A Dose of Floral Art With Must Love Herbs by Lauren May

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Lauren May, owner of ‘Must Love Herbs’ invites you to be friends with her and join her world of famous recipes inspired by her grandmother, all topped with flowers. She’s a wife, dog mom, and teacher. She’s also an avid gardener, forager, recipe developer, and photographer in her spare time. Join this week’s dose of floral art with Lauren ‘Herbs’ May!

Must Love Herbs – Visually Impacting Floral Art on Food

A love for gardening and good food mixed with an admiration for Eastern Kentucky leads to one remarkable alum who plants seeds of inspiration for many – Pikeville native, garden, and food blogger Lauren May. Born and raised in Appalachia, she traces her family’s roots in the area back over 200 years.


Lauren May


When she started ‘Must Love Herbs’, she hoped to convey to her audience and others she encounters along the way the true heritage of their region. Having seen numerous publications about Appalachia that attempt to sum it up in an article or book, she knows firsthand that such attempts often fall short. So, she invites you to sit down and keep her company while you learn about new recipes, adding flowers’ freshness, color, and fun.


Different recipes using flowers and herbs by Lauren May

Different sweet and savory recipes using flowers and herbs such as pansies, morels, violets, and Anise Hyssop by Must Love Herbs


Lauren aims to show rural Appalachian life from someone who has truly lived it. On her Instagram account, with over 200,000 followers nowadays, you’ll find recipes, glimpses of her garden, foraging adventures, and possibly even some adorable (shoe-wearing) children along the way. But most importantly, you’ll find inspiration. Inspiration that comes in the form of floral art and inspiration that could serve you to start your own food and flower business in your own garden.


Blueberry Moon Milk tarte

Blueberry Moon Milk tarte


Spiced Rhubarb Pecan Cake

Spiced Rhubarb Pecan Cake made with herbs and flowers from Lauren’s garden


Where It All Began

After graduation, Lauren followed her passion for gardening, foraging, and cooking.

She shares:

“I come from a long line of gardeners. My great-paternal grandmother and paternal grandfather were both avid gardeners. Gardening and cooking are therapeutic outlets for me. They help me be in touch with my ancestors, but they also help me be more in tune with myself. Whenever I bring in something from my garden, I feel compelled to create something beautiful. That is where cooking comes into play.”


Lauren May of Must Love Herbs


May grows heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, corn, radishes, beets, peppers, peas, beans, carrots, chard, and everything in between in her roughly 1,500-square-foot garden, to use of course, in every one of her recipes. Not to mention the flowers she decides to use to top off the decoration status and elevate the look of her creations such as dahlias, daisies, dandelions, violas, butterfly pea flowers, and heirloom roses, among many others she plants in her garden.


Flowers and corn from Laurens garden
A basket of flowers and corn from Laurens’s garden

May says:

“I do a spring, summer, and fall garden. We also have a pollinator garden with medicinal perennials and a variety of herbs. By doing this, the bees are kept busy pollinating our vegetables.”

Lauren ‘Herbs’ May

Her friends gave her the nickname ‘Herbs’ because she included herbs in all of her meals, even desserts. Lauren started her culinary blog ‘Must Love Herbs’ back in 2019 to dispel stereotypes about Appalachia while celebrating Appalachian heritage and customs through recipes with a contemporary twist. Up to this day, it is her goal to create a legacy through her work that will honor the generation of Appalachian gardeners and cooks who came before her.


Bee and flower cake by Must Love Herbs


A divine lamb shaped cake decorated with flowers


Her blog showcases her many talents, including gardening, foraging adventures, cooking, writing, recipe development, and food photography. At first glance, Must Love Herbs reveals the beauty of May’s creations the moment she enters the kitchen and shares her experiences. Photography is another hobby she is very passionate about.


Foraged Stellaria and Honey Doughnuts

Foraged Stellaria and honey doughnuts


Often, an idea strikes her while she’s drinking coffee in the morning. May said:

“I’ll write it down and then make it happen. I am very influenced by what is growing in the garden and the woods around me. I try my best to use what I have that is in season.”


Cherry Moon Milk with chamomille

Cherry Moon Milk with chamomille


Foccacia with flowers and herbs
A plant-based focaccia decorated with flowers and herbs


All of Lauren’s hard work and dedication have led her to an impressive list of recognition and she hopes to keep sharing inspiration, creativity, and delicious recipes topped with the most beautiful gift of nature: plants and flowers. To see more of her work, visit Must Love Herbs’ Instagram account.

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