By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
Scarecrow: I haven’t got a brain… only straw.
Dorothy: How can you talk if you haven’t got a brain?
Scarecrow: I don’t know… But some people without brains do an awful lot of talking… don’t they?
Dorothy: Yes, I guess you’re right.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum (1939)
You may not hear them, but scarecrows say a lot to creatures of the field. As such they have a long history throughout the world. Humanlike figures … usually made of straw dressed in men’s clothes … are posted in fields to threaten invading pests. They scare crows, among other creatures.
With harvest in mind, The Herb Society’s neighbor, the world-renowned Holden Arboretum, sponsored a display “Scarecrow Row” for the public. The Society’s creation – Chef Savory Herbert –was, of course, inspired by herbs. In fact, she was inspired by savory, the herb of the year.
Savory lends itself to cooking, and so it’s a star in the scarecrow’s soup pot of culinary herbs.
Chef was a group effort. Gardener Betsey Burrell, from Trowel & Spade, located the official chef attire. Megan Davidson, also of Trowel & Spade, created the soup pot and many artistic herbal touches. Executive Director Katrinka Morgan embroidered chef’s white coat. And, Administrative Assistant Amy Rogers gave up her crocs for authentic kitchen apparel (think Mario Batali).
“Chef Savory was not in place for more than five minutes when visiting children came over to smell her soup and a woman inquired about our herb labels,” says Karen Kennedy, HSA educator. “Our goal is to raise awareness of both HSA and growing and using herbs. And after all, it is soup weather!”
Among the herbs used for Chef Savory are:
- Eyes – rose hips
- Lips – hyacinth bean
- Hair – artemisia
- Earrings – hibiscus
Like many scarecrows, Chef Savory doesn’t use words, but she says a lot symbolically.