HERBIVAL at the Garden Museum

Written by Ghislaine Howard

Sunday June 6th 2021 saw the first ever HERBIVAL take place at the Garden Museum, in Lambeth, London. A one day festival celebrating herbs, as The Herb Society we just had to attend. Organised by Natasha Goodfellow, the festival aimed at offering visitors an opportunity to boost their mental wellbeing and to learn about the power of herbs in a range of different workshops flower flower pressing to how to forage and grow, the latter given by ex-Herb Society Trustee, Nat from Hackney Herbal.

The market was small but not limited in choice of skin care, beauty and well being products. I chatted sustainable and herb based cleaning with Tincture London and how the pandemic had unequally affected small businesses as large businesses were able to buy up and store more ingredients/packaging, creating shortages for everyone else. I caught up with our corporate members, Zen Maitri and chatted about how they’re trying to shake the stereotypes attached to herbal medicine through sleek branding. Zen Maitri wrote the article Helping Your Immune System which appeared in our Autumn/Winter 2020 issue of Herbs, the Herb Society members magazine. Members can read the article online by going to our Digital Magazines page.

Sonya Patel Ellis, or @theherbariumproject, as is her instagram handle, was there promoting her books, including The Heritage Herbal which we reviewed when it was published last year, in 2020. Dotted in between Patel Ellis’ books and decorating the stand, were the delicate stoneware bud vases, bowls and the herb-based flower bunches by Jess Webb, potter and florist.

Good-enough-to-eat looking soaps using flora grown in the Cotswold were available from the fab Fifield Road Apothecary, Herb Society Members.  One of the most exciting beauty products exhibited was the Hemp & Algae Face Cream, by Whitfords. Algae being used in products within the mainstream beauty industry, dates back to at least the 1960s. However, it also appears in the dermatological treatments of indigenous communities, including the First Nations, of what we now call Canada. Excitingly, the Whitfords cream, is also packaged completely plastic free in aluminium jars, as were a majority of the products offered by other brands.

Credit: Ghislaine Howard

Finally, while chatting to Harry Darby, from the Gimlet Bar, I picked up some tips about Elderflower cordial and herb-based drinks, which you’ll find in our June Herb of the Month blog.

Drifting away from the market, munching on my Summerdown Mint chocolates,  I walked through the Garden Museum’s permanent exhibitions, which trace the history of gardens and gardening in Britain. See the photograph, for an early form the watering can, much chunkier and dating to the 17th (congratulations to 17 instagram followers who guessed correctly) and made from glazed earthenware. In anticipation of British Flowers Week (14th June – 20th June), the Garden Museum are holding an exhibition on the British Floral Designer and Decorator, Constance Spry. The exhibition is open until 26th September and is well worth a visit.

All in all, it was a fantastic day, and wonderful to be back meeting herbal-enthusiasts face-to-face. Thanks go to the team at the Garden Museum, and special thanks to Natasha Goodfellow, manager of GROW London and curator of other fairs at the Garden Museum, for organising.



Complete list of stalls available on the day:

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