Herbal Icon: Madalene Hill

madalene-hillOn March 4, 2009, the herb world — and certainly the world of horticulture — lost a true treasure, with the passing of Madalene Hill.

In the mid 1990’s I first became acquainted with Madalene’s extensive herbal and gardening knowledege when I read the highly-acclaimed book, Madalene and her daughter, Gwen Barclay wrote, Southern Herb Growing.  A year or two later, I had the privilege of meeting and lunching with them at the International Herb Association convention held in Lexington, Kentucky.

The Knot Garden at the National Herb Garden, which we had the privilege of visiting  in Washington, D.C. is dedicated to Madalene.

A member of the Herb Society of America since 1958, Madalene organized the South Texas Unit of the HSA in 1968, serving in several capacities throughout her tenure with that organization. When the Pioneer Unit was formed, she became a charter member. Ms. Hill served as chairman of the HSA in 1986-88, and was instrumental in relocating that organization’s headquarters to its present location in Ohio.

A recipient of many awards and recognitions, Madalene continued to be a driving force in the herb world, initiating many innovations and enhancements that benefitted the Herb Society of America. Under her direction, the Rosemary Circle was established, honoring HSA members with 25 years of active service.

In addition to her contributions to HSA, she is noted for discovering new varieties of rosemary.



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