Master Gardener, Sally McNamara, works with the Herb Garden located in Dakota Village at the Dakota County Fairgrounds in Farmington and is happy to share her thoughts on this project.
Many plants have been and are now used for culinary and medicinal purposes. “Herb” is the term we use for plants in this category which is a very large group and very different depending on climate and culture. The intent of this particular herb garden is to feature herbs that would have been grown and used around 1900 with a focus on herbs which are easily touched, smelled and tasted. We want the many people who tour Dakota Village to be able to directly connect with these herbs. Signage has been important to this garden as it is mostly visited when no Master Gardeners are present.
There is a very deliberate stepping stone path through the garden for the express purpose of increasing the visitor’s contact with the herbs, especially to touch and smell. The thyme was planted to create a soft border on the path which it has done with excessive enthusiasm.
The garden is a combination of perennial and annual herbs. When the garden was established the perennials chamomile, chives, comfrey, oregano, mint, echinacea, monarda and thyme were transplanted from various gardens. The horehound, sage, salad burnet, anise hyssop and winter savory were purchased plants and they overwinter in the garden while bay and rosemary are overwintered in a home since Minnesota winters are too hard on them. Dill, borage and some parsleys have been seeded and tend to reseed while basil, calendula, parsleys, dill, marigolds and nasturtium are planted annually. In 1900 the garden might not have been mulched, but mulching helps minimize weeds and retain moisture making the gardens tidier and easier to maintain throughout the season.
Visit the UMN Extension site for more information on Growing Herbs in the Home Garden.