Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Birthday Phyllis Shaudys

Back in January of 2010 a wonderful herb garden book writer died without much fanfare.  Today is her birthday.  She would have been 85.

I never met Phyllis Shaudys, but I was profoundly effected by her writings on herbs when I was just a beginning herb gardener.  I have a well worn copy of her first book "The Pleasure of Herbs" as well as a copy of "Herbal Treasures."  Both books have an approachable writing style that is easy to read and yet imparts a great deal of information.  I posted something from the book in a previous post.

I still refer to the books when I am at a loss for something to blog about.  The month-by-month style always reminds we what is going on in the garden at certain times of the year,

I still share and use a bath salt recipe I found in "The Pleasure of Herbs" all those years ago. The book was republished by Barnes and Noble in the late 1990s as a hardback and I have that copy which I use when I lecture (rather than the ratty copy I read!)
The Pleasure of Herbs: A Month-by-Month Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying Herbs
Phyllis was a homemaker, publisher, business owner, author, and lecturer who specialized in herbs.  She started working with herbs in 1960 (a few years before I was even born) so by the time I discovered her books in the early 1990s she had quite a pedigree.  She lived in  Pennsylvania (an area I have notivced was the birthplace of other popular herb related things, like The Essnetial Herbal Magazine and Rosemary House.)

She is the author of five books, two of which are Storey books: Herbal Treasures and The Pleasure of Herbs. Additionally, Phyllis published a quarterly newsletter, Potpourri from Herbal Acres. She was also published in Women's Day, The Mother Earth News, The Brooklyn Botanic Garden Record and Whitchappel's Herbal, Flower and Garden.

All references to her say she lived in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, where she raised three children.

I did find a book on Amazon called Hobbying with Herbs a Month-by Month Guide which I think was an Arc copy of the Pleasure of Herbs,  Not being a book collector, I did not try to purchase it.

I have never found any of the other books she wrote,and an adequate biography does not seem to exist, but I always enjoy going through both her books and discovering new possibilities for growing herbs or using them in crafts/recipes. Her love and knowledge of her subject is evident throughout. And the nice pen & ink illustrations make you focus on the wealth of information instead of getting distracted by photographs.  The illustrations "inform" rather than "distract."  

I'd love to share an image of Phyllis, but I never located one, so let me just say Happy Birthday Phyllis Shaudys, I hope you know how many thousands of herb growers you influenced with your practical and informative style that made us all feel like we knew you and had seen your garden.

Herbal Bath Salts
(here is my version adapted from The Pleasure of Herbs)

3/4 cup Epsom Salts
3 Tbls. baking soda
1 Tbls corn starch
1 Tbls. sea salt
1 tsp. mixed herbs or lavender buds or rose petals
15 drops matching or complementary essential oil

Blend together and store in an air tight jar.  Use 2 Tbls. per bath or 1 Tbls for a foot soak.


  1. One of my inspirations as well, Marcy! Thanks for sharing this! xo

  2. Phyllis Shaudys' books were where I first began learning about herbs. Great inspiration she was!

    Catherine Ann

  3. My husband just asked me about making lavender oil so I went to the 2 books I own of Phyllis's. The Pleasure of Herbs and Herbal Treasures. Someone recommended them to me back in late 80s when I had lots of time and dried and harvested herbs. She is my go to whenever I still have questions. A great lady I'm sure. But they are Garden Way Books if u are still looking. More questions my email is also we gave a wonderful herb Farm in our area Port Murray NJ. Well Sweep


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...