Karen Taylor’s deep knowledge of the flora of Western North Carolina comes from a lifetime of experience and learning. Growing up in Graham County, Taylor first learned about traditional row-crop farming from her parents, who worked a family farm in their native Smoky Mountains. In the 1960s, the family left farming to open a greenhouse, which is still in operation today.
Taylor’s lifelong love of working with plants drove her to learn as much as she could from elders in the community, and by “following people around” she absorbed lifetimes of knowledge about herbal medicine, Cherokee plant lore, and age-old mountain farming and gardening techniques.
Teaching workshops through Tri-County Community College, the Stecoah Valley Center, and Graham County Cooperative Extension, as well in her work at the family greenhouse, Taylor makes sure that the agricultural heritage of the North Carolina mountains belongs to novice gardeners as well as experienced horticulturists like herself. She teaches a wide variety of workshops, in such subjects as vegetable gardening (from propagation to harvest), grafting of fruit trees, herbal salves and ointments, and the healing properties of native plants. “Somebody took the time to teach me,” she says, and to pass it along is “the least I can do.”
Karen Taylor is available to teach group workshops, as well as for individual consulting in a wide variety of topics having to do with heritage agriculture, gardening, and wildcrafting. She will give private lessons and educational programs for any age level.