Schedule a Program

Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh, owner of Backyard Patch Herbs, has 20+ years of experience growing and using herbs. She will share her knowledge with your group is located within 100 miles of Elmhurst, Illinois. At the bottom you can request a program by completing the form.
We are changing our offerings to make available both in-person and on-line programs. As a result, we have changed some of our programs and retired others.  If you have a program you remember from the past, please contact me and we can work together to make a special program for your organization.

Crafting Herbal Mocktails – this masterclass demonstrates how to make simply syrups and herb extractions to craft a myriad of herb flavored and scented alcohol-free mocktails.  We will rethink party punch with herb ingredients, make our own bitters, create flavors with herbed simple syrup, stir up a faux Gin, and blend alcohol-free martinis, fizzes, and sours while discussing the history of herbs in alcoholic beverages.  (Alcohol can be substituted for mocktail ingredients, if desired.  However, this no alcohol program is appropriate for Park Districts and Libraries.) 

Zoom version #1 – with this zoom version we will walk you through demonstrations of making simple syrup, bitters, and faux gin and other alcohol substitutes and discuss how to craft cocktails with these special ingredients.  Recipes and instructions along with shopping lists for those wanting to make them during the presentation will be provided.


Zoom version #2 – This program is all about the crafting of a cocktail. We talk about the glasses to use, bar tools to own, the ingredients to have on hand, garnishes to make and use, and then discuss and make several traditional styles of cocktails/mocktails with a focus on herb flavors and crafting techniques.


Edible Flowers—A photo-based presentation that discusses the edible nature of a wide variety of flowers. Explore tasty flora like Daylillies, Anise Hyssop, and flowerings herbs as well as the useful properties of purslane and mustard. More than 20 flowering plants will be discussed and shown with harvesting, preserving, and preparing information for enjoying the edible bounty of flowers. Plant lists will be included with a few recipes. Samples of some recipes will be shared with participants in person with recipe techniques explained in the Zoom version.

Language of Flowers -- This slide presentation focuses on the Victorian tradition of floriography, or the sending of messages with the arrangement of flowers. Although the practice is much older, in the 19th century gifts of blooms were used to send a coded message to the recipient, allowing the sender to express feelings which could not be spoken aloud in Victorian society. A discussion of the meanings and a guide to interpreting “talking bouquets” as well as a demonstration of how to make a tussy mussy and create decorative arrangements is included.  After the presentation participants will be asked to provide interpretations for a selection of displayed bouquets. Available in-person and as a Zoom program.


Unusual, Exotic and Medicinal -- A PowerPoint presentation that discusses and illustrates more uncommon herbs that can be grown in Zone 5 along with their uses, habits and medicinal or culinary properties.  Unusual herbs like Angelica, Tansy and Pineapple mint, exotic basil and thyme varieties and other plants gardeners need to meet will be shown and discussed.  Detailed Plants lists included. Available in person and as a Zoom program.


Infusion -- Herbs can infuse their scent and flavor in many different ways.  This lecture based on my book Herbs R Easy – Infusion, explores how to create herbal sugars and vinegars for cooking and how to infuse herbs into water, oil, bath salts.  Real-time demonstrations give participants a feel for how easy it is to create items with herbs for everyday use.  Recipes and instructions included.  Special bonus is a discussion of how to package items for gifts or sale. 


Curative Properties of Tea -- Much has been touted recently about the benefits of a good cup of herbal or green tea.  This lecture discusses the difference between black tea and herb tea as well as what herbs make good tea, how to formulate your own teas and the various medicinal properties discovered throughout time of various native plants with pictures to help with identification.  It also includes some information on the benefits of green tea.  In person, if hot water is available, we can create our own blend to sample at the end of the program. On Zoom we will discuss blending methods and flavors so participants can make their own teas.  Medicinal herbs qualities and recipes will be provided to participants.
Green Cleaning with Herbs -- This program points out the numerous ways herbs can be used in your household to protect you from germs and chemicals at the same time.  Learn the many ways to clean with herb infused vinegar, create mixtures to scrub ceramics and how to craft an effective laundry and dishwashing soap.  Learn the disinfecting properties of herbs and their essentials oils and how to combine them safely.  Supply lists and recipes will be included.  Available both in-person and on Zoom. 
Playing by the Rules: A history of Board Games - An adult PowerPoint program that reviews the history of board games from the original creators of iconic games through the current Monopoly of Hasbro the center of most game making. Available in-person and on Zoom.  
Native American Herbs – Explore the various plants of Native origin that have healing, food and religious benefits; their uses, growing habits and other details will be shared in this combination slide and hand-on program.  We focus on the plants of Midwestern Native groups such as the Annishnabe (Ojibwa), HO-Chunk (Winnebago) and others who have a tradition of planting and gathering in the upper Midwest.


