Herbs to Grow in a Chinese Medicinal Herbs Garden
Answered by: Zhongfa Wu
Question from: Andre Beaucher
Posted on: February 21, 2008

We are thinking of starting a demo garden of Chinese medicinal herbs. Which herbs and plants do you suggest to start with? Do you have any suggestions for some garden plans? Which book(s) would you recommend us before we start anything? Our small farm is located near Magog, Quebec, in the Eastern Township. Our experience in horticulture is: growing and selling raspberries for the last 12 years (1.5 acres); growing and selling garlic for the last 6 years (5500 bulbs last year; 8500 are in the ground for this coming season) We also have many other garden plants, a few fruit trees and flowers.

I assume your demo garden of Chinese medicinal herbs is intended for tourism purposes. You really have something to do before you start. As you know, the first thing is to choose the herbs that you want to grow. There are quite a lot Chinese herbs which can be grown in North America and also are good ornamental plants, such as Chinese privet (Ligustrum lucidum), licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), Coastal Glehnia Root (Glehnia littoralis) and Yulan Magnolia Flower Bud (Magnolia denudate). Richters Herbs has quite a few Chinese Herbs both seeds and plants. You should get a list if you contact with the customer service department. You can also get more seeds of Chinese Herbs form Richters if you order in advance because Richters has seed suppliers in China.

You can plan your garden just like you plan your horticultural garden in which you would display herbs according to technical, aesthetic and educational criteria in keeping with your theme of the garden. Before that, you should know more about the herbs you want to grow, like botanical character, growth requirements, field management, and control of pest and disease. I know of two good books for this detailed information. One is Zhong Yao Da Zi Dian, another one is Quan Guo Zhong Cao Yao Hui Bian. Unfortunately, both of books are in Chinese and I have no idea how you can get them in North America. Probably, there are some English books regarding growth of Chinese herbs in North America.

To make your garden of Chinese herbs more attractive, you can provide information about Chinese medicinal plants covering their history, medicinal properties, therapeutic uses and wonderful legends by set up a board with the information beside every herb.

[A good English language source is Steven Foster’s book Herbal Emmisaries which is available from Richters. --Ed.]

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