By Sarah Fiorello

Yarb Woman (bronze, 1980)
Elfriede Abbe ‘40
Location: Botanic Gardens Herb Garden

This sculpture, commissioned and gifted by the Auraca Herbalists represents women who are knowledgeable about herbs and their uses, particularly those with medicinal properties. Women have long been practitioners of herbal medicine and the sculpture depicts a woman stooping to gather herbs (“Yarb” means herb in Old English) and embodying all those – past, present, and future, who seek herbal wisdom.

The sculpture was originally placed at the North end of the Robison York State Herb Garden under a crabapple tree. Over the decades the patina on the statue had become severely corroded due to acid from the crabapples which fell on her. In 2019, the sculpture was restored and relocated to the south corner of the Ornamental Herb Border where she welcomes visitors to the Herb Garden.

Elfriede Abbe (1919-2012) was the sculptor for this work. She graduated from Cornell’s College of Architecture in 1940 with a BFA in sculpture.

More art around the Nevin Welcome Center

“A Dança Da Natureza” (The Dance of Nature)

The two-story mural “A Dança Da Natureza” enlivens an exterior wall of the Nevin Welcome Center.

Double Allium

The towering “Double Allium” sculpture stands 12 feet tall and sits along the walkway to the Nevin Welcome Center.

Catalpa wind chime

Rather than being entirely removed, a declining Catalpa tree was adapted to host a wind chime suspended within a window in its trunk.