A Healing Garden

by Leita Lord, Horticulturist

All plants have a purpose, and many include beneficial traits for human health. In the new Healing Garden at Castle Hill Inn we are highlighting a few of my favorite plant allies. From the vitamin C rich Rose hips, to the wound-healing “warrior’s herb”, we are cultivating beautiful medicinal flowers and herbs to showcase, enjoy, and learn from. Read ahead to meet a few of our lovelies.

Chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla, grows in feathery mounds with daisy-like flowers that dance in the wind. These cheerful little blooms have long been harvested for their calming properties. Chamomile tea is one of the most popular herbal teas available.

Echinacea, Echinacea purpurea, is widely known for its ability to boost the immune system and protect against common viral infections like the seasonal cold and flu. These “cone flowers”, as they are also called, are native to North America and have been used by indigenous peoples for centuries. All parts of the plant contain active healing compounds, and these days you can find echinacea tinctures and teas at most health food stores.

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is another North American native. This plant has been used for a myriad of healing properties and is known as the “warrior’s herb” for its ability to heal wounds and ward off infection. It comes in an array of colors and is a popular plant for attracting butterflies and bees.

The rose is a classic flower close to my heart. Within the Healing Garden we grow a few varieties of fragrant floribunda roses, and just outside the garden gate is a stand of Rosa rugosa, the wild beach rose. The beach rose produces extra large rose hips that are full of vitamin C and antioxidants. Inside the garden, the petals of our horticultural roses can be used in tea to aid hydration, boost the immune system and provide vitamin E, C and A.

Thyme, oregano and sage are three of the Mediterranean herbs we grow in the Healing Garden. These common household spices are rich in antioxidants and immune-boosting compounds. All three of these herbs taste delicious in foods and can be used in tinctures, salves, teas and oils.

There are many other medicinal plants growing in the garden and throughout the landscape here at Castle Hill Inn. It is a pleasure to get to work with them and learn from them. Long before the advent of pharmacies, plants were our number one resource for healing.