Monday, June 3, 2013

Our Colonial Bit of Earth

Our Brownie troop planted a colonial-inspired herb garden at the historic house recently.  And they had such fun getting dirty, though they were oppressed by the heat. So now the house has a raised bed with several herbs in it:

  • Costmary (chrysanthemum balsamita tanacetoides)  Gray-green serrated leaves used as bookmarks to repel bugs, hence nickname “Bible Leaf.”  Infusion also used to treat coughs.
  • Lavender (Lavandula vera) Oil and dried flowers used for perfumes, sachets, and even baked goods.  Also used for pain and to repel mosquitoes.
  • Marjoram, Sweet (Marjorana hortensis) Leaf used for flavoring many foods, in perfumes and sachets, and as an infusion for headaches.
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Needle-like leaves used for flavoring teas and food.  Also used for digestive ailments and headaches, as well as to fight germs.
  • Sage, Garden (Salvia officinalis) Gray-green leaves used for flavoring poultry stuffing, pork, or in making a medicinal tea to aid digestion.  Native Americans mixed it with bear grease to treat sore throats.
  • Savory, Winter (Satureia Montana) Smooth and shiny leaves used for culinary purposes, or to relieve bee stings.
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris or serpyllum) Leaves used to flavor foods and as a tea.  Oil of thyme is still the basis of a patent cough medicine.
Sis planted the thyme herself.  

My goal is to search out some more obscure herbs--like my favorite, costmary or "Bible Leaf," which we received as a gift from another local historic house.  My wish list includes feverfew, angelica, yarrow, tansy, comfrey, lovage, lemon balm, valerian, chamomile, and the like.  But that will be next year.

We hope to have the girls sign up to take a week to water/weed the garden and then we'll return in the fall to help with more gardening.  We're not the most talented gardeners--our house volunteer noted that the girls didn't know to weed out the dandelions!--but they are enthusiastic.  

It's great combining my two volunteer activities--the girls got to do a major community service project and the house now has an herb garden to share with visitors (which will include all the girls on their third-grade field trips next year!)  I'm not a great gardener,, as you know, but I'm very enthusiastic about an historical garden.  

Now if I could just translate that to our yard!

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Can't wait to see what else the girls do in the years to come.