My Aromatherapy Garden: The First Year

Posted on: August 29th, 2016 by
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Planting Seeds for an Aromatic Garden: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto, All Rights Reserved

Planting Seeds for an Aromatic Garden: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto, All Rights Reserved

Aromatic Gardening: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto, All Rights Reserved
Aromatic Gardening: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto, All Rights Reserved

When I first decided to grow an aromatherapy garden, I thought a few plants in pots would do it. However, once I started growing aromatic plants this year, both the garden and my future plans took on a life of their own! Here’s a quick review of how the first year of creating my own aromatic garden turned out.

Aromatic Pots: Mint, Thyme, Oregano, and Basil

If you only have a small space in which to grow plants, or you simply want to add a bit of fragrance to your patio, planters and pots are the way to go. It’s relatively easy to pick up a few aromatic herbs from your local garden center and plant them either alone, or in groupings, in a patio pot or two.

I tried the following herbs in pots on the patio this year and they basically took care of themselves – with a little bit of watering now and then! With a hot and unforgiving Arizona sun in June and July, these plants enjoyed early morning sun, followed by afternoon shade to flourish:

  • Mint: Both spearmint (Mentha spicata) and peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

  • Melissa (Melissa officinalis).

Tip: Depending on your location, you will often find different cultivars of the common species in local garden centers. I also found chocolate peppermint (great with ice-cream!) and Thai basil.

Aromatic Herb Garden from Seed

This was the first year that I grew aromatic plants from seed. I did go a little crazy (or so I thought) and ordered all sorts of wonderful seeds for planting back in January when my garden was just a dream! However, I soon discovered that one can simply not have too many seeds! I will be ordering double the quantity for my annuals, and more perennials, this next year. Location and climate – both in general, and the micro-climate of your own garden – will dictate, to some extent, the success of which herbs and aromatic plants grow well. My seed garden was planted in newly-created raised beds which took in morning sun and afternoon shade. I found success with the following seeds:

  • Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)

  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

  • Borage (Borago officinalis)

  • Bee balm (Monarda spp.)

  • Sunflower (Helianthius annuus).

Tip: If shade is not naturally provided by an obliging tree or plant, use garden shade covers which allow rain to penetrate, but protect the plants from the harsh sun.

Aromatic Flowers and Shrubs

Of course, there are some aromatic flowers and shrubs that you would like in your garden simply for their aroma and beauty! The following flowers and plants caught my eye (and nose) and will hopefully bring years of pleasure in my garden:

  • Sage (Salvia spp.) – in addition to traditional sage, there are various cultivars and genus available locally to me and I have several of these starting to fill up my garden. The bees and butterflies love them, too!

  • Rose (Rosa spp.) – in search for the perfect, aromatic rose, I have invested in several rose species this year, some of which are climbers. Although I have not had many blooms from these young plants yet, I envisage future years full of fragrance!

  • Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) – although there was a lilac bush on property when I moved here, it unfortunately died due to lack of water and care. So, I planted a new, young bush (with access to water and lots of TLC) in the hope that spring will be heavy with the scent of lilac in subsequent years.

  • Clematis (Clematis spp.) – at the beginning of the season, this plant looked like it had completely died. But with recent rain, I began to see new growth, and I hope it manages to establish itself before the first winter frost.

Uses for Aromatic Plants

In addition to enjoying the beauty, and aroma, of flowers and plants in an aromatic garden, many plants can be harvested and used in the home. Uses include (depending upon plant and species):

  • Culinary herbs

  • Medicinal herbs

  • Distillation for hydrosols

  • Distillation for essential oils

  • Tinctures for perfumery

  • Infusion into oils

  • Aromatic potpourri.

As my garden grows, I will be sharing more about these uses – and how you can learn about them – through my growing Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM Program!

To view photos of my aromatic garden, visit my Etsy store and follow me on Instagram!

References:

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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