Eileen Vance got advice about planting and harvesting garlic as she paid for green and purple tomatillo plants at a Specialty Herb and Vegetable Plant Sale in Redlands last weekend…

The plant sale was a fundraiser for the Redlands Aromatherapy Foundation, which teaches about the benefits of gardening and aromatherapy for the body, mind and spirit, said Carrie-Anne Parker, founder of the 3-year-old nonprofit organization…

“Horticulture therapy is an emerging field,” said Parker. “The activity of gardening is taking in aromatherapy at its best… “

“It has to grow here and be unique,” Parker said of choosing plants for the sale. “We pride ourselves on bringing in varieties that aren’t found here. Reintroducing heirlooms is vital to environmental stewardship…”

The foundation is developing a public meditation garden at the Spiritual Treatment Center at 602 N. Church St. in Redlands. It also serves as a demonstration garden as Parker tries out new plants and shows how to cultivate them…

“My grandmother used to have these in her garden in Romania,” Larisa Gunther said of the gooseberry plant. “This is the first time I’ve seen them anywhere else.”

— The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, California, July 11, 2009