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What I learned at Longwood

I’m incredibly lucky to live only 15 minutes from Longwood Gardens, arguably one of the best public gardens in the country (and some say even in the world). We had a membership last year but didn’t go as often as we should have, as the kids had gotten tired of it once they had explored each and every corner more than once, so we let the membership lapse. We still had guest passes though, and yesterday we used them.

Most people applaud Longwood for their conservatory and formal gardens, but I found myself drawn to something very different when I visited.


Yep, this is their herb patch. I found this far more interesting and visually beautiful than their neon-bright annual beds or topiary.


In my previous post, I mentioned that I want to focus more on foliage in my own garden beds, and this is the solution. The herbs look so full and interesting, smelled amazing, and were hosts to a ton of happy insects.


I love the contrast of colors, shapes, and textures here, and the humble daisies, purple coneflowers and black-eyed susans in my own flower bed will look right at home among herbs like these.


We especially liked their varieties of sage, and I’ll be adding more to my garden very soon. The sage that I have in my own herb bed is seriously happy (and crowding out the oregano), and so I may divide it up and plant it around my flower beds this weekend.


I also liked this combination of feverfew and lamb’s ears, both low-growing plants that would look excellent as edging in my flower beds.

Other plants I was interested in adding to my garden:
- Wide-leaf sea lavender (beautiful frizzy plant with pale silver-purple colors)
- Yarrow (I have some, but would like to add more- the yarrow we saw had great height!)
- Cowslip
- Chinese anenomie (the flowers looked like old-fashioned roses!)
- Angelonia (interesting purple flowers, similar to phlox)
- Oxalis (for it’s lovely purple foliage)
- Coleus (Jeff thought the pink, white, and green leaves were too much but I think it would be nice among some more toned-down plants)
- Oregano (beautiful ground cover, this variety was very small)
- Horseradish (huge big leaves, really interesting looking- and I LOVE to eat horseradish too!)

As you can see, my list is pretty humble. Who would have thought I’d go to Longwood and only end up wanting common garden sage?