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Saturday, March 28, 2009

The National Herb Garden - Learn the Advantages of Growing Herbs By Julia Stewart

Next time you visit Washington D.C., you definitely need to visit the National Herb Garden at the United States National Arboretum. Given as a gift from the Herb Society of America in 1980, this garden is a delight for the senses. Being able to see, smell, and touch herbs from around the world is truly a pleasure. The gardens are divided into ten theme gardens. A theme garden is just what it implies. Each garden has a theme and the plants in that garden reflect that theme. For instance, in the "medicinal garden" you will find feverfew for headaches, echinacea for colds, and mint for upset stomachs. Other theme gardens you will find there include the Dye Garden, Culinary Garden, Fragrance Garden, Industrial Garden, and the Beverage Garden. If you love herbs and will find this herb garden a little piece of heaven on earth.
While there, you will learn what others have known for centuries. The great thing about herbs is that they are not just used in the kitchen, but many parts of the plant can be used in many ways. For instance, flax is a well known herb in which the fibrous material in the stem is used to make fabric; and the essential oils in mint are used in many products as an aid to digestion and as an antiseptic. During your garden tour, you will also learn that herbs are not just annual or perennial plants. Trees such, as the Cinnamon tree, and bushes, such as the Vitex bush, are also herbs and are just as important and are just as widely used in many industries. We literally can not live without our herbs. That is what makes them so intriguing!
Learning more about herbs is one of the advantages of your visit. Learning how different varieties of herbs grow, what conditions they like best, as well as getting ideas which you can take home and implement in your own herb garden is another advantage. If you bring children along with you, they will learn more about history in one hour than they would in months of sitting in the classroom. The official web site for the National Arboretum suggest giving yourself at least one hour for your visit. Be sure to visit their web site for more information about the arboretum including days and hours of operation, wheelchair accessibility, and even a virtual online tour for kids.
In conclusion let me make one suggestion. Although the garden is open all year, I would suggest visiting in late spring, early summer, or even fall. This way, you can avoid the hot, humid summer heat but you will still find plenty of herbs growing to make it a worthwhile outing. Next time you are in Washington D.C., be sure and visit our National Herb Garden where you will be inspired and learn the many advantages of growing herbs in your own garden. You will not be disappointed.
Julia is a Master Gardener, floral designer, and nature crafter. She loves to write about her passion on gardening and crafting at her popular website Seeds of Change -
Seeds of Change is the nation’s oldest 100% certified organic seed company. We offer a unique selection of high quality organic seeds including rare traditional heirloom and hybrid varieties of vegetables herbs flowers and cover crops as well as seedlings

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