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Apothecary gardens....what would you recommend?

 
master gardener
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Although I generally prefer to design my gardens to be as natural looking as possible, I admit to loving the look of a walled garden and some of the old walled apothecary gardens are so lovely.  I was wondering, if you were planning a walled apothecary garden, which plants would be highest on your list to include?

 
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I would consider adding some yarrow along the base or around borders. Besides the medicinal value it's a nice ornamental plant too.

 
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Echinacea, elderberry, witch hazel and Aloe. Mint, lemon balm, calendula, verbenna, comfrey, lavender, St John's wort, yarrow.. I can do this all night :)

I don't think there's much that wouldn't work in a walled garden. :D
 
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Greg,

Are you asking about medicinal herbs that are good as climbers or on trellis for the wall?

 
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Ashwaghanda, Ginger, Burdock, Rosemary, Holy Basil, Astralagus, Gotu Kola, Turmeric.
 
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Sharol Tilgner wrote:Greg,

Are you asking about medicinal herbs that are good as climbers or on trellis for the wall?



I was curious, too. I'm thinking the "walled" portion refers to how the more formal type garden was surrounded by walls to protect it from more severe weather and to make a warmer environment that could grow plants that normally wouldn't grow in that area.

From https://www.drugmuseum.org/GARDEN.html

As an organized effort, however, Benedictine Monasteries in the middle ages were the first to establish gardens cultivated specifically for the study of the therapeutic effects of plant life.  In each monastery there was to be a garden dedicated to herbs and medicinal plants and a monk who was well educated and experienced in the healing arts. The garden was surrounded by high walls or cloisters to protect the valuable herbs from harm or possible misuse. These were among the first Apothecary Gardens.



Here's something about the Apothecaries' Garden in London, England https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chelsea_Physic_Garden

Its rock garden is the oldest English garden devoted to alpine plants. The largest fruiting olive tree in Britain is there, protected by the garden's heat-trapping high brick walls, along with what is doubtless the world's northernmost grapefruit growing outdoors.



Here's a picture of some (non-apothecary?) walled garden from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardenstovisit/10702842/The-magic-of-Britains-walled-gardens.html



I'm thinking what Greg is asking is what medicinal plants would look good in a more formal English-type garden? A walled garden might also be nice for Greg, since I believe he lives in the frozen north Maine, and might need the benefits of walls to protect his plants?
 
Greg Martin
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I should have been more specific...opps.  Yes, the microclimate effects of a walled garden probably do make them much more attractive to me, but there is the second aspect of apothecary gardens being walled as a means to protect the contents from misuse (you figured me out on both counts Nicole!).  I like the idea of poisonous medicinals being dispersed throughout the forest garden to support the health of the garden system, but if children are allowed to forage then some of the most troublesome medicinals would be better off within a walled zone.  They could live there along with plants needing the microclimate boost here in zone 5 Maine.  It may be the plant collector in me that would want some of these plants, though I admit that I wouldn't be very interested in those that are too difficult to be safely used.  I do have young children here sometimes that love my forest garden and most of them will listen to me, but a few just are not capable.
 
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In addition to all the herbs already mentioned, 2 tall ones I have in the herb garden are elecampane and bergamot, both very useful.

If there are walls, then along the wall, to have more heat, put the ones which are sensitive to cold, such as lavender and rosemary.
 
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Mullein, horehound, Hawthorne, passionflower, dwarf sour cherry tree(s), roses, mallow, calendula, California poppy, skullcap, catnip, peppermint, German chamomile, elderberry...
 
Nicole Alderman
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Greg Martin wrote:I like the idea of poisonous medicinals being dispersed throughout the forest garden to support the health of the garden system, but if children are allowed to forage then some of the most troublesome medicinals would be better off within a walled zone.



This made me think of the medicinal--and very dangerous--flower that grows wild around her: foxglove. It's very pretty and comes in shades from white to pink to purple. But, one bite can kill someone. Some--who probably already had heart conditions--died from just picking them or breathing the spores.
 
