Sanctuary Steward: Karin Rutishauser
Our land, consisting of both open and wooded acres, is nestled in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains just a few miles from North Carolina. Here, we started the Herb Crib in 2000, built a small retail shop and cleared land for an organic herb garden. Over the years the business has grown and so has my interest in native medicinal plants and the land. As I learned more about the plants, I discovered that we already had many growing right in front of us. This spring I found fifty-nine Lady's Slipper Orchids behind my little shop! I was so excited about the discovery that I called all my friends! Walking the land and finding bloodroot, wild yam, pipsissewa, Jack-in-the-pulpit, hepatica, and trillium growing wild gave me the idea to apply for Botanical Sanctuary status with UpS.
I started with a 1/4-mile medicinal plant trail along my creek that has witch hazel and sassafras and some of the above- mentioned plants already growing. The trail ends in a gentle curve shaded by big oak trees. In the sanctuary, I planted the first beds with goldenseal, American ginseng, black and blue cohosh and mayapple. The fall "give-away roots" from John Lentz have a new home here too and I can't wait to see the pink root blooming next spring. I have taken many of my costumers along the trail to show and explain what and why I am starting this sanctuary. This part of our land is truly magical to me. In the sanctuary I feel a bond with nature, happiness and peace. For the years to come I hope to be able to enrich, conserve and cultivate the land and pass on what I learn along the way to others. My life is so much richer thanks to the plants and people I met through them. 2006 will be an exciting year of learning, planting and teaching.