Mother Earth Living

Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

Add to My MSN

Remembering Madalene Hill

3/27/2009 10:12:20 AM

Tags: Madalene Hill, Rememberence, Herb Society of America, IHA



I only met Madalene Hill twice—both at conferences of the Herb Society of America—but I can honestly say she’s one of the people whose work has changed my life.

When I first started my job with The Herb Companion, I was familiar with a reasonably good number of herbs, primarily for cooking. But it wasn’t until I attended my first Herb Society of America gathering that I began to appreciate the depth of what herbs represent in our world and just how completely cool they are.

At that gathering, I met Madalene and her daughter Gwen Barclay, the one-two punch of herbal wisdom hailing from deep in the heart of Texas. I didn’t know at that time exactly what Madalene’s role in this new world was, but it was apparent from the universal respect she garnered from everyone present that she was some kind of pillar of the community.


madalene hill
Courtesy of Jim Long's Garden 

I think who she actually was is more to the herb-loving world like Julia Childs or Irma Rombauer was to food-lovers. Each of these intrepid souls re-drew the boundaries of an ordinary world and opened up amazing new adventures to all those who came after. And they kept alive a conversation that grew and grew, ultimately creating a reality where none existed before.

In short: I get to do my job because Madalene and other pioneers like her did theirs.  Not counting “garlic powder” and dill, herbs were a foreign conversation in my family, as for most of the country in the 1950s and 1960s when Madalene was at the beginning of her journey. Madalene was amazed at the ancientness of herbs and the fact that they’ve occupied a place in human life—pretty much in the same form as they are in now—for thousands of years. They’re delightful to grow, to cook with , to enjoy in a variety of ways, and Madalene was a successful stalwart in spreading that word.

Through her public speaking and demonstrations, through the Herb Society and later The International Herb Society, through all her remarkable work with the National Herb Garden in Washington, D.C. and at Festival Hill in Round Top, Texas, she broadened and deepened our cultural awareness and practical knowledge of herbs.

And now, these ancient plants and their updated relatives have a conscious and growing cadre of champions—you among them, if you’ve bothered to read this far—continuing the conversation, moving the boundaries of our knowledge ever outward.  Madalene Hill’s passion is passed on, her legacy intact. 

Related Content

76th Annual Educational Conference of the Herb Society of America

A highlighted tour of the 76th annual meeting and Educational Conference of the Herb Society of Amer...

Avoid the Salmonella Egg Recall—Know Where Your Eggs Come From!

More than half a billion eggs possibly tainted with salmonella bacteria have been recalled. Avoid th...

The Pennsylvania Heartland Herb Society Announces its 30th Herbal Symposium

The symposium will feature a special guest lecturer, informational herbal workshops and a special ga...

Natural Product Review: Vineyard Hill Naturals’ Lemon Verbena Hand Cream

Cure your winter doldrums with this uplifting Lemon Verbena Hand Cream from Vineyard Hill Naturals. ...

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.