In Person Only Programs

Herbology 101 / Fun with Herbs - A general program that details a variety of topics including the use, growing and care of herbs with information on using your herbal harvest.  It is perfect general program for those who are curious about herbs but do not know where to start and those wanting to plant to put herbs in their garden. 

Be an Herbal Gourmet -- By adding even the most basic herbs to your culinary palette, you can make your cooking more interesting, delicious, and enjoyable.  Also adding herbs can enhance flavors and allow for more healthful cooking.  It is easy to create herb mixtures to replace salt in food.    This and other tips for using herbs to cook with everyday are included in this lecture.  The discussion includes flavor families, what herbs to use with certain dishes, and how to create herbal vinegars, butters and other items which can add herb flavors to cooking when herbs themselves are not appropriate. 

Crafting Gifts with Herbs - Using herbs to create special scented and edible gifts is fun, inexpensive, and easy.  In this program participants learn steps to craft various gifts for men and women with fresh and dried herbs and other plant materials.  There are culinary blends, vinegars, baking mixes, simple potpourri, cocktail ingredients, and special scented items for fragrance or bath.  Tips on gift wrapping and presentation are also included.  No additional fee is required unless a full demonstration of all steps in creation of items is desired.  There are several versions of this program available to match seasons and holidays, so it can be repeated to the same audience. 
CHILDREN'S PROGRAM Let’s Play Native American Games -- Learn to play and create several simple and fun games used by adults and children of several Native American Tribal groups of the Eastern Woodland region.  This interactive class geared to kids (age 7 to 12) and adults, will explore the history and purpose of games in American Indian society while understanding the rules for various games.  Participants will discuss the rules, try out the games and even create one to take home.  Full instructions and rules for all games will be provided for a total of seven (7) different games.  Instructions will be included in a take-home handout. 


CHILDREN'S PROGRAM Let’s Play International Games – Some new, some ancient, all the games we will play have an international origin.  Countries like Africa, the Netherlands and Peru are all featured in this program.  Participants aged 10 to 15 and adults will learn to create each game and then practice the rules of play.  Handouts with instructions will be included.  All the games in this program can be played with a piece of paper and a fist full of pennies.


Fees -- Any lecture listed above can be done for $175.00.  If the group is less than 25 people, a lower fee may be negotiated.  Fees include handout materials for participants. Almost all of the above mentioned lectures can be modified to include hands-on demonstrations and instruction.  Since this requires additional materials, supplies and equipment an additional fee of $3.00 per person or a minimum of $36.00 is needed for a demonstration lecture. 

Travel Boundaries -- At this time I do not travel outside the Chicagoland area. However, this is a generous area that includes southern Wisconsin, western Indiana and anything within a 100 mile radius of Elmhurst, Illinois.

Demonstration In Person Programs

Crafting Herbal Blends -- This lecture uses various methods and materials to create several dips, dressings and spreads.  Included is a detailed discussion of flavor families and choosing herbs to prepare the various foods.  Once students are well-versed in herb flavors they will choose and mix herbs for various ingredients like salads, vegetables, fruits, etc.  Methods of blending and melding herb flavors are discussed and recipes are demonstrated and sampled. (The fee for this program is $225.00 for up to 35 people $3.00 per person for any number over 35)

If you would like to schedule a program, complete the Form Below and include titles, date and location and we will get back to you.

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