The aromatic and medicinal plants are hardy and resistant species, often survive with both hot climates or cold climates, hardly they are attacked by pests or fungal diseases that can affect their development.
In addition to the undisputed culinary and medicinal properties, these plants are sometimes very decorative, beautiful to behold, with colorful and fragrant blooms. But we must choose the area of the garden that best suits the needs of each plant, and we must also prepare the ground carefully, in which we intend to plant them. The carefully chosen planting provides year-round colour and texture and even, fragrance and some protection on a windy day.
-The right place
In choosing the corner of the garden dedicated to the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants, we should pay particular attention to locate the place less exposed to pollution sources (neighboring streets, busy traffic, etc...). Among the variables that are very important to calculate for the choice of place, there are:
1) Exposure to the sun: some plants are lovers of light and for a thriving development, they need to grow up in areas exposed to sunlight for several hours a day, but other plants vegetate well only if they grow in shade or full dim.
2) Exposure to wind: almost all plants, even those most resistant, must be protected from the wind with great care. Hence we must identify the most sheltered position, which will ensure to the plants some protection from the too excessive cold.
3) Type of soil: is almost always necessary to choose well-drained soils, so as to avoid the dreaded standing water, causing endless problems for the plants and their care. In fact, the excessive moisture, in addition to promoting the development of fungal diseases, affects negatively the quality of aromatic and medicinal plants.
Should therefore, normally, avoided clay soils, where there is an excessive retention of water with the consequences described above, one must also take care to avoid soil too rich, in fact, the development of lush vegetation will diminish the amount of active and aromatic compounds present in the plant.
In general, therefore, the best choice for this type of garden is a lightweight and slightly alkaline soil, facing south in areas with colder climates, and well protected from drafts.
scheme for the provision of the plants
Plants and balsamic time
The harvesting of the aromatic and medicinal plants for conservation should always be made at the balsamic time of each species. The balsamic time is the time when the presence, in the plant, of essential oils and aromatic principles is at its peak. Must be remembered that these characteristics also depend on the age of the plant, on the character of the seasons and on the hour of harvesting.
This is a general outline for the collection of different aromatic plants:
- March: caper, gentian
- April: calendula, dandelion
- May: lovage, sorrel, chamomile, parsley
- June: borage, tarragon, mallow, yarrow, rosemary, rue, sage, thyme
- July: bay leaf, wormwood, basil, cumin, mugwort, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, mint, oregano, mustard
- August: garlic, onion, coriander, fennel, iris, hops, marjoram, red pepper, savory, parsley, celery
-September: dill, angelica, calendula, caper, dandelion, horseradish
-October: gentian, juniper, mauve, lovage
Some examples of garden design with these plants
-Scented garden: how to create a corner featuring delicious fragrance of flowers, so that in summer it spreads all around. The species used are summer flowering, bloom simultaneously and are predominantly white. The species are all bulbous plants, with the exception of Nepeta, an herbaceous perennial, blue-purple, possesses in addition to an exquisite perfume of flowers, a lingering fragrance of its leaves. The species are all to be grown in the ground and not in pots.
1) Hymenocallis X festalis
2) Nepeta X fassen
3) Amaryllis belladonna
4) Acidanthera bicolor
5) Galtonia candicans
6) Cardiocrinum giganteum
-An hedge for the bees: The planting of a hedge of trees for bees requires the guarantee of a continuous production of nectar and pollen from February to September. It requires a large production of pollen at the beginning of the season and a great production of nectar from April to July.
2) False acacia
3) Cherry tree
5) Wild plum tree
6) Viburnum opalus
7) Wild Rose
9) Cornus sanguinea
11) Spirea Filipendula
14) Lotus corniculatus
A flowerbed of aromatic plants
A flowerbed of aromatic plants 2
To learn more...
Handbook of herbs and spices, Volume 3
The Art of Cooking with Herbs and Spices A Handbook of Flavors and Savors
The Penguin Book Of Herbs And Spices (Penguin Handbooks)