Your Living Garden

When you create your healing garden be sure to include as many opportunities as possible or encouraging life. I don’t necessarily mean wildlife if you live in an area where larger animals naturally roam e.g. opossums, foxes, deer etc.  However, I do mean beneficial insects, bird life and small lizards. If you have a natural healing garden you will notice that it is a haven for all sorts of pollinators, nectar feeders, pest predators and beneficial creatures. If you garden has a good balance of herbal leys, spring blossoms, good soil as well as some shade trees, water features and some sunny spots, then a variety of butterflies, birds, bees, hedgehogs and lizards will visit your garden.

Your fruit trees, vegetable garden and herb beds will benefit from the presence of early spring pollinators. In return your fruit trees will bear healthy fruit, your vegetables won’t need chemical sprays, pests will be suppressed and your soil will stay fertile and friable.
in my own healing garden I’ve noticed an increase in monarch butterflies (see photo above) after I introduced swan plants.  The borage plants under my pear and nashi trees ensure that bees are plentiful in early spring during the brief pear blossom period (see photo above).

Your Living Garden

When you create your healing garden, be sure to include as  many opportunities for encouraging wildlife as possible.  I don’t mean the unwelcome variety such as rodents, opossums, foxes or large predators (if you live in an area where these roam). However, I do mean birdlife, beneficial insects and small lizards. If you have developed a natural healing garden you will notice that it will be a haven for all sorts of pollinators, nectar feeders, pest predators, and beneficial creatures. If your garden has a good balance of herbal leys, spring blossoms, good soil as well as some shade trees, sunny spots and water features, then a variety of butterflies, birds, bees, hedgehogs and lizards will visit your garden. In return your fruit trees will bear healthy fruit, your vegetables won’t need chemical sprays, pest infestations will be suppressed and your soil will stay fertile and friable.
In my own garden where I have a home orchard and herb garden, I’ve noticed an increase in monarch butterflies after I introduced swan plants (see photo below).  The borage plants under my pear and nashi trees ensure that bees are plentiful in early spring during the brief pear blossom period. I have included flax, grevillea, tree ferns and renga renga lily in a woodland corner and now native birds such as tui and fan tails love to play there.
The more life you have in your healing garden, the more you will benefit from its healing properties.

Design a Herb Garden

A herb garden bed is an essential part of your healing garden. Since ancient times, people of all cultures have cultivated herbs for remedial and culinary purposes.  The special properties of herbs have been understood by healers in ancient civilisations, monks in medieval monasteries, shamanic healers of indigenous cultures and therapists of western society. Interest in healing herbs has increased over the last decades as people seek alternatives to chemical medicines or wish to try natural therapies to complement their prescriptions.
I have included a small herb garden (see above) designed in a formal cross shape, in my therapeutic garden. Slightly raised beds and a path of white chip define the rectangular design. A large terracotta strawberry pot in the centre acts as a focal point (I have yet to add a plant to the pot).
In the four beds I have included herbs such as fennel, dill, thyme, pineapple sage, lovage, lemon balm, marjoram and coriander. These are mostly perennial so will fill the beds year round.

Planting in Pots

Adding focal points of interest in your healing garden can be as easy as adding a few pots planted up in interesting ways.  Ordinary plants can be made to look extra-ordinary when placed in a special pot and made a feature of.  Even a sculptural specimen such as this bromeliad (below) is given extra wow factor placed in a large black glazed pot. Elevating the bromeliad also allows the stunning red foliage to be backlit against the sun for extra glowing effect.

Pots in your healing garden
Adding pots as a focal point in your healing garden

A wide shallow pot can be used to show off a tall leafy plant to good effect. This iris is often planted en masse but this one has been given its own stage. There is a pleasing textural contrast between the strappy leaves and the small round leafed ground cover below.

Healing garden pots
Iris in wide shallow pot

In my own healing garden I have included a collection of tiny succulents as a charming vignette. This cute little setting is an artwork in itself and invites restful contemplation

Pot on courtyard table
Tiny succulents in a pot

 

Water lily

The most beautiful pink water lily flowers appeared in my small pond last summer. The water lilies appeared between the  other pond plants such as the lotus (with their umbrella-like leaves) and reeds ( seen in the  blue pot to the right). The water lily blooms closed up each evening and opened in the mornings.  When I had Muscovy ducks in my property earlier this year, I had to keep them from eating the blooms as the ducks seemed to love them. The water lilies had only a faint scent but the most pure pink colour with yellow stamens.

Growing waterlilies
Water lily about to bloom.
Waterlily in full bloom
Water lily in full bloom

Grow your own Saffron

Growing Saffron

It’s a great idea to include in your garden something that is expensive to buy but easy to grow. An example is Saffron which you can buy online as corms. Just plant the corms according to the instructions on the packet and within about four months the corms will be sprouting above the ground and blooming with a beautiful mauve tinted flower with the treasured red stamens.  Just snip the three stamens and dry them carefully.  I dry them in a paper bag placed on top of the hot water cylinder for a few days. mark the position of the corms in your garden with a decorative label so you don’t forget where they are when the leaves die down. Each corm multiplies so you will be rewarded with “daughter” corms each year. Wonderful!

Saffron flower with red stamens
Saffron flower with red stamens