Artisan Thursday - From City Girl to Herb Guru

Nana's Herb Garden - Fortville, Indiana

Nana showing the Fortville Mama kiddos all about herbs.
You'd never know she grew up a city girl on the Southside of Indy, but 35 years later with 4 grown children and 7 beautiful grandkids, you can now find Nana of Nana's Herb Garden (aka Carolyn Starks) spending her days in gardening heaven in the heart of rural Hancock County.

Nana's gorgeous butterfly and hummingbird gardens.

Little man was in love with Nana's herb garden.
A self proclaimed black thumb at heart, she has spent 15 years deep rooted within the Hancock County Herb Society mastering her craft. She also is a Purdue certified Master Gardener. With her husband, Paul, she maintains 5 acres of beautiful land within Fortville. They garden (herbs, vegetables and plants), create artisan products (like soaps and birdhouses), raise animals (currently chickens, rabbits and pigs) and produce local honey from their 6 hives. It's definitely a busy life for the Starks, but also an extremely happy one.

Everyone loves a furry friend. Nothing sweeter than an garden kitty.
 They moved to Fortville 35 years ago to live a slower pace of life with their children. They wanted to be close to their children's school and enjoy the country. All of their children have participated in 4H and shown at the county fair. Now they continue on that tradition with their grandbabies. There are lots of lessons to be learned in raising and caring for your own farm animal, showing at the fair and then selling at the fair as well.

Chickens and bunnies, oh my!
Earlier this week, Ashley and I got the pleasure of visiting Nana's Herb Garden for a tour. We were in awe. Her garden was glorious. Her herb beds so organized. There were little touches of Nana all along the way too - simple beauty. We love how she uses tiny clay pots hung in the middle of the herb beds to identify the bed type and it's contents. We adore her use of old garden tools and upside down colored wine bottles as gardening bed borders. Really her land is a slice of heaven. I could sit in her Butterfly Garden with an iced tea and enjoy for hours.

Nana's sweet touches throughout her gardens.
Here's the Top 10 Things We Learned During Our Tour:
  • There are tons of uses for herbs. Potpourri, Medicinal, Cooking, Dying Clothes and Wreaths to name a few.
  • Catnip keeps mosquitoes away.
  • Tansy keeps flies away. Farmers often hang it near the barn door.
  • Honey bees love dandelions.
  • Dandelion wine is delicious!
  • Mint herb family likes to travel.
  • Basil is an annual. You have to replant fresh each year.
  • Comfrey is used in healing salves.
  • Nana's herbs, plants and pretty much anything she grows is non-GMO.
  • The National Herb of the Year is Savory. Yep, peeps, there is an herb of the year, every year. Why not figure out how to use Savory more this year!
All non-GMO peeps.
Nana produces 11 different soaps using her dried herbs and sourced essential oils. They are all natural and wonderful for your skin! We are giving away a bar at tonight at the very first Fortville Farmers Market of the season in celebration of this special city girl turned herb guru - Carolyn Starks.

Ashley and I will both be at the market tonight with a table. We'll have a special surprise for little ones to take home for their garden (while supplies last), plus this fun artisan soap giveaway contest. Make sure to stop by and say hello.

Two cuties hanging out in the garden.

May - September Artisan Thursdays brought to you by The Fortville/McCordsville Chamber of Commerce. Thank-you for your support of Fortville Mama and local family fun in and around Hancock County, Indiana. All thoughts and opinions are our own. Thank-you to the businesses that help support Fortville Mama. Your support is allowing us to make 2015 even cooler than 2014!
*** New in 2015, advertising sponsorship available with Fortville Mama. Sponsor a single post or bring our viewers Mama Tip TuesdaysWandering Wednesdays, Artisan Thursdays, Fit Fridays or Hancock County Treasures biweekly blog series. Or why not be super cool and go all out and be our title sponsor? Email pamediasolutions(at)gmail(dot)com to learn more.


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