As True as the Barnacle Tree
Published 1939; first edition; limited printing of 1,000; one of the final press runs at Hervey White’s Maverick Press; soft cover
5 x 7 5/8; 47 pages with 9 illustrations
This book was set by hand in ten point century type and printed and bound at the Maverick Press on the Maverick Road in Woodstock, New York in 1939.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1, p. 1
Of Divers Herbs and Their Usage
Chapter 2, p. 11
Indian Herb Lore
Chapter 3, p. 18
Quakers and Shakers
Chapter 4, p. 22
Woodstock Legends and Cures
Chapter 5, p. 31
Suggested Plan for an Herb Garden
Chapter 6, p. 34
Favorite Culinary Herbs
“In the shadow of Overlook Mountain, Woodstock, there is a garden…of herbs, whose fragrant spices are wafted by the mountain breezes, where Miss Anita Smith, known as the Herb Lady of the Catskills…makes her living, in one of the most unusual business enterprises in New York State. Her library includes several books and articles which she has written herself. The one of which she is proudest is As True as the Barnacle Tree.”
—New York Herald Tribune, September 1, 1940
“Her still viable chapter from Barnacle Tree, 'Suggested Plan for an Herb Garden,' along with its simple culinary recipes, present a picture of the flowers and plants the Catskill herbalist grew for 'flavor and perfume,' such as mints planted beneath a bench, 'grateful for
shade' and 'refreshing to smell.'”
Woodstock Times, January 31, 2002
About the Author
Anita M. Smith journeyed to Woodstock, New York from her native Philadelphia, PA in 1912, with money intended for a ball gown. She quickly emerged as one of Woodstock's talented young painters, and later developed parallel careers as writer and herbalist. She is well known for her Woodstock: History and Hearsay (published in 1959), and for her numerous paintings of Woodstock, Provincetown, MA, New Hope, PA, France and Mexico.
Suggested Plan for an Herb Garden
One of the functions of an herb garden is to lighten melancholy and give an understanding heart to those who walk therein. Therefore it is essential in planning an herb garden to have little walks preferably of stone where between the slabs may be planted Thyme, Nepeta Mussini or white violets or even chamomile as chamomile stands for patience and the more it is trod upon the lustier its growth!
The path could be edged with a miniature hedge of Rue or Lavender, or Artemesia or Chives, or if desired stones on edge would make a nice border with plants of Flax set behind to fountain their sky blue flowers along the fragrant route. On either side would be little beds of herbs both for flavoring and perfume.
The path should lead to a seat preferably of stone placed under a trim little fruit tree or shrub, and here one could linger to enjoy the pleasant outlook. Beneath the bench would be Mints grateful for the shade and refreshing to smell when they were bruised, and not far away should be an assembly of sweet geraniums for idle fingers to pinch, among them the Peppermint, Rose, Nutmeg, Apple and Citron Crispum, the most refreshingly spiced of them all.
It would be nice to set the Rosemary plants near by and a few old fashioned roses, and behind them Valerian and Beebalm. These plants all stand separate ranging around the seat to exhale sweet fragrance. Quite different are the horizontal masses of the beds of Marjoram and Thyme, French Sorrel, Borage, Chervil and soft Horehound. In the middle distance would be stiff rows of thin herbs like Dill and Coriander and Cumin, Fennel and Rampion and behind them the coarser stalks of Angelica and Lovage, Costmary and Tansy.
Near the paths and easy to reach should be beds of Basil and Parsley, Savory, Tarragon and Chives for these are the favorite culinary herbs. Girdle the whole garden with a stone wall or a hedge of sweet smelling shrubs. In one corner set a beehive, and somewhere else a rustic birdbath with a tiny rill if possible, wherein to grow watercress and Spearmint.
Remembering always that the garden tells the story of the owner's mind and heart.
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