Greg Martin
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Nicole Alderman wrote: This made me think of the medicinal--and very dangerous--flower that grows wild around her: foxglove. It's very pretty and comes in shades from white to pink to purple. But, one bite can kill someone. Some--who probably already had heart conditions--died from just picking them or breathing the spores.



Yes, that's the category of plant that I was thinking about, except that I would likely not include it as I don't believe I can safely utilize foxglove.  Having said that, they are gorgeous.
 
Nicole Alderman
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They also spread, at least around here. I have them sprouting up everywhere (my children both know not to touch or eat them. It's the first lesson I teach them about plants. My son even told his neighbor not to touch them. But, I had to weed out all the ones around my house when my daughter was younger. And, even with pulling every one out that I could find for two years, I still have a ton.).

The bees do love them, though!
 
pollinator
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Greg, you may enjoy this book...https://www.amazon.com/Wicked-Plants-Lincolns-Botanical-Atrocities/dp/1565126831

The weed that killed Lincoln's Mother. Great fun read.
 
Greg Martin
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Thank you Sena….it's now in my cart!
 
Sena Kassim
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Awesome! She has several great books. The Drunken Botanist is another one
 
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If you're near New York City, or visiting sometime, check out the Cloisters.  The website doesn't have much about their gardens, but they are really lovely and done in the style of a Medieval apothecary garden.

https://www.metmuseum.org/visit/plan-your-visit/met-cloisters
 
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Lemon balm, rosemary, stinging nettle, and comfrey all seem like low hanging fruit (so to speak).
 
pollinator
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Haleigh Lynn wrote:Ashwaghanda, Ginger, Burdock, Rosemary, Holy Basil, Astralagus, Gotu Kola, Turmeric.


I see you are in Texas... He is in Maine!
He cannot grow things ginger, turmeric, gotu kola!
You can and I can and I have them...
 
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Wonderful suggestions coming up, do keep in mind that you may want to take extra caution with certain plants such as Comfrey, St John's Wort, Mint families as they love to expand and are hard to get rid of... containment planting would be great for these plants within your garden :)
 
Xisca Nicolas
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If you want to use the wall for climbers, passion fruit, hop and Schisandra chinensis!

It made me think there are not many medicinal climbers...
And most people don't like to grow kudzu.

Also Dioscorea communis is a climber and needs attention from children access because the red berry is poisonous.

As annual vines, momordicagenus, like the bitter melon...
 
Dianne Justeen
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Xisca Nicolas wrote:

Haleigh Lynn wrote:Ashwaghanda, Ginger, Burdock, Rosemary, Holy Basil, Astralagus, Gotu Kola, Turmeric.


I see you are in Texas... He is in Maine!
He cannot grow things ginger, turmeric, gotu kola!
You can and I can and I have them...



Actually, we can!  They can be grown as annuals.  I've grown Gotu Kola in my square-foot garden beds.  Foolishly also tried lemongrass which took over so badly I was relieved for the winter kill.  I've bought organic fresh ginger and turmeric roots that were huge, cheap, and plentiful from a local CSA.   So if you can give them a passive greenhouse you'll get even more production.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Dianne Justeen wrote:

Xisca Nicolas wrote:

Haleigh Lynn wrote:Ashwaghanda, Ginger, Burdock, Rosemary, Holy Basil, Astralagus, Gotu Kola, Turmeric.


I see you are in Texas... He is in Maine!
He cannot grow things ginger, turmeric, gotu kola!
You can and I can and I have them...



Actually, we can!  They can be grown as annuals.  I've grown Gotu Kola in my square-foot garden beds.  Foolishly also tried lemongrass which took over so badly I was relieved for the winter kill.  I've bought organic fresh ginger and turmeric roots that were huge, cheap, and plentiful from a local CSA.   So if you can give them a passive greenhouse you'll get even more production.



