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Woodland garden with herbs?

Posted by lavender_lass WA zone 4 (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 24, 09 at 15:04

After reading the other thread asking about herbs for the east side, I'm wondering, what herbs will grow well in a woodland garden? I have half of the garden that is in shade (east side against the house) with a grass path along it and on the other side a garden that is in full sun most of the day. I'm thinking of starting my herbs in this area (with some flowers) and waiting to do a bigger herb garden. After much help and advice from everyone, I'm thinking a big formal herb garden is a bit beyond my expertise...at least for now. I also like cottage garden styles and would like to incorporate herbs in the garden mentioned earlier and maybe the front garden, mostly roses, peonies and lavender at the moment (south side of the house). Any suggestions? Thank you everyone for your help and suggestions so far!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

Herbs are many many thousands. Some are winter hardy, some not. To group all 'herbs' into a scheme of planting in a wooded area requires a LOT of research, as well as what you wish to plant and expect to prosper. Because your in Z4 its very difficult to know what will grow well, and with nearby trees, and some being possibly pines, you further reduce the amount of a selection. There is not one single person here that can answer your 'loaded' question and give you a simple answer, as there just isnt any. Suggest that you either go to your local library to look up the 'herbs', and soon you will realize that about half of all vegetation can be considered an 'herb' in the right context. Or buy some good books on growing herbs. You can also visit your local book store to get an idea about how complex the question has become.

Good luck!


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

I think that we can assume that our poster means culinary herbs, which is how that term is used in the general sense, in the US.

lavendar lass, most herbs require plenty of sunlight in order to do their best so be sure to plan for that. So many lend themselves beautifully to incorporation into the ornamental landscape, as well! Since they come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, foliage colors and textures, they are truly adaptable. It will simply be up to you to pick the plants that will match up to your soil, site, size limitations, etc.

Remember, too, that many of our favorite herbs are annuals or can be treated as such. You'll need to decide if you want annual or perennial herbs, or both.

By the way, where in WA claims a zone of 4? That's quite surprising to me.



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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

For a woodland herb garden I would plant native medicinal herb plants. Many are beautiful and if you get plants that would have your area in their native range, the plants should do spectacularly for you. Stay away from plants that are expensive and/or difficult to grow, ladyslippers are a prime example. You'll have to check the zones but you could try some the following: jack-in-the-pulpit, trillium, bloodroot, black cohosh, blue cohosh, red or white baneberry, solomon's seal, goldenseal, ginseng, mayapple, partridgeberry, meadow rue, american spikenerd, wild ginger, wild geranium, and more!

Do some research and see what you might like to grow!

FataMorgana


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

ksrogers-I apologize, I should have said shade garden, not woodland garden. I've been thinking of putting "woodland garden plants" like bleeding heart and colombine, woodland hyacinth, etc. in the space and would like to add some herbs. I already have sweet woodruff there and it does very well. The only pine trees are across the creek on the back hill :)

rhizo-I live in Eastern Washington, near the Idaho border. We have very cold winters in our area, which is a farm about twenty-five miles southeast of Spokane, WA. Lately, we've had a lot of snow (last year broke the all-time record) and we often get temperatures in the -20 F.to -27 F. I am looking for mainly culinary herbs and herbs for potpourri and tea. I have thought angelica might be a nice addition and I love mints, but need to know how to keep them contained. I have clay soil, but with lots of well-aged horse manure (we have six horses) the clay has worked out very well so far.

FataMorgana-again, I apologize, I should have said shade garden and sun garden. I'm really looking for bee balm, mints, chamomile, violets, sweet woodruff, lemon balm and some culinary herbs for now. I have no idea what some of these herbs are, but I'd love to learn more. Mayapple, is that like wild chamomile? I have about three different "weeds" out in the pasture that all look like chamomile to me, but at different heights. As always, I appreciate your input and hope to someday gain a small amount of the knowledge you have about herbs.

Thank you all for your input!


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

Mayapple couldn't be farther away from chamomile. What you are thinking of is pineapple weed Matricaria discoidea. It's funny you say it's in the pasture because I've never seen an old farm (my place included) that didn't have pineapple weed growing some place. It is my understanding that pineapple weed can be used liked chamomile.

Woodland is a different type of garden. Lemon balm, mints, and violets will do well in your sun and shade garden. Bee balm will do ok there too. Lovage will tolerate it as well. Marshmallow will fare ok there - the roots originally used to make the candy of the same name as well as medicinal use. Marshmallows look like petite hollyhocks and add some beauty in the back of the bed. Oregano will do ok. Stay away from some like sage, lavender, basil, etc. This garden won't have enough sun for them.

