“Good therapy” at the RMSC’s Garden of Fragrance with the Rochester Herb Society

“Good therapy” at the RMSC’s Garden of Fragrance with the Rochester Herb Society

Holding ambrosia and sage just harvested for drying to be used to make dried herbal wreaths. [Photo: Jean Bolster] 7/20/16 in the Garden of Fragrance at the Rochester Museum & Science Center

There is always something happening at the Rochester Museum & Science Center.

Calvin Uzelmeier explaining how the Whispering Dishes work or Kathryn Murano discussing Haudenosaunee Days or reliving the moon landing with Steve Fentress or the Fire and Spice Bellydancers and too much fun at RMSC After Dark.


from How do the Whispering Dishes at the RMSC work?

Last month, I chanced across a group of people tending the Garden of Fragrance created by Harriet Hollister Spencer. It was the Rochester Herb Society.

For many of us, the garden is a cherished spot. So I was appreciative and delighted to see this spirited band of herbalists pruning, watering and generally sprucing up.

Who exactly were they?

Society member Jean Bolster described what I was seeing. Jean says the group’s labor of love is “‘good therapy’ because working in the soil has been proven to have a calming effect on humans and is good exercise.” And good for the garden.

group new

The Rochester Herb Society in the Garden of Fragrance 7/20/16

Starting in April and ending this year on October 25th, the Society meets in the garden every other Tuesday in the morning.

From Jean:

The Rochester Civic Garden Center in the Warner Castle in Highland Park 8/26/16

The Rochester Herb Society was formed in 1971 with the purpose of studying and making known all available information on herbs and to promote interest in herbs.  Membership is open to the public with meetings held monthly at the Rochester Civic Garden Center.

sue ferguson

Sue Ferguson, Founding member of the Rochester Herb Society. Jul 18, 1979 Democrat and Chronicle

The Herb Society strives to serve the Rochester community and each year we donate funds in support of the Rochester Civic Garden Center scholarship program, donate a herbal wreath to the George Eastman House annual wreath display and silent auction, and provide gifts to a Neuro-Geriatric Unit at Strong Memorial Hospital.  Our annual participation in the Agricultural Fair at the Genesee Country Village & Museum directly benefits the museum and showcases the many uses of herbs.

Currently, the Herb Society is restoring and maintaining the historic Garden of Fragrance located behind the Rochester Museum and Science Center where the public has the opportunity to enjoy and learn about herbs.

The herbs David is holding in the picture (Ambrosia & Sage) were just harvested for drying and will be used to make dried herbal wreaths.

Garden bench in front of the Rochester Civic Garden Center, Warner Castle in Highland Park 8/26/16

I also learned from Jean that Sue Ferguson (in the 1979 D & C article) Sue Marshall were the founding members of the Rochester Herb Society. A garden bench in front of the Rochester Civic Garden Center is dedicated to the two of them.  A lovely and knowledgeable lady, Sue Ferguson remained an active member until her death when she was in her 90’s.

take the challenge new

with Brittany Calvin (to my left) and her students in the Freeedom School Summer Program at the RMSC 7/20/16

Also that day visiting the RMSC was a group of young people from the Freedom School Summer Program. Led by Brittany Calvin, kids were enjoying the museum, garden, Whispering Dishes while (as seen on their t-shirts) Taking the Challenge.

There is always something happening at the Rochester Museum & Science Center.

Note: The Rochester Herb Society does not yet have a facebook page. (OMG!)  Hence our contribution to its digital presence.


The Linear Garden: An island of peace and beauty in the North Winton Village

Flowering Upper Monroe

Garden blooming at 7 Eleven on the corner of Clinton and Elmwood

A gathering of students, educators, urban farmers and social entrepreneurs at the Bay Street Community Garden

About The Author


Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


Like what you see on our site? We’d appreciate your support. Please donate today.

Featured Posts