Since the earliest times, people sought plants that could heal their ailments. Although today we rely on the achievements of the pharmaceutical industry, we sometimes forget that the vast majority of commercial remedies are derived from herbs, trees and shrubs. Many of the most potent healing plants don’t grow in exotic and remote places, but can be found here, in our backyards. Here are a few ideas to use in your healing garden:
“Since the earliest times,
people sought medicinal plants that
could heal their ailments.”
Healing garden outline
A healing garden should be a place of rest and meditation. In this sense, use plants that engage all the senses and help you relax. A variety of textures, colors and sounds will help you connect with the seasonal cycle of nature. Open your garden for wildlife by planting berry shrubs, fixing birdbaths and bird feeders.
While insects are natural pollinators for many magnoliophyta, or flowering plants, a healthy population of songbirds will keep their number under control. What is more, by selecting plants that are resistant to insects and diseases, you can avoid the use of pesticide completely.
Healing properties of plants
Many specific herbs can be used to make teas and essential oils that are both relaxing and healing to our bodies and minds. Edible plants like berries and vegetables are a great option for many families who like the idea of growing their own food.
A valuable time spent nurturing those plants and taking clippings is a reminder to where our food comes from. On the other hand, there are many herbs with medicinal properties that can help people with a variety of problems, including anxiety, stress, stomach issues, headaches, arthritis and many more.
How to obtain plants
Public libraries and bookstores offer a number of excellent herbals that you can use to select the plants that are the most suitable for your needs and climate. Online herb suppliers also have catalogues that can be referred to. Keep in mind that common names of plants can vary from region to region, so always look for their Latin names.
Even though you may want to cultivate only the herbs that can be used as remedies, consider some species that are planted simply for their beauty or cultural interest. Plants like bloodroot, foxglove, male fern and rue are too powerful for anyone untrained to use.
Home-grown tea herbs
An infusion of four teaspoons of dried Lady’s Mantle in a cup of water for 10 minutes will stimulate the appetite, relieve diarrhea and stem internal bleeding. Primrose petals tea is used to treat headaches and insomnia. These plants will flourish best in the shaded part of the garden.
Calendula, on the other hand, favors the sunny side and the tea or fresh-squeezed juice can be used for stomach cramps, ulcers, fever, boils or recurrent vomiting. Plants like peppermint are best grown in containers as they tend to spread quickly and take over whatever space is available. Its leaves can be dried and used for teas and baths.
Achieve plant complexity
A healing garden is nothing alike regular vegetable garden with strict lines and rows. The complexity of healing garden needs to answer to all the seasons and consider microclimates. For example, plants that grow in the shade are best placed next to a berry bush, while the sun-loving plants take the central stage. Gardens that are planted with a season on mind provide continual healing as nature goes through its cycles.
“A healing garden should be a
place of rest and meditation.
In this sense, use plants that engage
all the senses and help you relax.”
Herb garden design
The same considerations that are used for other gardens apply to healing gardens. The most important aspect is functionality, as the garden needs to accommodate many different plants in a limited space. The garden design needs to be maintainable and accessible for the elderly family members, as well.
Finally, the garden needs to be visually pleasing in order to fully achieve its restorative effects. One good example of a smart healing garden design is a circular garden made of three sections, each with a different level of shade. The sections are divided by three arcing walkways that meet at a birdbath at the center.
Paths and walkways
In order for your garden to be accessible around the year, it has to include adequate paths that reach to every corner and plant bed. Stepping stones can get slippery after rain, so grass pavers are a safer alternative. They stabilize the soil and allow for good drainage while providing traction for a firm footing. Also, their shape makes them suitable for any garden design.
Another wonderful way to make your medicinal plants accessible throughout the year–especially during the colder months–is to add a greenhouse to your healing garden.
By planting a healing garden, you can span the rift between you and the natural environment as well as learn about medicinal properties of many common plants.
About the Author
Derek Lotts is an Advisory Editor at Smooth Decorator and writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and everything related to home improvement. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.
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