Monday, February 22, 2010

What would Bertha Do?

This is one of my treasures. Painted in 1965, the artist called it "The Yellow Breeches." I was overjoyed to purchase this as part of a scholarship fund drive. I bid on two watercolors from this amazing woman but was so very happy to have the honor of buying this one.
The artist is Bertha Reppert, founder of the Rosemary House in Mechanicsburg, PA. I first met Bertha in the pages of her book- Growing Your Herb Business. I bought it from Amazon, it may be for sale at the Rosemary House, too. Written in 1994, the style of her writing is so exuberant, so charming-- full of love, generosity and wisdom. I savored every word. Did you ever read a book and feel close to its author as if she shared her secrets, hopes and fun adventures with you?And you could tap into her cool, fresh spring of confidence and success. This prolific, creative writer of all things herbal inspired me with her ideas and knowledge.
When Sugarloaf Herb Farm first began to sprout, as it were, I did not imagine the amount of time, money and work I would be devoting to this enterprise. I had a cute image in my mind- kind of like a movie prop with nothing behind it. It seemed for every dollar I made, it took twenty dollars of effort. I almost quit so many times. Bertha's book was a lighthouse in my business fog. Scattered as I was, I sharpened my focus and made long range goals that were achieveable. Bertha advocated fiscal responsibility- something I still struggle with. She is with me at every milestone, however, wishing me well. When I'm tempted to add just one more scent or buy the $700 soil sterilizer I'm drooling over, I think "What Would Bertha Do?" If I can't justify it in those terms, it gets tabled.
After I closed the book for the first time of many readings, I determined to meet Bertha, thank her and maybe give her a hug! Sadly, I learned Bertha passed in 1999. Her beautiful and talented daughters Susanna and Nancy now supply the world with herbal goodness from the Rosemary House and next door to it Sweet Remembrances Tea Room. The Rosemary House and Sugarloaf Herb Farm both belong to the Herb World Marketing Group--a very diverse group whose common love of the useful plants brings us together.


  1. Claudia, what wonderful words and I love the watercolor you purchased. We still re read our mother's book for solid advice. It doesn't have the internet advice but it does give practical advice for any small bus-i-ness. We hope Sugarloaf continues to grow and to prosper for many years!

  2. What a beautiful tribute! Thank you for posting such lovely words about our Mother. She was so eager to share her knowledge, so full of energy and creative ideas, and so devoted to teaching about herbs. Thank you for following in her footsteps, for sharing her joy, for continuing her herbal teachings. Best of Luck and continued success with your business!

  3. She made the world a better place with her presence. A beautiful person and model to live by.


Sugarloaf Herb Farm

Sugarloaf Herb Farm
Christy Matthewson Days