Some personal reflections on herbal gardening!

I am a gardener and always have been, I helped my dad, who is also an avid gardener when I was barely able to walk, I now have two sons who are also gardeners so lets say it runs in the blood. Gardening helps me to connect to nature, to ground myself, to relax, to mull things over without getting stressed…. gardening is a therapy in itself. Gardening has taught me about seasons, about the life cycle of plants, about the plants themselves, about soil types and exposition, about the needs of different plants, about ground cover, about life.

The gardens that I make are and always have been medicinal plant gardens, I have never been attracted to garish hybrids developed in glass houses or worse for their color and glitz, I prefer those plants that don’t show off but have a natural beauty and are produced by nature rather than man.

These plants are my friends, I have a true connection with them, in your own garden you really get to know everyone, their particularities, if they are feeling ok or not, what they like and what they don’t like, if they need tending to or not. And sometimes, magical things happen in gardens. Let me tell you about valerian for example…I had a garden some years ago, a garden on very poor, acid, sandy soil and facing south, so also very dry. I had collected a large number of medicinal plants and as many of these originate from the southern areas of Europe, they grew fairly well in these conditions and so the garden was prospering. However I thought to myself how nice it would be to have a valerian in the garden, they grow in the region, I could go and get one and replant it here. After a few seconds of reflection, I came to my senses, valerian loves humidity and shade, it grows naturally in woodland paths, it would hate it here, in fact it wouldn’t even grow…there is no point and so I left it at that. A few days later I was fiddling about in the compost area of the garden and I happened to gaze over to the flowerbed next to it and there I saw a young, yes you’ve guessed it a young valerian nestled behind the nettles in the shadiest, dampest part of the garden. For me this was magic, a present from the plant world.

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