Mrs. Adams’s and Mrs Kuhl’s Fourth Graders began their Mission Herb project, planting herbs that were used during the Mission period of California history. Their lessons began in the classroom, learning about what Explorers found botanically when they came to California, what they needed to bring with them to make their new world feel like home — and for sheer survival — and how they needed to change the landscape to grow what they needed to form a mission. Students discussed how water sometimes needed to be diverted for gardens and how padres brought seeds on board their ships.
Students learned about Apothecary Gardens, gardens that were used for medicine, and how medicinal herbs were usually kept in strictly separated beds to ensure that the correct medicines were created from the correct herbs, in a similar way that different medicines are kept on different shelves of a drug store today.
In the garden, the students weeded the herb beds last year’s classes planted, and then added plants of their own to the mix. Currently, the herb garden includes lavender, rosemary, oregano, basil, betony, fennel, dill, camomile, borrage, yarrow, sage, epazote and catnip.
Later in the month, students will be creating some simple remedies and preparations from herbs.