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by ZweiBieren Orientation to the Herb Garden  


This garden is maintained by
The Western Pennsylvania Unit of
The Herb Society of America

The Elizabethan Herb Garden is located about in the middle of Mellon Park. To orient you to the Herb Garden: the west side of the garden is nearest Shady Avenue and the Garden Center, the north side of the garden is nearest fifth Avenue, the east side of the garden is nearest Beechwood Boulevard, and the south side of the garden being nearest the houses on the other side of the wall.

There are four entrances to the Herb Garden. If you walk from the ~ Garden center, down some steps, through another garden, and down either of two more sets of steps, you enter the herb garden on the west side. If you enter the herb garden from the driveway, this is the southwest corner of the garden. The entrance from paths in the park, under the mulberry tree, is in the northeast corner of the herb garden.

The Herb Garden is a rectangle divided up into several areas. In the center, down a couple of steps, is the Knot Garden, surrounded by boxwood hedges. There is a lavender bed at each corner of the Knot and two thyme beds are on each long side of the Knot Garden rectangle.

On the south side of the Knot Garden -- toward the driveway -- the large bed Is the Fragrance Garden. On the north side of the Knot Garden toward Fifth Avenue -- the large bed is the Culinary Garden. There are beds of old roses along the north and south walls of the herb garden.

The large middle bed along the east side is the Shakespeare Garden. Between the northeast corner entrance and the Shakespeare Garden, there is a bed of Tea Herbs. Between the Shakespeare Garden and the south old roses, there is a bed of dye plants. Between the southwest entrance from the driveway and the southern steps is the Medicinal Garden.

We are developing three areas in the garden. Between the northern steps and the north old roses, there are some plants which were found by Lewis and Clark. Between the north steps and the bench, there is a small bed with some of the plants users in crafts. Past the bench, by the southern steps, there is a small bed with some plants which are mentioned in English books.

The Herb Society of America, Western Pennsylvania Unit


The Culinary Garden contains a selection of plants used from ancient to modern times for the seasoning and flavoring of food. Archaeologists believe that plants have been used to season food for over 50,000 years. By using herbs in your cooking, you can made a delicacy of the most ordinary dish. The results are especially rewarding when you've grown the herbs yourself.

Perrenial herbs in this garden include a group of alliums including chives, Allium schoenoprasum; elephant garlic, A. ampeloprasum; garlic, A. cepa; and garlic chives, A. tuberosa; anise hyssop, Agestache foeniculum; lovage, Levisticum officinale; marjoram, Oregeno valvarea; mint, Mentha - several ssp; oregano, Origanim heracleoticum; sage, Salvia - several ssp~ salad burnet, Poterium sanguisorba; winter savory, Satureja hortensis; sorrel, Rumex acetosa; sweet woodruff, Galium odorantum; and thyme, Thymus vulgaris.

Annual plants include basil, Ocimum basilicum - several ssp; borage, Borego officinalis; and pot marigold, Calendula officinalis. Both varieties of parsley, curly, Petroselinium crispum and Italian, or flat leaf, P. crispum "Italian," are biennials. Some of the plants are seasonal, so you might not see them today.

In December, 1999, we planted a medlar tree, Mespilus germanica, in this bed.

We have a section induding edible flowers, including nasturtium, violets, pot marigolds, anise hyssop, and sunflowers.

Edible plants in other parts of the garden include: angelica, fennel, mints, and some of the scented geraniums.

The Herb Society of America, Western Pennsylvania Unit


Plant dyes are beautiful, natural sources of color. Plant dyes work best on natural fibers, such as cotton, wool, and silk. The best traditional dyes are mainly the herbacous perennials, whose richly colored flowers add drama to the flower border. Usually the best time to harvest a dye herb is just before it is beginning to flower. Autumn isd the best time to harvest roots to be used as dye.

The colors from plants partly depend on what mordant is used. Consult references for this information.

Plants in the garden include dyer's bugloss, Echium vulkgare (brown, pink to red); lesser celandine, Rununculus ficaria; comfrey, Symphytum Officinale; purple coneflower, Echinacea angustfolia; gypsywort or Virginia bugleweed, Lycopus europaeus (plant juice, black); false indigo, Baptisia australis; dyer's marguerite, Chrysanthemum leucanthemum; and milkweed, Aesculepias syriaca, Some of these plants are seasonal, so you might not see them today.

