Creating a Beautiful Tea Garden

circular garden

Creating a beautiful tea garden this year will not only bring great happiness, but also provide free medicine in the garden, help feed the bees and butterflies, and can be grown anywhere from an apartment balcony to a forty acre parcel.

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Herbs don’t require a lot of water once they are established so they can survive droughts, but also appreciate a light watering daily if it is available.  Herbs are easy to grow and affordable.  I often have trouble starting herbs from seed outdoors.  Too many factors, birds, wind…and I don’t have the room indoors but for $3 or less I can go to my local nursery and pick up one pack of my desired herb and it will spread and thrive throughout the summer.  Friends and fellow gardeners are also good sources for a small divide of herbs.  If you do not want them to take off like wild fire then plant them in pots, whether on the porch, or in the ground to help keep them from flitting about.  Mulch with wood chips or straw.  At the end of the season give them some compost and cover with straw for the winter.  Some Mediterranean herbs, such as Lavender and Rosemary, will be annual in mid to northern climates, but can easily be replaced or overwintered in the house.

When starting, rototill desired space and add a bit of compost and garden soil and mix well.  One can create fantastic designs, circular walkways, or checkerboards, or simple lines.  Herbs can also be added in with vegetables as they act as beneficial partners.  Bugs that love to eat plants are not attracted to herbs and may bypass the whole tomato patch if they only see the basil!

My choices for a tea garden are:

Chamomile– any variety- Dainty, beautiful, used as a calmative, sleep aid, heartburn relief, digestive distress, mild pain reliever.

Mints– peppermint, spearmint, chocolate- Hearty, fragrant, used for digestive distress of any sort, fever reducer.

Basil– any variety- May act as annual in many climates, used for digestive distress and to fight colds and viruses.

Motherwort– Watch out for stickers!  Used to moderate hormones, heart support, and fights colds.

Monarda– also known as Bee Balm- Used to fight viruses.

Purple Coneflower– also known as Echinacea- Used as anti-biotic, cancer fighter, and immunity support.  Use topically on wounds.

St. John’s Wort– Used for anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medicine, helps heal nerve damage, strong pain reliever.

California Poppy– Easy to grow, used as a strong pain reliever.

Skullcap– Controls seizures, acts as strong pain reliever.

Roses– any variety- Mild pain reliever, mild anti-depressant.  Rose hips can be made into tea for arthritis pain.  Highest fruit in Vitamin C.

Yarrow- white variety- Used internally for heart and vein support.  Externally crush flowers and apply to wound to stop bleeding.

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Use leaves and flowers in any blend you desire for flavor or benefit.  To dry for winter, cut herbs and place in a paper bag clearly marked with contents.  Three weeks later the herbs will be dried and can be placed in a canning jar.

To the garden add a table and chairs, a bird bath, and bring a cup of tea out to your tea garden to relax and enjoy.

 

The Apothecary Garden

An Apothecary Garden is an important addition to any farm whether your plot is an apartment balcony or large acreage.  Herbs easily grow in pots on the porch or a south window in the house or in their own space in the garden.

IMG_0658 (Rosemary increases focus and memory)

Apothecary gardens have been a staple in every culture around the world for many, many centuries.  The religious leaders were generally the herbalists, medicine men, and healers of the village.  Herbs have amazing healing powers and are every bit as effective and much more safe than pharmaceuticals.  Herbalists have been known as healers since the beginning of mankind.  Sometimes these things are met with cynicism.  I know how to make a broken bone heal in two weeks.  Folks that aren’t aware of herbs are confused about this.  My own family stems back to the Salem witch hunts where many of my herbalist ancestors were burned at the stake.  Herbs are wondrous and miraculous, but met with confusion all the same.  My goal is to take the woohoo out of herbs.  They heal.  End of story. Now let’s get your Apothecary garden going!

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Peppermint is a staple everyone should have.  It is a mild pain reliever but its real job is in the digestive area.  It will calm an upset tummy, help stop heartburn, even heal stomach lining due to ulcers or colitis.  It is carminative, meaning it is anti-gas!  A cup of tea is delicious and with a little chamomile and ginger (which contain the same digestive properties) you will have a fine medicinal tea ready for the taking.

IMG_0657 (St. John’s Wort)

St. John’s Wort is becoming harder to find to grow, but if you can get it, grab it!  The pharmaceutical companies use a derivative of St. John’s Wort that is then lab created to make chronic pain medications and anti-depressants.  If you can change the structure of the constituent then you can patent it.  Can’t patent something God made up.  He was there first.  Therefore, you cannot make very much money peddling a plant.  Big pharma is after a bit more money than that.  Making a tea of St. John’s Wort flowers, leaves, and rose petals is every bit as strong as an anti-depressant/anxiety medication.  There are corporations out there that don’t want you to know that!

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Valerian is a beautiful plant that will get your sleep cycle back into a peaceful rhythm.  It is also an excellent pain reliever.  Add catnip and chamomile to go to sleep.  Add California Poppy and St. John’s Wort for an excellent sleep remedy.

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IMG_0662 (California Poppy and Calendula)

Stinging Nettles will stop allergies in three minutes flat.  Take care when harvesting them (they aren’t called Stinging for nothing!) and dry them in a paper sack.  Crumble them up and make tea with them.

Dandelions can be made into tea or salad to help heal the liver and gallbladder.

Red Clovers help with women’s health, uterine health, and breast and uterine cancer.

So the weeds that pop up in the garden are there for a reason too!

There are Apothecary gardens that are designed in a circle with paths leading north and south, west and east.  There are Apothecary gardens that have winding paths.  I turned the front three feet of my long front yard into our garden.  The left side is medicinal plants and the right side are culinary (which also have medicinal qualities) herbs.  One large section of the garden holds the Poppies and Calendula (great for skin when infused into oil) to inspire beneficial insects to the garden.  Pots of herbs line the porch and in the winter are brought in to line the window sills.

Head to the nursery and see what you can add to your garden.  Want to learn more and completely take charge of your family’s health?  Look up my correspondence classes for Certified and Master Herbalists and take control of your medicine! http://gardenfairyapothecary.com

I am also leading an herb walk and medicinal tea talk Sunday, June 30th from 10-12 at Castlewood Canyon.  Meet at the visitor’s center.  Their cost is $7.