A Medicine Chest Garden

The best part of herbal medicine is that it costs very little. A person can grow a garden full of life enhancing herbs right in their own yard. Here are some tips to think about as you build your medicine chest. 

Grow Healing Trees

Place medicinal trees in areas you want to add shade to make a home for plants that don’t like full sun. Remember the small trees eventually become big tress, so allow plenty of room. Under trees, grow sun-tender plants like violets, angelica, and sweet woodruff and any of the classical medicinal plants like goldenseal, wintergreen, and the cohoshes. Trees that are medicinal include witch hazel, slippery elm, ginkgo, and fringe tree.

Plant Perennials

Decide where to put perennial herbs such as vitex, elderberry,the sages, the mints, thyme, rosemary, and lavender first, but then leave room for annuals such as basil, cilantro, and parsley.

Height Of The Plant

Place tall herbs like angelica, floxglove, vitex, and echinacea in the back of your herb beds.

Width Of Plants

Certain herbs, including wormwood, mugwort, coltsfoot and lavender, can spread out and grow quite large.

Know The Creepy Plants

A few plants turn out to be downright nuisances when you plant them in a nice rich bed along with your favorite medicinals. Peppermint, bergamot, yarrow, St. John’s wort, mugswort, coltsfoot, and the dog rose have underground runners that spread rapidly in certain climates and must be dug out and removed. It’s easier to give this plants their own beds than trying to control them.

Create Wide Paths

Consider making the pathway wide enough for ease of movement of garden equipment, like wheelbarrows or garden carts. Design your herb bed so that you can comfortably reach all the plants without having to step on the bed. You can accomplish this with the use of stepping stones, like flagstones or wooden rounds.

Use Pleasing and Practical Shapes

A garden with a specific design, like a wheel with spokes, can be beautiful but is difficult to work in. Think of appearance when designing garden shapes, but if your garden ends up not being comfortable to work in, you probably won’t spend much time there.

Keep Families and Friends Together

Think of grouping plants similar necessities, such as water and sunlight, together. Even if your yard is already landscaped, you can often sneak in an herb here and there between existing plants or set aside one part of your landscape to be your herb area. If you have an existing vegetable garden, incorporate herbs as bed ends or as borders.

Think Of The Future

Consider how long you plan to reside in the place where you’re creating your garden. If you’re only staying a limited time, consider growing annuals or shrubby plants that can be easily transplanted or put in a container. If you’ll be there long term, plant long-lived trees and shrubs, such as ginkgo and hawthorn.

Keep Water Resources Close

After your herb plants are established, you won’t need to water them much. However, if you live in an area that doesn’t get much rain in the summer, you have to do a little watering.


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