Remembering Madalene Hill

| 3/27/2009 10:12:20 AM



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.