Dye plants in other parts of the garden include: box (leaves, auburn hair dye), chamomile (flowers, bright gold), hops (leaves, brown), lily-of-the-valley (leaves, green), lemon verbena (leaves, green), rosemary (rinse for dark hair), oregano (flowers, reddish), pot marigold (flowers gold), and sweet woodruff (rhizomes, red).

The Herb Society of America, Western Pennsylvania Unit


Made Popular by the Elizabethans, fragrance gardens were grown merely for the pleasure of the plant scents. It was discovered that flowers were rewarding in their own right, for their beauty and fragrance, not just for culinary and medicinal purposes. Bees, butteflies and birds, including hummingbirds, are also attracted to the flowers in this garden. Nineteenth century ladies enjoyed having their long skirts brush the leaves of scented geraniums, to release the scent.

Perennial plants in this garden include artemisias, several ssp; bee balm, Monanda didyma; fistulosa and 'Croftway Pink;' butterfly bush, Buddleia davidii 'Black Knight,' calamint Calarnintha sylvatica; catrnint, Nepeta mussinii; costmary, Chrysanthemum balsamita; iris; lemon balm, Melissa officinalis; lily-of-the-valley, Convallaria majalis; mint, Mentha - several ssp; pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium; peony, Paeonia officinalis; southemwood, Artemisia abrotanum; and tansy, Tanacetum vulgare.

Annuals include several scented Geraniums, Pelargonium - several ssp; heliotrope, Heliotropium Peruviana; pineapple sage, Salvia elegans; and lemon verbena, Aloysia triphylla.

A witch hazel tree, Hamamelis jntermedia "Firecharm," was planted here in May, 1999.

We have planted a row of lavender, several ssp, on the inside long edge of this garden.

Fragrance plants in other parts of the garden include basil and santolina.

The Herb Society of America, Western Pennsylvania Unit


The focal point of the garden, the Knot Garden, is an adaptation of one of many garden forms found in illustrations and literature of the fourteenth century. During that period, hedges of one or more leaf color with low growing habit were planted and clipped to make intricate designs. In the eighteenth century, the introduction of colorful flowering plants discovered abroad, however, diminished interest in this demanding garden style.

The knot garden is designed to be seen from the tower of its castle.

The knot is surrounded by a boxwood hedge, Buxus sempervirens. The knot design is formed by germander plants, Teucrium chamaedrys. In the Center of each diamond, there is a santolina plant, both green santolina, Santolina viridis; and gray santolina, Santolina chamaecyparissus. At the ends of the Knot garden, there are several AIlium senescens glaucum, hyssop, and iris plants.

The Herb Society of America, Western Pennsylvania Unit


We are researching the plants used by and discovered by Lewis and Clark during their expedition, which started from Pittsburgh in August, 1803. We are planting these in this bed, or similar varieties which may grow more easily in this area. These are native American plants. Many of the plants in the rest of the garden are of European origin. Settlers brought seeds with them for foods and medicines, to grow near their new homes.

Plants which were "new to science" were collected, pressed and dried, and sent back to President Thomas Jefferson. Today most of this Herbarium is at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

We have selected some of the Lewis & Clark plants for this bed, including Columbine, Aquillegia Canadensis; mountain wood fern, Dryopteris carthusiana; purple coneflower, Echinacea angustifolium; blanket flower, Gaillardia aristata; Jerusalem artichoke, Helianthus tuberosa; and shiny Oregon grape, Mahonia aquifolium; as well as prickly pear cactus, Opuntia fragilis, among others. Some of these plants are seasonal, so you may not see them today.


Throughout history people have turned to plants for the treatment of various ailments. Many other plants in different parts of our garden also have medicinal uses, as noted in herb reference books. Apart from the many uses of medicinal herbs, many are quite ornamental and add great interest to any part of the garden. Today, research is being done on the healing elements of many of these plants.

A hops vine, Humulus lupulus; climbs the wall in this garden. Other perennial plants here include angelica, Angelica archangelica; comfrey, Symphytum officinale; elecampane, inula helenium; violet, Viola papilionacea, and tansy, Tanacetum vulgare.

A self-seeding annual, feverfew, Chrysanthemum perthenium, grows near the steps.

