Posts Tagged ‘Herb Association of South Africa’

Kitchen Gardening for the soul

Kitchen gardens are not just places where you grow food to eat. A true kitchen garden is also about finding food for the soul. Kitchen gardens have traditionally also been healing gardens – full of culinary herbs, medicinal plants, and perfumed pleasures, as well as pretty flowers, all of which combine to create an uplifing sensory experience. The herbal spiral/labyrinth at Doonholm Nursery (which is unfortunately only open for public viewing once a year, for the HOASA Herbal Happening) is a perfect example of one such healing garden.

Herb spiral/labyrinth at Doonholm Nursery

Herb spiral/labyrinth at Doonholm Nursery

Unfortunately, this photograph cannot even begin to do the spiral justice. This masterpiece was designed by Louis van Aswegen of Healthy Living Herbs, The garden may not be open to the public, except on special occasions (such as the Herbal Association of South Africa Herbal Happening) but you can visit the Healthy Living Herbs website any time. Here you’ll find everything you ever wanted to know about herbs you can grow in your kitchen garden.

Back to the labyrinth. There are many reasons why walking a carefully designed labyrinth is such a healing experience – and why every individual who walks it will experience it differently. Some labyrinth walkers use the experience to meditate, some experience it as a form of prayer, and many simply think of it as a fun way to spend time. Walking this particular labyrinth gives you the opportunity to play with all your senses as you move through different coloured flowers and foliage, feel the different textures, try to pin down all the elusive perfumes, and steal the odd leaf here and there to taste. Birds and insects flit back and forth, and you are transported to another world.

Even if you don’t have enough space to build a labyrinth of your own, there is no reason why your own kitchen garden cannot become that special place where you not only pick food for the table, but also cultivate a little food for the soul.

(HOASA stands for the Herb Association of South Africa. For more information Visit www.haosa.co.za)

For more design ideas visit the following posts:

Trench gardening, double digging and raised beds

Raised bed designs

Raised bed designs

Those of you who have read the book Cultivating Flavour or my post Trench Gardening, Double Digging and Raised beds will know that I am a great fan of raised beds. And it seems that there are many other kitchen gardeners who agree that if you want to grow a productive, easy-to-maintain, kitchen garden, raised beds are your best option.

Entertainment area - Doonholm Herb Farm
Entertainment area - Doonholm Herb Farm

Raised beds are not only easy to work with, they also give good drainage and can be used to create attractive garden features. I spotted the attractive patio garden photographed above at the recent HAOSA Herbal Happening at Doonholm Herb Farm. The garden – designed by Louis van Aswegan of Healthy Living Herbs – combines raised beds, plants in containers, and a seating area complete with umbrella and green cushions. Here you have everything you want from a kitchen garden: raised beds in which to grow your vegetables, a place for containers of herbs and companion plants, as well as an area where you can relax and enjoy the sunshine in a beautiful, environment.

Tyre gardens - raised beds

Tyre gardens - raised beds

Don’t be discouraged if your building skills are not up to building a garden like the one above. Alongside is a photograph of raised beds build from old tyres. This particular garden made up part of the Arc-Roodeplaat Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Institute display at the HAOSA Herbal Happening. The staff mannng the stand assured me that they have had a lot of success with similar beds throughout Gauteng and the resounding areas. I must, however, confess that when we experimented with a tyre tower in which to grow potatoes in the garden at Lizard’s Leap, we didn’t get to harvest a single potato. Thinking back on this particular experiment, I think that the problem was that in our very hot climate the tyres got too hot, and so I ended up cooking the potatoes – before they’d had a chance to grow. Those of you who live in cooler climates may however be able to make use of the extra heat retained by the tyres to get the best out of succulents and other heat-loving plants. (Have a look at www.growsonyou.com/sandra/blog/1711-recyling-200-tyres.)

cultflav-page-121-raisedbeds11

Finally, I just had to show you this raised bed. Here we have a productive kitchen garden, growing alongside a boundary wall. The raised bed not only helps to soften the wall, but also lifts the plants out of the house’s shade. A stunning solution to what would otherwise be a rather bleak and unproductive area, don’t you think.

Have a look at the post Kitchen Gardening for the Soul – I’m sure you’ll be inspired.