From Campus Herb Garden to College Inn

Dominican’s bountiful collaboration with the Ecology and Stewardship Club, moderator Mrs. Joann Schwartz Haydel (’91), two Dominican alumnae, and Chef Baker Guevara at Ye Olde College Inn, reaped a lush herb garden on campus.

Spearheading the effort was Mrs. Shelley Mateu Cesulka (’92) who applied her experience from growing up visiting a family farm. She prepared and landscaped the garden site with rocks, ground cover, soil, mulch, organic materials, and organic plants that she donated. Mrs. Patrice Keller Kononcheck (’98) and husband Chris, built and installed the raised garden boxes that are made of untreated cedar. Club members planted the herbs under the coordination of Mrs. Haydel. Club members were responsible for the watering, weeding, and maintenance of the organic environment.

“I was thrilled to see the students dive right in and get their hands dirty on the day we planted our herbs,” said Mrs. Haydel. “For many, this was their first time planting a garden. They are very proud of how well the garden has grown.” She said club members are interested in adding plants that will naturally deter pests and will also decorate signs to indicate the types of herbs in the garden.

The bounty of fresh rosemary, dill, parsley, thyme, basil, oregano, and chives, will be used in dishes prepared by SAGE Dining Services on campus and at Ye Olde College Inn. Chef Guevara, impressed by the results of the herb garden collaboration, also has a Dominican connection. His wife, Amber Dieudonne Guevara is from the Class of 2012.

Club officers met their collaborators when Chef Guevara and Mrs. Cesulka came to campus to harvest herbs. Officers are Elise Landrum and Dasia Thomas (co-presidents), Kaylie Nguyen (vice president), Jenna Thomas (secretary), and Rhea Bawa (historian).