Herb Garden Design – Theme Gardens.

Another approach to garden design is to focus on a common feature, or themes – such as herbs that are medicinal, herbs used for cooking, or herbs that attract butterflies. Theme gardens can also feature a common color – such as an all-white garden. You might base your design on plants that have special significance. A Shakespearean garden, for instance, includes the Renaissance herbs mentioned in the plays of Shakespeare. Biblical gardens feature herbs from the Bible, such as anise, coriander, cumin, dill, mint, mustard, rose, rue, saffron, and wormwood. If you are a tea drinker, you might create a garden composed of chamomile, lemon balm, mints, basils, rosemary, and the natural sweetener stevia to make your own infusions. A collection of lemony herbs might include herbs that provide a citrus scent and flavor, such as lemon balm, lemon thyme, and lemon verbena.

While other plants are wonderful companions that you may want to consider researching and adding to your collection. Most of the suggested plants are widely adapted but feel free to experiment. {If you live in Zone 5 or colder, you might need to substitute more cold-hardy cultivars for some perennials.} Play in your horticultural sandbox by choosing plants better suited to your conditions and the environment you wish to create. By definition, all gardens, and gardeners evolve over time – and experimenting with new plants and plant combinations is fun. For more designs, visit public gardens. Many include an outstanding period or theme herb gardens that are beautifully maintained.

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Herb Garden Design – Period Gardens.

If you own a house with a distinct architectural style – such as Early American, Victorian, or Craftsman – you might want to echo the style of that period in your garden landscape and herb garden. Period gardens generally follow the designs, materials, techniques, and plants of a given era. Before you embark on a historical design, read up on the aesthetics and garden design of that period. For a more formal look, you can draw inspiration from Renaissance gardens, which feature geometric patterns, topiaries, fountains, and even statues.

An enclosed medieval-style garden can make a tranquil refuge. You can enclose it with hedging, a tall wooden fence, latticework covered with climbing plants, plaited wicker {wattling}, or walls of brick or stone. Ideally, it should include a fountain. Surround the fountain with an herbal lawn studded with flowers – columbines, irises, pinks, primroses, and violets. If you have a tree in your garden, you can create a turf seat beneath an arbor. The turf seat – a medieval inspiration – is an earth-filled rectangular box surfaced with a creeping herb such as one of the prostrate thymes or creeping chamomile.

The symmetry of a colonial-style garden is also appealing. To make a colonial herb garden, lay out raised, board-sided beds along a central walk. The walk should lead to a sundial or bench. If possible, enclose the garden with a picket fence or a low hedge. Within the beds, you can mix vegetables and herbs or plant only herbs – such as angelica, borage, burnet, calendula, caraway, catmint, chamomile, chervil, comfrey, coriander, dill, fennel, lemon balm, licorice, lovage, madder, mint, nasturtiums, parsley, rue, sage, sweet cicely, tansy, tarragon, and woad. If you’re attempting a true historical recreation, use only the materials available during that period. Wood, wattling, stone, gravel, brick, and clay were the usual building materials during the colonial period.

Want more inspirations for period gardens? Great ideas to add flair to vegetable and herb gardens: See what has inspired our ideas here and here.