Herbs in a Woodland Garden

Herbs in a Woodland Garden
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A lot of herb lovers think because they have a shaded garden space they cannot grow herbs.
Many interesting herbs that have medicinal properties, and are also very ornamental, originated in a woodland habitat. As a result, they thrive in moist, sheltered conditions, and tolerate shade. In such cool, humid conditions they evolved delicate, often fernlike leaves, or they developed a carpeting habit to cover the humus-rich ground beneath trees.

An exception to this pattern is the foxglove which is specially adapted to grow in woodland clearings. Foxglove seeds need light to germinate, and can remain dormant for years until a clearing appears in the trees. This biennial pattern means that at first you need to replant foxgloves annually to supplement those that self-seed and to guarantee flowers each year.

Sweet cicely and Geranium robertianum often self-seed prolifically, whereas periwinkle and sweet woodruff are rampant spreaders. If your woodland is not to become a jungle you will have to be ruthless about weeding out seedlings and runners. Following is a list of 'some' herbs that do well in a woodland setting.

Convallaria majalis; Lily of the Valley

Sambucus nigra; Common Elder

Myrrhis odorata; Sweet Cicely

Mentha suaveolens; Applemint

Vinca major; Periwinkle

Valeriana officinalis; Common valerian/garden heliotrope

Aconitum napellus; Monkshood

Trillium erectum; Bethroot/ wake robin

Geranium robertianum; Cranesbill

Ajuga reptans; Bugleweed

Digitalis lanata; Foxglove

Melissa officinalis; Lemon Balm

Convallaria majalis; Lily of the Valley

Bloodroot

May apple

Snakeroot

Solomon's seal

Planting under certain types of trees can be a problem. The shallow roots of maple, horse chestnut, or beech trees, for example, will absorb all the nearby water and nutrients. Some herbs, however, can tolerate these conditions. Creeping thyme does well. However, try not to plant any closer than six feet from the trunk (the 'experts' say this, but I have herbs planted a lot closer than that ) Evergreen trees prefer a slightly acid soil. Herbs that will grow well with these trees are sweet woodruff, bloodroot, and snakeroot.


 

About The Author

herb gardens

Karen Hegre

I feel very fortunate to have met Karen, and to be able to share her wonderful crafts and herbal inspiration with our visitors. She has a gentle soul and contributes not only her words but encouragement as well.

Karen is a Master Gardener specializing in herbs, a mom and grandma. She and her husband have a Backyard Wildlife Habitat, plus 'Fairy Gardens' where the children can learn about different herbs and hear Karen read a story about the Garden Fairies and Flowers. They are open to the public May through September.

Karen owns several discussion lists, which we have listed below with the subscription information. All are free to join and a joy to be a member of!

Karen's Herbal Kitchen: A list for exchanging herbal recipes! Click Here to subscribe.

Nature Crafts: This is a list for those who enjoy crafting with Nature and want to learn more!! We will share projects, learn ways of preserving those natural items and much more. Click Here to subscribe.

Keepers Of the Gardens: This list is a 'learning & sharing' list on how to create beautiful back yard habitats for birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, and other wildlife including bees, dragonflies, frogs, toads & other friendly insects & reptiles. Click Here to subscribe.

Aromatherapy One-0-One: This is a list for learning the basics of Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. A friendly place for questions and ideas... a place where we can learn from each other. Click Here to subscribe.

 
 

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