Saturday, April 12, 2014

What is my garden style? Simply Medieval


What is my garden style? Medieval.
Selections of many plants are by species. My interest is in biochemistry and history. Very practical, simply Medieval.
My herb garden is not always stunning, in fact, it is rarely pretty but it is more a place of experimentation. Culinary additives and food for butterfly larvae .... I don’t write about medicinal values in my blog but many people are aware of the benefits. Monasteries and cloister gardens were the places of inspiration and precursors to our modern medicinals.

Sweet basil and Thai basil are so rewarding to grow. They provide such a wonderful flavor to so many recipes including pestos. Sweet basil can reach 4 feet.
The purple basil, to most people, would be a nuisance, due to it prolific seeding, but I let it throw seeds into the lawn. When you walk across the yard the wafting licorice scent in the spring is a welcome greeting.   

Var.  society garlic (not chives)   
I have over 15 varieties of allium including basic green onions and garlic. Many of the onions are grown for ornament including gigantum and drumstick for the purple floral presentation in the spring. I have clusters of the variegated society garlic, Tulbaghis, not a true allium, planted along a bed on a hill. It helps break the wash of  water during rains and is more visually interesting than the liriope and mondo grass planted along other slopes to slow the rain. The sulfur in the onions has many benefits, too. Logic stands that If it repels humans it might repel our human nemesis, mosquitos.

Lemon oregano has a phenomenal scent, grows gangbusters in zone 8 and survives through the winter. Lemon oregano is still nice to use in your Italian and Mediterranean recipes for a change.

The golden oregano is a beautiful chartreuse color. I like to use it under other tall plants as an accent. It will thrive and survive one summer and struggle others but I still like to use it throughout flower beds.

If you like to grill, break a few rosemary branches, soak them in water and use for shish-ka-bob.

There are so many varieties to choose. English and French are popular but there is a trick to planting lavender. I plant lavender with Hummingbird mint or Giant hyssop, Agastache both require very little water.

Nepeta Walker's Low is grown as a border plant and curiosity  in my garden. Catnip is supposed to act as an insect repellent. The low growing purple flowering silhouette fits in well at the edges of flower beds. Goldilocks and the Three Bears, graduated height style,  I have it planted with “tall” Peter’s purple monarda and “medium” white salvia greggi.

Fennel and Dill
Grown mostly for butterfly larvae. The dill and dill seed can be used in many recipes. I like to substitute it for salt when seasoning food. Fennel has a licorice flavor and is great in salads. I add dill to mashed potatoes on St. Patrick's Day.

Parsley and Cilantro
Both will do well during the winter but die back in the heat of the summer in zone 8.

Root Garden Bed

I have been experimenting with root plants. Gingers and turmeric are exotic. I put them all in one bed. The foliage dies back but returns in the spring. Variegated ornamental ginger is a favorite so I have added this to the culinary ginger and turmeric. Variegated varieties abound in my garden basically drawn to add interest in a “dark” shady garden, rather than cut down our native oak trees.

"Much as architectural elements from different periods and locales in medieval Europe were transported ...... the herbs, fruits, and flowers growing in the gardens were transplanted, traveling across time and space to their home at The Cloisters."2

My Pinterest, Medieval Gardens

2"The Medieval Garden Enclosed | The Metropolitan Museum of Art ..." 2008. 19 Jan. 2014

©  Grassroots Horticulture