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Digital Subscriptions > Hobby Farms > Jan/Feb 2019 > HERBAL BASICS


Start planning your herb garden for your culinary and medical needs.

During nearly a quarter-century of work, Gayle Engels has gotten her hands dirty in many herb gardens. The director of development of gardens at the American Botanical Council has worked on children’s herb gardens, gardens for herbs that benefit body systems, healing herb gardens and raisedbed herb gardens accessible to people in wheelchairs, among others. Engels’ current focus is an herb spiral in a 15-by-15-foot space in a Beaverton, Oregon, community garden.

“Really, it’s more of a question-mark shape,” she says. “It starts with culinary herbs and then moves to medicinal herbs, with an apothecary rose (Rosa gallica) in the center.” Engels is pretty proud of that find; the old-time variety used in medicinal preparations such glycerates can be difficult to find. “Around the rose are six species of lavender; I make my own medicine, so I like to see what species do best.”

If you aspire to a creative, well-planned design like this but worry that you won’t get it right, don’t fear. Engels ensures that with a little forethought and planning, you can create an herb garden you love, and one that will provide a variety of medicine and spices to your household for years to come.

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