Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Demonstration Herb Garden - June 2013

Craft Bed June 2013
The  Herb Garden is designed to be decorative and to demonstrate a variety of horticultural practices. It presents a mix of herbs for different uses in addition to those used in different cultures and historic eras.

What is an herb?
Plants used to flavor or season food are usually the first to come to mind. However, the  Herb Society of America defines an herb as a plant that is valued for flavor, fragrance, medicinal/health qualities, pesticide properties, coloring uses or commercial/industrial uses. Think about dried wreaths, potpourri, sachets, insect repellents, dyeing cloth, or herbs with antiseptic properties added to products such as mouthwash or toothpaste.

Layout for Herb Garden - Fall 2012
In mid-2012 Master Gardeners began to refurbish the existing herb garden and prepared a plan centered on raised beds with a variety of themes. The herb plants in the garden were removed, many of them saved and held over for use in the new garden. Raised beds were built, stained and installed. Manure and top soil was added in Fall 2012 and allowed to over winter.

Six themes were identified for various beds, each of which has been adopted by a current Master Gardener to design, choose and install plants. Additionally we wanted to highlight some interesting horticulture practices. As planting proceeded we identified four horticultural practices we wanted to highlight and would be easy for others to adopt – raised bed gardening, layering for propagation, container gardening for tender perennials and using oyster shells for mulching lavender.

Signs highlighting different horticultural practices
Barbara Petrucci has installed a beautiful climbing rose that will wind up a black wrought-iron obelisk (not yet installed) as well as a variety of lavenders – Hidcote, Munstead, Grosso, and fragrant thymes such as lavender, lemon and coconut. She has mulched the lavender with oyster shells (purchased as chicken feed/grit), a practice suggested by Evelyn Schoch and supported by Washington State Extension Service research.
Zephirine Drouhin Climbing Rose
Mints have a dedicated bed as a way to contain their spread and Jean Schlect has planted a wide variety to include: Kentucky Colonel mint, mountain mint, pennyroyal, bee balm, applemint, ginger mint and peppermint and more.
Bee Balm and Peppermint
The historical bed has been designed by Jerry Lewis to include three different eras – a Medieval/Monastery group, a Roman style group and a biblical themed group. Monastery herbs include angelica, fennel, oregano, violets, tansy and more.

Monastery Bed: Oregano & Violets

The biblical group has rosemary, horseradish, mustard, Lady’s bedstraw, passionflower and more. The passionflower is planted to climb up a large wooden obelisk. The Roman style group has dill, basil, costmary, winter savory and more.
(L) Roman Style bed- (R) Biblical bed: horseradish and lady's bedstraw
Carol Kagan has installed a variety of plants in the craft garden which includes herbs used for dried crafts and wreaths, potpourri scents/fixatives and sachets, insect repellents and flower arrangements. These include globe amaranth, celosia, artemisia, violets, scented geraniums, yarrow, scented thymes and more.

Celosia in Craft Bed

Both culinary and household plants are included in Sue McMorris’s beds. She has planted familiar herbs such as basil, thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, chives and oregano but has also included many less familiar but interesting ones such as stevia – the sweet herb that is the basis of a line of new sugar-free sweetners, and lemon verbena, both tender perennials that need to be sheltered for the winter. She has also included pineapple sage, a daylily, salad burnet, hops that will climb a companion wooden obelisk.
Rosemary and Sweet Basil
The dye bed, designed and planted by Carol Kagan, has plants used in dyeing materials. Many of these are unusual such as woad, broom, dyer’s chamomile, false indigo and black irises while others are familiar but may not be known primarily for their dye qualities – yarrow, zinnia, marigolds and goldenrod.
Yarrow & woad plants are in the dye garden
The other beds have been filled with plants pulled from the holding area and extras from this year’s greenhouse seedlings. Look for nasturtiums, trailing and upright germander, thyme and caraway.

Other design features are wood-slat benches (rescued from the barn and redone), a bluebird house and a small nightlight.

For more information check these links

Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education: Application of Oyster Shell Mulch
Biblical Herbs Blog


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