Arboretum News

Meet the Authors: Theresa Mieseler & Matt Schuth

Local authors Theresa Mieseler and Matt Schuth will sign copies of their books on Saturday at the Gift & Garden Store.

Meet local authors Theresa Mieseler, an expert on herbs who wrote “Beyond Rosemary, Basil, and Thyme,” and Matt Schuth, a naturalist and author of “Nature at Our Doorstep,” at book signing events this Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Gift & Garden Store.

Mieseler will sign copies of her book from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, and Schuth will sign copies of his book from 2:30-5 p.m. Saturday.

These books make excellent gifts alone or paired with items from the Arboretum Auxiliary Holiday Sale or the Minnesota Herb Society Winter Sale, which are both at the Arboretum this weekend.

Mieseler is a former Arboretum staffer and owner of the beloved Shady Acres Herb Farm, and her book helps readers discover new herbs, with tips on how to grow them, interesting ways to use them and unusual facts about them. Based on her years of experience growing, selling and living with these unusual herbs, this 230-page book is filled with lush, full-color photographs, recipes, stories, and how-to tutorials for incorporating the chosen herbs into every aspect of your daily life.

We caught up with Mieseler to ask her more about the book and life after Shady Acres Herb Farm–she even shared a delicious recipe for Rhubarb Sweet Cicely Dessert (see below).

What inspired you to write “Beyond Rosemary, Basil, and Thyme: Unusual, Interesting and Uncommon Herbs to Enjoy?” 

After closing the greenhouses, I saw the need to write about the herbs that we grew for our customers in the upper Midwest. Growing these unique herbs is why customers came to us. After we closed, emails and requests came from customers, and so I started writing the book about these herbs. Now I am working with a wholesaler to grow them and get them into nurseries for the public to purchase again.

How did you pick the 70 interesting/uncommon herbs featured in the book? 

These were the most unique, yet popular herbs that the customers came for. They stand out above the others.

Mrihani Basil is one of Mieseler’s favorite herbs featured in the book;
photo courtesy of Theresa Mieseler.

Do you have a favorite herb in the book? What is it and why is it your favorite? 

A difficult question. Perhaps not just one: I love the Mrihani Basil for flavor, fragrance and disease resistance. It’s the best basil to grow in my opinion. Then there’s lemon verbena, Shady Acres rosemary… It’s so hard to choose!

What was the most interesting thing you learned researching/writing? 

It was a part of the book that came into being as I began to write. The person who discovered an herb, how and why it came into being. I know a number of the people I interviewed, but there were new friends I met. Their stories make the book so interesting and different from other herb books. These people were inspirational and so very knowledgeable. Most of all very sharing!

We miss Shady Acres! What are you up to these days? 

I am enjoying presenting programs to local garden clubs, master gardeners and societies. In 2020, I  begin a book tour lecturing at other Arboretums, botanical gardens, herb societies and nurseries in the south and east.

Rhubarb Sweet Cicely Dessert with whipped cream.
Rhubarb Sweet Cicely Dessert; photo courtesy of Theresa Mieseler.

Rhubarb Sweet Cicely Dessert

Moist, colorful, and tasty are the words to describe this irresistible dessert.

3 cups 1-inch pieces rhubarb
3 cups quartered strawberries
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup finely chopped fresh sweet cicely
1 cup granulated sugar

For topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup butter, melted
¼ cup finely chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.

2. Combine the rhubarb and strawberries in a medium-sized bowl and add to the prepared baking dish. Combine the cinnamon, flour, sweet cicely and sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle over the fruit in the baking dish. Toss to mix well.

3. For the topping, combine the rolled oats, flour, brown sugar, butter, and lemon verbena in a medium-sized bowl and spread the mixture over the top of the fruit. Gently pat the topping until it’s smooth.

4. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until it’s bubbly. Let it sit for 1 hour before serving. Serve with ice cream or whipping cream.

Recipe by Theresa Mieseler, author of “Beyond Rosemary, Basil, and Thyme.”

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