Ok... we always try to push our climate limits hehe... I am not fond of having more work but here is how to have more production and easier: use big buckets full of compost for ginger and turmeric as they are always hungry and you will get much better rhyzoms! They love to have a lot of half composted leaves to make it all lighter. Then just empty the buckets after the leaf dry and keep some rhyzoms for next spring.
 
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Intersting info, I'm in the South Island on NZ. I can grow a mix of Mediterranean and temperate plants. Most useful for me are, valerien, yarrow, oregano, mallow, mullein, echinachea. I usually dry them or make tinctures. It's legal to distill your alcohol here, that's a bonus! Not allowed to sell it though. I do grow turmeric in my glass house and make a very effective turmeric and black pepper tincture.
 
pollinator
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Please keep in mind that astragalus is toxic to honeybees.

 
Greg Martin
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Dianne Justeen wrote:If you're near New York City, or visiting sometime, check out the Cloisters.  The website doesn't have much about their gardens, but they are really lovely and done in the style of a Medieval apothecary garden.

https://www.metmuseum.org/visit/plan-your-visit/met-cloisters



I will try Dianne...the arcade they show in their picture is similar to the north wall of my dream greenhouse/walled garden.  :)  (A big thermal mass/radiator...not sure I can build it, but heck, it's a dream!)
 
Dianne Justeen
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Greg Martin wrote:...the arcade they show in their picture is similar to the north wall of my dream greenhouse/walled garden.  :)  (A big thermal mass/radiator...not sure I can build it, but heck, it's a dream!)



It doesn't hurt that they have extremely wealthy patrons, professional gardeners, and volunteers!
 
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If you have the time and the means, trvel to Burnsville, NC, and visit Mountain Gardens for inspiration in growing medicinal plants, link follows- https://www.mountaingardensherbs.com
 
Greg Martin
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Wow Andrew....quite the collection of medicinals!  Thank you for the tip and link.  
 
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Mints, including our native mountain mint, maypop (makes a terrific jelly as well as a soporific), nettles in general, blueberries (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory)
 
Sena Kassim
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Andrew McDonald Thank so much mentioning this!

That’s an amazing place. So glad you mentioned it! For that....you’ve been awarded an apple. Happy traveling
 
pollinator
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Mint/Thyme Family (helps with respiratory problems, anxiety and GI problems, anti-fungal/antioxidant, sedative)
Carrot/Celery Family (muscle and nervous system depressant, just don't overdo it until it gets to hemlock level)
Onion/Garlic Family (blood thinner, antioxidant, good for the heart and cancer and virility)
Legume Family (good for bones, GI track, kidney and lungs. help detoxify and remove heavy metals, feeds the good microbes)
Daisy Family (anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antispasmodic, good for blood sugar)
Nightshade Family (parasympathomimetic alkaloid activators, so less fight and flight and more rest, feed, relax and sex)




 
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Sida rhombifolia / cordifolia is an effective decongestant, its the only medicinal I'd ever bother to grow - handy for every cold and flu.
[Globalized weed, so easy to source]
 
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I am just starting out with medicinal plants, so right now I am focusing on plants that can help me deal health issues I can personally encounter the most: fatigue, digestion problems, sleeping aids... It helps make a choice, as there are so many different herbs and flower available.
 
Sena Kassim
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I wonder if one could plant a garden that resembles an outline of a person, while growing the plants that are good for those organs...hmmmmm what a wonderful kid lesson. =)
Thanks for inspiring this next garden Mike! For that you get an apple.
Happy growing.
 
pollinator
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Greg, i grow monk hood and ricinus comunis, just because you never know.
They're in a corner of the garden together, and i had read it's ok because kids will spit out all extremely bitter tasting poisonous plants immediately, however when my young nieces arrived this summer i got very nervous. I had them make a warning sign, it had to state poisonous, which is "giftig" in Dutch. They came up with a much better design and i haven't seen them there and they're still doing great!

Medicinal plants i didn't see mentioned is ginkgo, for the brain and milk thistle (alkaline) for the liver. Hops and valerian for sleeping and beer brewing!
GIFTIG.jpg
GIFTIG
GIFTIG
 
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