The Herb Garden

Monday, June 22, 2015 - by Timothy Fraser

The third of our garden rooms – the Herb Garden – contains around one hundred different herbs (and counting). The garden contains many historic herbs, with old medieval folklore attached. A good number of these old herbs are non-culinary; some possessing medicinal qualities and some with a history associated with dyes before and after the Industrial Revolution – somewhat befitting our location here in West Yorkshire, which has a rich history in textiles.

The Herb Garden early morning - a classroom of naughty children

In this garden room, unlike the other two, no colour scheme is dictated; and it is of no concern if tints of blooms and foliage clash. Indeed, the Herb Garden is akin to a classroom full of naughty children, each trying to gain the upper hand, and so regular discipline has to be practiced to keep some in check and to encourage others. A weekly ‘lesson’ of creative weeding is undertaken. Those herbs that are threatening to swallow up others have to be checked, but in such a way that doesn’t result in a noticeable harvest. This balance is also achieved by reversing text book conditions for certain herbs. Mint, for example, thriving in moist semi-shade is sometimes grown in dry, full sun thus slowing down its rate of growth.

Stone pathways and steps meander up and down throughout the Herb Garden. Different varieties of thyme, creeping Corsican mint and camomile have been planted in between the paving stones, releasing their fragrances when crushed by foot.

The Herb Garden in June - meandering paths between enthusiastic herbs

rosa gallica officinalis - the apothecaries rose

rosa gallica officinalis, the apothecaries rose

This week, the Herb Garden has suddenly come alive and we are keeping a close eye on its ‘newcomers’ – our Rosa gallica officinalis ‘the apothecary’s Rose’ – the newest ancient rose in particular.                                               

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