FataMorgana


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

FataMorgana-Thank you and if you don't mind, I have a question about lavender. I got several hidcote lavender plants from Lowe's on sale. They were really rootbound when I planted them. Althought lavender is said to be drought tolerant, I water them every two to three days, because they are in front of my roses, on the southeast side of the house. Maybe it's because they're hidcote and not the other lavender, but they're doing great! They're still blooming and I've never trimmed them back or done anything to them. I got them because they're supposed to do well in zone 4. Is hidcote not a true lavender? Although it looks great and the bees love it, can I use it like other lavender?


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

You still need to decide on what you like best (for its uses) to grow and survive in your Z4. Here, I have dill sprouting again, from seeds that fell from this summers dill seed heads. My mature dill is sometimes taller than 5 feet! The new seedling plants will only reach a few inches as we will be getting frosts soon. Last night it was just 40 degrees here. They will soon die and not return. All the dill I have, has been from overwintered seeds that didn't sprout yet. Those that did, will soon die. The last time I actually planted dill was about 4 years ago, when seeds of both fernleaf and mammoth dill were planted. This year it showed up everywhere, and the seeds scattered to areas where there were no dill plants previously.

The most important thing is to decide on what herbs you like as to taste and/or other uses. Many people simply plant herbs or seeds in hopes that they will see 'stuff' growing, and never realizing that if they plant something they like, its nice to have, but to just plant something for looks as being pretty, herbs may not be a good choice alone. Here, bees are going crazy over my flowering garlic chives right now. These start to flower in August and have small white clusters at the tops of stalks. The chive parts are thick blades. Last year, I plucked off several of the black seeds and planted small groups nearby the main clumps of garlic chives. This year, the new seedlings grew spindly, but its normal for their first year. Next to them I have wild onions, which die out in summer and form small seed (tiny bulb) clusters at the tops of 1 foot tall stalks. The clusters of tiny onion bulbs are sprinkled in the nearby soil. They start to grow green shoots just about now and these last all through winter and by then, I can cut off many greens and use them as chives, as they look and taste the same as regular chives. The wild onion greens last through about June and then die out until late September. The tiny bulbs they have, only get to a pea size, as they are wild and would never mature to anything larger that that. Both would be great for a shady herb use. The garklc chives can be harvested from about July through September, and give a pleasant mild taste. One more of the onions are walking or multipliers. These produce more bulbs in the soil as well as clusters at the ends of tubular stalks. Planting these, will produce at least 5 times the amount next year, and if left unchecked will grow an acre or more in just a few years.


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

Hidcote is a true lavender. It's an English lavender (Lavendula angustifolium 'Hidcote'). It is very hardy and we grow a few hundred of that type here in zone 5. This type of lavender grew terrifically for me when I lived in England as well. Hidcote was named for Hidcote Manor, a famous garden in England. I find English lavender can take much more water than other types. Drought resistant plants usually need a bit more water when they are first planted. They become drought resistant once established. (I'm speaking generalities here.)

Fatamorgana has given you a nice list of plants for a woodland. Here are some of the plants in my woodland bed, which faces east: sweet woodruff, monkshood, lily-of-the-valley, bleeding heart (white and pink), Dutchman's breeches, columbine, violets, astilbe, turtle head, Solomon's seal, goldenseal, petasites, lungwort, liverwort, blue cohosh, stoneroot, trillum, bloodroot, trout lily, mayapple, black cohosh, red baneberry, wintergreen, twin leaf, jack-in-the-pulpit, ajuga, wild ginger, and a few others I'm probably forgetting. I am not advocating medicinal uses for all these plants (though they might have been used as such at one point in history). Enjoy growing plants and developing your garden. It is a true joy in life.


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

Herbalbetty- Thank you for the explanation about Hidcote lavender. I really like it and hope to put in more next year. It's easy to grow and keeps the deer away from my roses! I like that something practical and pretty can also be used for sachets, etc. I don't plan to use the herbs for medicine, mostly sachets, culinary and maybe some lemon balm or mint tea :)


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

lavender lass, you'll have to try cooking with lavender. Biscuits, scones, and cookies are a truly special event with a bit of lavender cooked inside.


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

Really? That sounds great rhizo! Do you have any favorite recipes or books you would recommend?


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RE: Woodland garden with herbs?

A couple more which will tolerate less than brilliant sunshine are lovage and parsley. We have a wild garlic, Allium ursinum which grows in deciduous woodland. Like other ephemerals it leafs out and flowers before the canopy closes. I believe there is a US native Allium with similar characteristics - 'ramps'?? And what about foxglove - but please don't try to use it! And is rhubarb getting too big to be included under 'herbs'. That is cold hardy and happy in a little shade.


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