At a botanical garden, there are ever-so-many varieties of plants to see-a lot of them unfamiliar to the visitor. There is usually some form of identification provided for each. This is a pleasant and rapid way to be come acquainted with plant species we otherwise would not have opportunity to see. Why not apply this scheme at our homes, growing interesting and perhaps new plants for the display and entertainment of guests?
Why Mints and Other Herbs?
Mints, spices, and other herbs are often relatively small, so a huge host of different ones can be grown in a relatively small space. In addition, they often possess intense, pleasant aromas. They sport a large assortment of leaf-styles, textures, and colors. Each may be identified with one of those naming tags that rise above a spike, which is thrust near the plant into the ground. Perhaps to get them thinking, rather than using the common name of each, taking away the incentive of your visitor, they could be identified only by their Latin nom de plume. Don’t fail to include other plants such as trees in your labeling endeavor.
Seated at a nearby table with parasol where you and your guest are enjoying a bit of cake and tea or coffee, you could suggest a tour of your herbal plantings. Approach one of the more familiar plants and, reading the Latin name, ask if your partner recognizes the plant. It they don’t know it, or even if they do, reach down and pick a leaf, crush it, sniff it, then obtain another leaf and give it to your guest, asking if they’d care to smell it. Presumably they will be willing. If the individual is particularly talented at identification, be sure to have a few more difficult species with which to “put that one to the test.”
Range of Aromas
Include a wide range of aromas such as spearmint, fennel, lavender, sage, thyme, peppermint, basil, and oregano. Larger shrubs can be included and even trees. For instance, jasmine, gardenia, and the sassafras tree. Of course the plants grown depend upon geography and climate. One that does well in some southern states is tuberose, a fragrant member of the agave family.
For Another Time
For another time-for another visit-you could set up on your property also, provided you have sufficient acreage, a “nature trail.” Such a trail can include and demonstrate many aspects of the botanical world. Flowering weeds can and should be included, including the milkweed, Queen Anne’s lace, yarrow, and the ironweed. In addition, climbing vines such as the Dutchman’s pipe add variety, as do lichens-covered rock, mosses, grasses, and woody shrubs. How about the American hazelnut, for instance, or the chinquapin?
Such a trail will naturally draw fascinating insects and small animals. To see how to build one, consider the article Make Your Own Nature Trail by the author.
References and Resources:
A World of Aromatherapy – Planting an Aromatic Summer Garden
Sedona Aromatherapie – An Aromatherapy Garden