I'm so excited to share with you our family’s experience with Sarah Sorci, owner of Sweet Flag Herbs. She’s this awesome local community herbalist extraordinaire who offers a variety of services, including backyard consultations. She will literally join you in your backyard and assist you in selecting beautiful and useful garden plants that are beneficial to the local ecosystem annnd edible.
I fell upon Sarah a while back. I think we emailed a few times at one point, when I was in search of herbal remedies to help our son sleep. However, thanks to my legit brain fog from sleep deprivation I somehow forgot to follow up.
We finally met in person at Suncliff's open house where Sarah, along with other artisans were sharing information on their up and coming retreats and workshops. In addition to the workshops that she offers at a variety of locations all over WNY, She's also offering a Taste, Touch, and Smell workshop in October at Suncliff. She offers classes and garden walks all over WNY.
Earlier this summer she came over to our 1930's cottage in Derby, NY to help us do a few things as per her super informative website:
-Identify the edible and medicinal plants.
-Discuss new plants to add to the property.
-Offer recipes and suggestions for utilizing the plants on your property
We roamed around our backyard, while Sarah used the precision of a weathered scientist to scope out simple weeds like plantains. With each herb, flower or wild plant she offered us a variety of medicinal uses, along with a plethora of cool ways to incorporate the plants into our meal plan.
She helped us figure out how to expand our little butterfly garden, making our backyard, that borders on our neighbors’ wooded property, into a haven for MORE bees, hummingbirds, and all kinds of happy, earthy, eco friendly helpers.
When I first moved out here I had lived in the city of Buffalo for 10 years. I grew up in a smaller city setting, but didn’t have access to the kinds of natural wonders that my kids now have right in there own backyard. I had a basic understanding of plants, but not the deep love that I see in our daughter’s eyes when she picks a daisy or snags a piece of chives to eat right out of the herb garden. This kid will literally stare for an half hour at the bees visiting our milkweed. So how could we not spend a few bucks to have Sarah out to educate us?!
On our walk through our yard we were offered so many ideas and options. Sarah followed up with informative emails including recipes and details on the perennials she recommended and even where to find the best perennial selection in WNY. (pssst: She loves Lockwood’s in Hamburg)
My favorite information included details about our backyard “weeds”, written by Sarah:
1.) Solomon's Seal- Early spring are as tasty as asparagus. Root can also be eaten, though more commonly tinctured for joint and connective tissue healing/lubrication. According to my clinical director, any cultivar can be used.
2.) Horsetail: lovely tasting tea for mineral content; popular tea for connective tissue, nails, hair. Best used earlier in the season.
3.) Barberry: Invasive whose root is used like goldenseal.
4.) I made a note about lady's mantle, but don't remember if that was something you already had, or a new plant I was suggesting. Likes some shade (great for the back area). Unique shape of leaves and cute green flowers. Since it's such a classic women's herb, I thought I would share it with you, Lindsay.
5.) Coltsfoot: Under your steps. Nice short-term cough and respiratory supporter when there is congestion. Tea only. I'd skip giving it to kids or pregnant/breastfeeding moms.
And dude, you can eat my Daylilies, Wood Sorrel, Creeping Charlie (the effer), and the obvious local favorite: dandelions....you can even harvest your own Rose Hips.
There was so much more. She left us with a massive list of perennials that would look awesome and fair well in our backyard: goldenseal, Blue Verbena, Sweet Flag, shrubs like elderberry, passion flower vine, spicebush berries.
I seriously loved this girl and her brain. We talked her ear off for what felt like half the day. I can’t wait to invite her back next season. Please don’t hesitate to call her for your own backyard consultation.
I’m looking to attend her next class:
Making Herbal Tinctures class
In this workshop, Community Herbalist, Sarah, will share standard rules for tincture making, as well as suggested variations for different herbs. Participants will see a demonstration and sample several tinctures. Sarah will discuss the properties and safe uses of several herbs in depth; these will be offered to take home.
*Lab fee will cover the costs of samples, handouts and each participant will select a 2 oz. bag of dried herbs to craft their own tincture at home.
Date: 8/7, Frontier Middle school, room 131
Fee: $18. Non-residents: $22. Lab Fee: $6*
Please go check out her website, class offerings, and catalog of handcrafted products.
Hi. I'm Lindsay. Daughter, sister, wife, mother and collector of useless (and useful) information.