Welcome to the Medicinal Garden, a living record of 96 herbs and trees valued by generations for their healing properties. Twenty eight are native plants. While WRHS does not recommend treatment of health problems, it follows the guidelines of The Herb Society of America by providing historic and horticultural information about the medicinal herbs growing in the Medicinal section of the Herb Garden.
Visitors see herbs used across the centuries and across the continents from Biblical through Egyptian and Roman times into the Dark Ages. Fortunately monks preserved the herbal lore then as this garden does today. Note the birthwort, boneset, and feverfew, much valued by early settlers. Such traditional plant-based healing laid the foundation for the development of modern medicines. Foxglove, milk thistle, and Madagascar periwinkle, all found here, are vital today for treatment of cancer and heart and liver ailments.
In the north quadrants, small millstones lead to a sundial (dated 1795) with the inscription “I Tell the Hours Amydst the Flowers”. Rest in the shade of the goat willow tree which was identified by a visiting Vermont willow expert as the best specimen in the country. Here are found traditional medicinal herbs such as black snakeroot, comfrey, and angelica. In the south quadrants, observe the millstones set in a lush carpet of turf chamomile bordered by valerian, Culver’s root, and lungwort.
Most of these plants are perennials. Pesticides are not used since monarda and calendula are harvested for making tea blends. Many of the plants appeal to a variety of pollinators. Bees love the mountain garlic and camphor basil while black swallowtail butterflies prefer the fennel. From the witch hazel and winter aconite blooming in February to the purple coneflowers blooming in the fall, there is always something of interest to see throughout the growing season. Come and enjoy the Medicinal Garden!
Click below to enjoy images of the Medicinal Garden.
Photos by Mary K. Evans and Kathy Petersen