A Zen Garden for the Herbs

I am inspired by the art of Zen gardens, they are built for the heart and are inspiration to the soul. In bringing up a Zen herb garden, the goal is to bring together the elements of serenity.

Elements of Zen Garden
The realm of calmness in a Japanese garden is in synchronization with nature. There is so much happening in the Nature if only you could listen, if only you could connect; to understand the tranquility is indeed an art. And that art of gardening we should learn to do – to connect with the environment in peace and harmony.

I do believe that certain people can communicate with the plants and trees. Try speaking to your herbs, they do respond. You can even feel the warmth of the plants when you enter your herb garden. The herbs can sense your vibes, so do the other shrubs and trees.

Zen shows how gardening can balance the need of humans and nature’s dictum; it is the epitome of human desires and Nature’s bounty. It is about blending the creative genius of the universe to human’s trivial needs.

To bring the mystic reverence to the science of gardening is not complex, for certain gardeners who have an intensive desire to connect, the truth reveals sooner in the fundamentals of soil, climate, birds, water and plants along with the extremely small insects and organism that complete the eco-system.

Creating a Zen Herb Garden
To create a Zen herb garden, the gardener needs to be sensitive and extremely aware of the surroundings, the earth and the plants. One needs to understand where the tranquility of terrain will match the streaming cascade and where an herb garden will bloom.

One needs to understand the pulse of the topography, training one’s mind with observation and focus one can achieve the desired landscaping. A garden is not an artificial creation, neither is it a deception. Let the natural garden grow, the secret is in respecting the law of nature and the eco-system. You may not have to summon the garden fairies and many other benefactors; they will automatically come to a true Zen garden.

A meditation place in the Zen herb garden will help generate the soothing vibrations. Such will be the vibes that anyone coming to the garden however, jittery and unsettled he or she might be, he or she will feel a calmness and peace beyond words can describe.

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Shade Tolerant Herb Garden

Herbs that prefer shade can be a boon to a garden which does not have sunlight in areas that are populated by heavy bushes and trees. Partial shade and restricted sun rays can be adequate for some herbs that do not bother the scarce sun thus giving you the option of growing a shade tolerant herb garden.

Shade-Garden-Wheel

Shade-Garden-Wheel

A perfect herb garden should ideally receive at least 3 to 6 hours sun light during the day. This includes the soft morning sun shine and not so harsh evening sun rays. It is also likely that not all parts of herb garden receive same amount of sun. Parts of the garden that remains under shade due to trees and shrubs need not remain barren, you can easily grow herbs that are tolerant to shade.

A garden that is not so perfect considering the amount of sunshine is alright for herbs like parsley chives and dill which will grow in partial shade. Other herbs like wild ginger, chervil, carom and angelica are more tolerant and can grow in full shaded regions.

Shaded Regions
Shade in the herb harden could happen to various reasons. Prominent causes could be tall buildings, the angle of sun rays that fall on the garden and tall trees. Tall structures will restrict direct sunlight completely in some areas of the lawn whereas trees can still permit pockets of sunlight through the gaps.

Advantages of Planting Herbs that Tolerate Shade
These herbs which grow in shade and partial sunlight do not get scorched in heavy sun rays. They therefore require less maintenance and water. Shade helps to keep the soil moist and prevents the earth from cracking.

Shade Types
Before considering herbs for a shade garden, it is prudent to understand what we mean by partial shade. If there is too much of shade during the length of the day and most of the area is dark, you might only be able to have wild or no growth. Hence at this point it is better to get a good knowledge of shade types.

Partial Shade – This part of the herb garden receives at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight. It could be from the morning sunrays, afternoon sun or evening sunshine. At least four hours of this sunlight and warmth should be from the morning sun when the heat is less intense. In fact, partial shaded area will allow many herbs to grow adequately.

Complete Shade – This area never receives direct sunshine hence you must plan the herbs carefully for the completely shaded region of herb garden.

Filtered Shade – This area receives pockets of sunshine during day and is more or less adequate to herbs that can bear less sun in their life cycle.

Shade-Ideas-Inspiration-Shady-Gardens

Shade-Ideas-Inspiration-Shady-Gardens

Complete-Shade-Gardener-George-Schenk

Complete-Shade-Gardener-George-Schenk

Making-Most-Shade-Fabulous-Lightens

Making-Most-Shade-Fabulous-Lightens

The-Natural-Shade-Garden

The-Natural-Shade-Garden

If you are concerned with the growth of herbs in shaded area you can use mirrors for reflecting sunlight. This surely works for the area that is dark and cannot receive any direct sun rays from any angle.

The utmost factor needed in designing shade herb garden is the soil quality. Compensate the soil with organic compost and layers of home grown mulch. Don’t keep restricted to just herbs. Try to mix and match herbs like Angelica, Comfrey, and Mint with shade loving iris blooms. You can also plant wild ginger, comfrey and bishops weed with other shade loving plants like ferns and wild flowers from woods.

A true treat for a shaded herb garden is the mix and match you can provide with the companion plants. Blend in evergreen herbs with local wild blooms and you will have herbs throughout the season whether the sun is smiling in your garden or not.

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Simple Feng Shui Tips for Herb Garden

The power of Feng shui for an herb garden cannot be underestimated. Since ancient times, herbs were vital for the healing and used effectively as medicines. No matter the size and shape of your herb garden, you can implement the elements of this ancient methodology to bring serenity and spirituality in your garden. Here are some simple feng shui tips for a herb garden.

