The Herb Garden

Garden History

The herb garden was established by volunteers in 1972 to showcase plants with culinary, medicinal, and household uses. The herb garden is one of the oldest gardens at the Arboretum and has undergone many changes and several renovations. The photo above was taken around 1989. 

Growing Herbs

Most herbs are generally easy to grow, preferring full sun and well-drained soil. Some herbs will grow in shadier areas including chives, dill, cilantro, parsley, mints, and tarragon. Not all herbs are perennials, some are annual and are planted each year. Tender perennials like rosemary and others, may require protection in harsh winters. Herbs do well in both gardens and containers.

Uses of Herbs

For thousands of years ancient people around the world have used herbs to treat and cure disease as well as flavor food. Many herbs that we are familiar with have both medicinal and culinary uses such as thyme, oregano, and sage. Physicians shared their knowledge while travelling across lands, often with armies. Compendiums and texts describing how to prepare and administer herbs were published throughout the world. Herbs and spices were traded across the globe, many of them making their way into our foods and gardens. Other uses for these plants include fragrance, textiles, cosmetics, and household products.