Bartrams Garden Philly May 2009 036There are many types of specialty gardens. Only your imagination and interests will limit you. A specialty garden can be an location in your landscape reserved for your collection of ferns, cactus or colorful vibrant day lilies. Or a garden with a more defined structure and parameter. Whatever you choose — a special garden adds visual, edible and spiritual value to your property.

If inspiration is lacking, a trip to the nursery is always a good idea. And in the colder months go on-line. Or cuddle up with your favorite garden books and catalogs. Or invite your designer over for a cup of tea — and lively plant conversation.

Bartrams Garden Philly May 2009 044Containers are a great way to maintain plants in a small garden and add focal points in larger spaces. Since they are generally light enough to move, it easy to change a scene: just rearrange the grouping or install seasonal plants. Use your imagination or mine!

Containers can be almost anything — terra cotta pots, window boxes, galvanized tins to old coffee cans! Whatever style of container you choose, allow for adequate drainage and fertilize regularly to keep your plants healthy. Container gardens can be remarkable in their simplicity of design and repetition of plant material — examples of how “less is more.”

Montreal Quebec Gardens July 2006 035 Container Quebec Gardens July 2006 142 metal containers July 2009 061
North Calif July 2009 038 Containers Philly May 2009 042 Container Quebec Gardens July 2006 150
wooden container July 2009 036 Container Felicita Gardens 023

Kississimmee Fla March 09 067The culinary garden, the kitchen garden or as the French say, potager. Many times, the garden is located right outside the kitchen door and allows easy access. The garden can be a combination of herbs, fruits, vegetables and flowers. As in other gardens, climate, size of mature plants, vegetable leaf shape, growing conditions and color should all be considered. My kitchen garden is in a large container on the front porch.

Raised garden beds are thought easier to maintain. Organic veggie gardens are also popular now. There are Kississimmee Fla March 09 069a lot of herbs and vegetables to choose from, many in the same family. So experiment and plant a variety of basil, parsley or oregano plants. Add your favorite vegetables to the garden bed — and what a feast you and your family will have!

I have a hard time getting radishes and carrots to grow. But cukes and tomatoes seem to do well in my small veggie garden space.

You can prepare a traditional garden bed using rectangular or circular designs or plant your herbs in pots or containers. Or a combination of the two! Kitchen herbs, fragrance herbs, healing herbs — whatever aspect of herb growing interests you, have fun with your garden and that is its real gift to you

Yes, in early spring in Paris, France visit the Jardin des Plantes. The plantings are just emerging into what will become a great display of medicinal, aromatic and culinary herbs. The garden is easily viewed from the circular pathways. The traditional design of this herb garden creates an inviting space. The pathways make it easy to maintain and navigate. The parterre (of low boxwoods) border adds year round structure.

When you are done in the kitchen. Another use for herbs from the garden is to dry them. Many herbs make wonderful potpourri, wreaths, sachets, scented candles and soap.

Suggested Dried Herbs for Fragrance
Lavender flowers
Peppermint leaves
Lemon balm
Sweet marjoram leaves

Malfitano After June 2009 010Healing gardens can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Many of the gardens were planted by Monks who practiced medicine and experimented with the herbs they grew. They were also popular in the 16th and 17th century and planted by apothecaries and doctors.

In addition to herbs, there are thousands of plants, shrubs, natural rock, crystals, and mineral materials that are said to have healing and metaphysical properties. They are perfect companions in a garden designed to soothe and offer tranquility.

Suggested Herbs for Healing Gardens
Lavender eases headaches
Rosemary eases headaches
Chamomile encourages sleep
Lemon verbena encourages sleep
Garlic heals wounds
Hyssop heals wounds
Chervil reduces fever
Sage reduces fever