For more information about medicinal herbs, please consult the many reference books in the Garden Center Library. These plants have been tested, by use, over time, but most have not been researched in the style and to the standards used by the contemporary medical community. Please also consult your doctor before prescribing herbs for yourself or anyone else.


Originating in Asia, roses can now be found from the Arctic Circle to New Zealand. With this great climatic range, roses vary from low growing plants with small flowers to lants with a spread of sixty feet with blooms six inches in diameter.

The roses found in the Herb Garden are all old-fashioned varieties, considered to be relatively carefree and disease resistant. During their early summer bloom, one can appreciate their delicate flowers lush Foliage, and wonderful fragrance.

After the flowers fade, many of these old roses have lovely hips, which are red or orange seed pods, varying from 1/4 inch to 2 inches in diameter.

When you feel these noses, be careful. Modern roses have thorns up to 2 inches apart. These old roses have up to 50 thorns to the inch.

These old roses are mainly various types of Rosa rugosa and Rosa gallica.. Also in the south bed of old roses we have a black pussy willow tree, Salix melanostachys. As a ground cover, we are planting sweet woodruff, Galium odoratum, in cover, we are planting sweet woodruff, Galiurn odoratum, in shady areas, and leaving the ever-present violets, Viola papilionacea, in sunny areas. Some alliums, presently mainly garlic chives, Allium tuberosa, and various mints are growing under some of the roses, as they may repel some pests.


William Shakespeare's plays are rich in their references to over 160 herbs and wildflowers. His writing demonstrates his familiarity with their usage and symbolic associations. It is inspiring to attempt to find and to grow these plants, Which have been in cultivation for at least 400 years.

Researching the Plants mentioned by Shakespeare, we found that they fall into four broad categories: garden flowers, wildflowers, herbs and vegetables. We have separated this bed into these four sections, using rows of lavender plants.

Garden Flowers include: columbine, Aquilegia; crown imperial, Fritillaria imperialis; daffodil; harebell, Campanula rotundlfolia; iris; larkspur; Madonna lily, Lilium Candidum; peony; and pinks. Wildflowers include: cowslip, Primula veris; pansy, Viola; heather; mallow; oxlip, Primulas elatior; primrose, Primula vulgaris; poppy; samphire, Chithmum maritimum; thyme and violets.
Herbs include: lemon balm, Melissa officinalis; bay, Laurus nobilis; salad bumet, Sanguisorba; camomile; caraway, Carum carvi; fennel, Foeniculum vulgare; hyssop; lavender; marjoram; mint; parsley; rosemary; rue, Ruta graveolens; savory; and wormwood.
Vegetables include: beans, cabbage, carrot, garlic, onion, pea, pepper, potato, radish, rhubarb, strawberry and turnip.

Other plants mentioned by Shakespeare are in other parts of
the garden: broom, marigold, medlar, mulberry, and willow. Some of the plants are seasonal, so you might not see them today.


Grown not only for their beauty and fragrance, herbs grown for tea also attract bees and butteflies and so contribute to both pollination and honey production. The true flavor of these Plants is experienced when they are used fresh, rather than dried, as many herbs are. However, drying your own tea herbs enables you to enjoy homegrown tea year round. Another reason to grow tea herbs would be to have a tea produced without chemical pesticides.

Tea herbs in this bed include mint, Mentha ssp; lemon balm, Melissa officinalis; sage, Salvia ssp; and horehound, Marrubium vulgare.

Comfrey, Symphytum officinalis, was historically used for a tea, but recent research has told us that it may be carcinogenic.

PLANTS USED IN CRAFTS (under development)

Since ancient times, one of the delightful uses of plants, has been in crafts; We are beginning to collect some of these plants. Many plants in other beds throughout our garden have craft uses as well.

This garden contains a curly willow tree, Salix contorta, used n flower arrangements; and several varieties of artemesia, and tansy, Tanacetum vulgare; both used in wreaths and flower arrangements, and lamb's ears, Stachys, prized for its soft foliage.


Thin, acid soils on the moor and in northern Britain support different plants, when compared to our middle latitudes and the heavy clay soils in this area. There are many plants mentioned tn British literature which we hope to grow here.

The Scotch broom, Cytisus scoparius; has been here for many years. In the spring, the ground is covered with lily-of-the-valley: We recently added come English bluebells.

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