden brown herb mustards and sparkling jars of herbal jellies. Picture containers of herbed butters, bags of rosemary walnuts and bottles of herb pestos filling a corner of your freezer. Not enough time? To much work? Not true. Mrs. Thrift never does anything that takes to much time! Learn which herbs are best to dry, which to freeze. Mustards, butters, vinegars, jellies, salts, sauces and spreads can all be quickly made and then stored for winter enjoyment. Bring your taste buds. We will end with a little taste of everything! Recipe sheets included.
Halloween’s Magical Herbs
Halloween, our scariest of all holidays, once marked the change of seasons. Change brings uncertainty and uncertainty breeds fear. Long ago the magical powers of many of our most common culinary and garden herbs where called upon to aid the transition from one season to another. Hear the ancient stories and learn the legendary powers of the herbs of Halloween.
Plants of Magic, Plants of Life “Halloween and Thanksgiving
Autumn brings two holidays we all look forward to, Halloween and Thanksgiving. While there seems to be little to connect the two days, they actually share the same ancient history. Both celebrations once marked the harvest and the end of the growing season. Plants, especially herbs, have always played a big role in the observance of both holidays. Halloweens’ herbs are full of magic and mystery; Thanksgivings’ plants are associated with sustaining life. Learn the plants , their historical uses and how to use them creatively and decoratively in your own celebrations.
Flower Arranging Plain and Simple
It’s fun and it’s simple to arrange flowers. Little arrangements of fresh flowers smiling up from the kitchen table, bathroom counter or your bedside table lift the heart. A casual bouquet in the front hall or flowers on the dining room table bring a touch of graciousness to our sped-up lives. Learn how and when to buy, pick, cut and condition flowers and greens; simple, practical mechanics and the how-to’s of arranging in water and floral foam. Using fresh seasonal plant material (roses, sunflowers, delphinium, mini-carnations, mums, lilies, yarrows, hydrangeas and greens) the demonstration includes hand-held arrangements, arranging in glass and arranging in floral foam. (A materials fee will be charged if the club chooses to raffle the designs at the end of the program.)
December, the darkest month of the year, is also the traditional month of festive lights and family celebrations. Home is the heart of those celebrations. Learn how to decorate your home for the sparkling month of December with fresh greens and fragrant herbs combined with fruits and vegetables, berries, cones, nuts, and lots of candles. Using boxwood, ivies, junipers, rosemary, berries, fruits and other seasonal plant material, the demonstration emphasizes the simple how-to’s and mechanics of creating glowing candle rings, woodsy box and berry baskets, charming Williamsburg fruit cones, classic topiaries, festive table garlands, decorated votive holders and fresh Christmas potpourri. ( A materials fee will be charged if the club chooses to raffle the designs at the end of the talk.)