I am incredibly thankful to my mother for sharing her green thumb and love of gardening with me throughout my life. Even today, I admire her ability to grow just about anything, including a lemon tree! Over the years with aromatherapy, having a garden or visiting gardens has helped to deepen my relationship with and understanding of essential oils.
Most of the time, I grow aromatic plants simply to enjoy their beauty and to be able to smell them when I am passing by. Taking a moment to rub your hands on rosemary and then taking a deep mindful inhalation enhances your olfactory palate and deepens your relationship with the essential oil too!
And don’t worry if you don’t have a plot of land to garden on, you can grow most of these plants in containers on your porch or patio. And if you don’t enjoy gardening, no worries! Just be sure to schedule some time over the spring and summer to visit a botanical garden or even a friends garden.
Here are my favorite aromatic plants to grow in our gardens.
Calendula: Calendula officinalis
Calendula is the easiest plant in the world to grow! A plant much loved for its simple beauty and diverse therapeutic uses. Heck just looking at it is enough to trigger a cascade of positive health benefits. When planting calendula you want to barely cover the seed with soil and gently yet firmly tamp down the seed (you want the soil to hug it but not cover it too deeply, calendula needs a bit of sun exposure.
If you are going to want to get a good batch of flowers for medicine making be sure to plant 2-3 packets of seeds. Once calendula begins to flower, enjoy its simplicity and beauty! Using fresh or dried flowers, you can make a herbal tincture, herbal oil or add some of the dried petals to a tea formulation and even a salad!
German Chamomile: Matricaria recutita
There is truly nothing like a fresh cup of chamomile tea, truly! It is worth growing just to experience this. I like to add a tsp of honey in with my cup of fresh chamomile tea but other than that it is incredible on its own. Harvesting the flowers is a form of meditation for sure and will soothe the mind/body while igniting joy!
The Culinary Herbs
The spring and summer are perfect times to create your own culinary herb garden. Thyme, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and sage are all great plants to consider. These aromatic plants are easy to grow in pots on your patio as well as in a garden bed. You can enjoy harvesting and cooking with fresh herbs throughout the summer. Be sure to dry some of each for use through the winter months.
Bee Balm: Monarda fistulosa (the pink one) or Monarda didyma (the red one)
Known as Bee balm (not lemon balm), the monarda species are also easy to grow. I have purchased a few of the plants over the years and this Spring I am trying to grow both species from seeds in our new raised beds. (fingers crossed!) A fresh cup of tea with Monarda flowers and leaves is amazing! And of course, Bee balm is a delightful flower for bees, butterflies and you!
Lavender: Lavandula sp.
The quintessential plant within an aromatic garden. There are several species of Lavender, including hybrids and cultivars. If you live up north, you will probably be able to grow most species. If you are in the south, Lavandula stoechas tends to thrive in a warmer climate while Lavandula angustifolia can struggle a bit. Talk with your local garden shop or herb farm to learn which lavender would be best for you to grow given your climate.
Melissa: Melissa officinalis
Melissa is another must have in an aromatic garden. Like German chamomile, it makes a delicious cup of tea and a great tincture to boot. Melissa is a calming and soothing herb in the garden. An if you have ever wondered why melissa essential oil is so expensive, you can pick a leaf to smell. You will experience first hand not only its beautiful aroma but also how quickly it dissipates. Melissa contains a very small amount of essential oil, hence one needs lots of plant material thus resulting in a more expensive essential oil.
I hope you will plant at least one aromatic plant this year in your garden or in a pot on your porch. The act of gardening and caring for a plant will do wonders for your health and wellness! Enjoy.