Laurel-Wreath-with-Berries

Laurel-Wreath-with-Berries

Trees, shrubs and herbs are the source of oxygen, vitality and essence of life. They reduce the pollution and release fresh air which is crucial to life. Our forefathers used garden as a place to contemplate, meditate and relax. You can make the herb garden a heaven of peace and balance harnessing the therapeutic effects of feng shui.

Natures-Garden-Fountain-Ivory-Green

Natures-Garden-Fountain-Ivory-Green

Feng Shui Tips –

The principles of Feng shui have been widely used by many to enhance health and wealth. Though it is widely accepted in home and office, it hasn’t been popular for the gardens. Unfortunately when it comes to the lawn, backyard and patio garden, the elements of feng shui are neglected. Gardens are an important part of homes and therefore should be adopted in successful gardening more than ever.

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White-Lotus-Flower-Fountain-Outdoor

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Porcelain-Garden-Stool-Flower-Butterfly

 

Magical-Feng-Shui-Wind-Chimes

Magical-Feng-Shui-Wind-Chimes

Feng Shui pronounced fung schway is an ancient tradition and science practiced in China. It is a simple concept of applying the energies of the natural elements to objects. Several thousand years ago it originated from India and was customized by Chinese. You can find the presence in Zen gardens of Japan as well.

Let us try to understand the 5 key elements of Feng Shui and how it can influence our herb garden.

Wood – Wood symbolizes a new beginning and greenery. It also carries the message of peace and harmony. Using wood elements such as arbors, benches and garden planters will accentuate this feature of Feng shui. According to the principles of Fengshui, you can plant the lucky bamboo plant or use bamboo chimes to create the effect.

Fire – Fire element is represented by the fiery red colours of flowers and herbs. Fire element encourages happiness. You can plant herbs with red flowers and crimson colored foliage. Purple basil herb is a good candidate. Use outdoor fire-pits and lanterns to enhance the fire element.

Earth – This element symbolizes Mother Earth, anything pertaining to soil, natural elements such as clay pots, terracotta can be used to enhance the herb garden. Use stone and rock accents which are very popular in Zen gardens. The earth element represents stability and strength.

Metal – Metal element in Feng shui uses control and acceptance. It is also associated with resilience and enlightenment. Use metal sculptures and statues to enhance the effect of metal. The presence of metal chimes can be very soothing in the herb garden. Herbs with white flowers such as chives and lavender that gives purple blossoms are recommended.

Water – Water represents life on earth, without it there is no sign of vitality. Using a water feature for your herb garden is a good idea. According to the principles of Feng shui, a koi fish pond is considered auspicious. You can also use goldfish. Water feature is recommended because it also complements wild life like birds, butterflies, bees and dragonflies.

Avoid clutter, organize and plan the herb garden without using chemicals and artificial elements like plastic. Organic gardening and compost will make your herb garden free from toxic ingredients. Using Feng shui colours in your herb garden is also a way of energizing the ambiance.

You can use Bagua to orient the colorful herbs in your herb garden. Use curved pathways and natural elements in your herb garden. Evolve your herb garden to share the yin and yang by mixing and balancing the properties of natural elements. This way you are naturally aligning to the principles of feng shui.

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The Flowering Herb Garden

A flowering herb garden with seasonal blooms is a feast to eyes. The important aspect that attracts me about a garden is the way it is designed and the striking appearance of white and gold blooms. Spring brings exuberance to the garden, so why not indulge in its liveliness and colours.

Sometimes I am just not sure what attracts me most – whether it is the aroma or the rainbow colours. Fortunately an herb garden can have both the delicious aromas and the blooming flowers.

Herbs! Creative Herb Garden Themes and ProjectsHerbs! Creative Herb Garden Themes and Projects
Herbs! Creative Herb Garden Themes and Projects

Is there anyone in the world who does not find respite at the sight of a pretty blooming herb garden? It is just not the abundance of foliage that attracts the bees and butterflies but the flora that changes its colour, context and texture in a perfectly designed landscape.

A visual impact is much more than words, it can cast an everlasting impression. I remember wandering around my father’s garden in the evening enchanted by the blooms from the Night Queen that filled my room with fragrance that no scent could overpower.

Outsidepride-Borage-Seed

Borage-Seed

A garden with blooms is certainly more enjoyable and unforgettable. By adding elements and accents that explore the senses of olfactory and sight makes the herb garden a truly remarkable.

Consider the fact that many herb plants bloom at different time of the year, plan the blooms when they are their best. Also many flowers bloom at different time of the day and therefore the fragrance from these flowering herbs is released at different time and duration of day.

White Jasmine gives a light and mild fragrance and one of the varieties bloom at night. It is not a culinary herb but you can plant it in the border or near windows. There is another species of jasmine that blooms at dawn.

Lavender-Munstead-Herb-Perennial

Lavender-Munstead-Herb-Perennial

A lovely flowering herb garden does not happen in one night. Obviously the garden has to be planned and designed accordingly. You can place herbs with lush dark green foliage in middle and put the flowering herbs surrounding them in the border. First thing that comes to my mind is the lavender herb that gives purple blooms.

A flowering species of large Rosemary – “Rosemarinus officinalis” bears small flowers and releases its oil when you walk around the herb. The group of rosemary herbs is strongly loved by the admirers who walk by the side allowing its fragrance to linger on clothes and hands. Aromatic greenish, gray leaves and white, pink or blue flowers, “Rosemarinus officinalis” and its trailing form “Prostratus” is great for ground cover.

Design a pathway intertwined with creeping Thyme, Thymus serpyllum gives small blooms and discharges fresh scent as feet tread on its tiny foliage.

Lavendula angustifolia The small herb has grey colored leaves and
spikes of beautiful lavender colored flowers above the foliage. The herb loves sun and a well drained soil.

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