One Man’s Road to Herbal Success: An Interview

What’s your life’s calling? For Bill Varney, owner of URBANherbal in Fredericksburg, Texas, his life’s work encompasses herbs, fragrance, aromatherapy, writing, cooking, gardening, art and his passion for touching all of the senses through herbs. Bill can’t name a favorite herb, but the handful of herbs he recommends every new “herbie” explore includes lavender, rosemary, thyme, roses, rose geraniums, chives, sage, basil, and lemon verbena. One of Bill’s favorite expressions is from Ettore Sottass, “Basil-flavored architecture,” as a way of expressing the idea of achieving much with little. 
Bill has always had a “green thumb” and first discovered plants and gardening when he was just eight years old and his parents had a greenhouse built for him. Since then, he has always been intrigued by plants, their use, and their contribution to the world. After Bill finished college with a major in business and a minor in horticulture, he had a one-year agriculture stint in Tasmania, Australia. From there, he returned to the U.S. and worked in Houston for a well-known nursery as its landscape buyer. As Bill’s love for all things green grew, he developed a love of herbs. In 1985, at just 26 years old, he moved to Fredericksburg, Texas, and opened Varney’s Chemist Laden, where he sold herbal products along with herbs and other plants. Varney’s Chemist Laden eventually grew into the Fredricksburg Herb Farm, a very high-end, labor-intensive business with acres of manicured gardens, a day spa, bed and breakfast, two retail stores, a James Beard recognized restaurant, and wholesale operation that sold products all over the world. He sold that operation in 2007 and simplified his life to URBANherbal.
URBANherbal includes a gift shop, art galleries, greenhouse and gardens. A staple in Fredericksburg, Texas, URBANherbal offers unique herbal products for cooking, personal care, and medicinal needs. All the products are all-natural and organic (no pesticides!) and produced at the URBANherbal laboratory on-site. Bill’s intimate knowledge of gardening and the use of herbs, along with his unparalleled experience sets URBANherbal apart. URBANherbal’s products are also available at its online shop at
Enjoy this in-depth interview about Bill’s herbal journey by Chrissy Moore, Blog Master for The Herb Society of America’s Blog and curator of the National Herb Garden at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.:
Source: URBANherbal