A Monastic Herb Garden for Monastery National School

March 28, 2012


The Monastery School Herb Garden is a newly planted garden area within the Monastery National School Ardee, County Louth. The herb garden will contribute to the idea of a monastic style garden being cultivated in the school, with vegetables, fruits and wildlife garden walks all forming an integrated garden for food, well-being and contemplation. Historically monastic gardens were examples of sustainability, grown as enclosed areas where prayer, horticulture and physical labour were combined. “Monasteries were used to treat the sick and the garden of medicinal herbs is usually shown in manuscripts as a small, neatly ordered area of narrow beds” (The Herb Garden by Sarah Garland).

“Herbs have been cultivated for thousands of years as medicine and as food, but they were also used as part of religious rituals. By 1066 European monasteries were the custodians of medicinal herbs. The gardens were laid out in simple rectangles, and a dedicated physic garden was a feature within monasteries. Herbs have a history that is steeped in myth and magic.” (The New Book of Herbs by Jekka McVicar).

Boys from 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th Class helped to prepare the soil, plant a variety of herb plants and seeds, and water the herbs with seaweed liquid feed.

The following herbs were planted in four diamond shaped beds:

Dill, Corianer, Salad Rocket, Pot Marigold, Borage, Chervil, Summer Savory, Caraway, Good Kind Henry, Caraway, Sweet Cicely, Rosemary, Oregano, Angelica, Tarragon, Applemint, Spearmint, Peppermint, Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon Balm, Chives, Sage, Fennel and Feverfew.

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