Theme gardens are becoming very popular with new and seasoned gardeners. A theme garden is a garden designed around a particular period in time, such as the Victorian era or an object, such as the moon or even an animal or insect such as the butterfly. Any single theme garden can incorporate a wide variety of herbs, vegetables and flowers. Last year I planted a salsa themed garden that consisted of vegetables and herbs and yielded me over 48 pint jars of salsa.
Although they may not have been referred to as theme gardens in earlier centuries, they did exist. For example the town physician would have had a medicinal herb garden outside his office full of herbs that were known and used for their healing properties.
I once visited a Biblical theme garden where all the plants in the garden were mentioned in the Bible. Beside the plant were wooden signs with the hand-painted verse from the Bible that referred to the plant.
A butterfly or hummingbird theme garden would consist of nectar producing plants that attract these creatures. In this garden one might find butterfly bushes, coneflowers, hollyhocks, day lilies, Shasta daisies, sage, and yarrow, just to name a few.
Another unique theme garden is the dye theme garden. This garden would contain plants that produce colors used in natural dyes, such as roses, lavender and strawberries to use for pink colored dyes. Red cabbage, blueberries and purple grapes would be grown for purple colored dyes. Iris root would produce black colored dyes and spinach leaves would yield dyes needed for shades of green.
Moon theme gardens are filled with plants that are their best at dusk or night. These plants may bloom at night, have leaves that shimmer or glow from the light of the moon, or perhaps their natural fragrance is at its strongest during the night. Some plants you might see in a moon theme garden are moon flower, angel’s trumpet, lamb’s ear, jasmine, and sweet autumn clematis.
How does one know what to plant in a theme garden? What I did for my salsa theme garden was to use a salsa recipe. I picked my favorite salsa recipe and planted the vegetables and herbs that were listed in the ingredients. A basic salsa recipe will have the following ingredients; tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, habanera peppers, green peppers, cilantro, garlic, and onions.
You can also research theme gardens on-line or in books and don’t think that you are limited to one theme. You can have several and they can overlap. Example, you need tomatoes for a salsa theme garden but also a vegetable soup theme garden. Plant the tomatoes plants in the center and then the salsa theme plants on one side and the vegetable theme plants on the other side.
This year I’m planting two theme gardens, salsa and vegetable soup.
Source: The New Victory Garden