Plant a Healing Garden
by Nikki Streifler
November 30, 2018
Have you got a few extra feet of unused real estate at your home? We transformed the unused boulevard in front of our home into a fun project for the neighborhood kids, planting a healing garden and installing a sitting bench in front of our home. Creating the healing garden was a fun bonding experience that helped the children understand the beauty and power of nature to help us to heal. Plants are after all, the the oldest medicine that exists.
Here's how we did it:
Here's all you need:
One Flower box, approximately 5 feet x 5 feet.
A variety of plants with healing properties (see below)
Paint & Stencils (we used the colors of the chakras)
1) If you are doing this project with kids, have everything assembled and ready to go before you engage the children, so that you have their full attention for things they can do, like planting and painting.
2) Buy or build a simple flower box, or prepare a flat soil area for seeds and plants.
3) Talk to an expert at your local nursery about native plants that have healing qualities. We chose these plants, based on availability at our local shop:
-Chamomile: Most commonly used in tea, it's leaves and flowers are full of oils that have natural relaxing, sedative qualities and it's also used as anti-inflammatory for arthritis, rheumatism, etc.
-Aloe Vera: used externally as a natural astringent and emollient for the skin (and it has many internal uses as well!)
-Echinacea: Used in teas, etc to increase the body's immunity to colds and flu
-Sage: the natural oils and tannins in sage have a variety of homeopathic qualities, including being a great antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic. And and most likely anyone reading this website knows the power of cleansing the house (Smudging) with sage. Check our article on how to perform a Space Clearing Ceremony here.
-Lavender: Can help clear up headaches and calm anxiety. Around the house, lavender is a good insecticide. Pouches of dry lavender put in the drawers among clothes keep clothes smelling good and can keep moths away.
-Lantana: add to steam for a great natural expectorant, and the oils are also used as an anti-inflammatory in tissue healing
-Poppy: The California poppy has similar medicinal benefits to the opium poppy, although it is much milder, gentler and less addictive. It is even mild enough to be given to children. As an herbal remedy, California poppy tincture or extract is a relaxant and antispasmodic. It has been used to treat such ailments as insomnia, delirium, motion sickness, stress, nervousness, tense jaw and attention deficit disorder.
-Peppermint: Commonly found in everything from toothpaste to gum, sweets, balms and cough medicine, Peppermint can be used to freshen everything from your breath to your home. It's also used to relieve indigestion, heartburn, allergies and more!
(This is just a short list, there are literally HUNDREDS of medicinal plants you can grow at home : http://www.liveandfeel.com/medicinalplants.html )
4) Plant and water according to instruction.
5) Label the plants with your Garden Markers
6) Paint your plant box, make it fun. The kids helped us designate "words" to describe healing plants, and we stenciled "HEAL," "GROW," "LOVE," and "NURTURE."
7) We paired our Healing Garden with a Bench the kids call "Sit and Be" and stenciled "SIT" "PAUSE" "DREAM" and "BE" on the bench. The drawer contains small toys that we're recycling for the little ones in the neighborhood.
We've transformed an otherwise unused boulevard into an art and education project for the kids (and big kids) on our street.
Do you use any healing plants at home? Which ones do you find work well?