Yarrow is not only a beautiful, hardy perennial with abundant composite flowers it is also quite a useful medicinal herb. It is a native European herb known for its wound healing properties. Both the flowers and the leaves are used either fresh or dried. The volatile oils in the flowers have antispasmodic properties and the leaves are used to stop bleeding from cuts or nose bleeds. A tea made with yarrow, peppermint, elderflowers, and echinacea roots will be a tremendous aid for colds and flu. " The key actions of yarrow are antispasmodic, astringent, bitter tonic, increases sweating, lowers blood pressure, reduces fever, a mild diuretic and urinary antiseptic, stops internal bleeding, promotes menstruation, and is anti-inflammatory."(The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Andrew Chevallier)
Sweet Mock Orange, (Philadelphus coronarius) is by far among my favorite garden shrubs. I don't quite remember when, or from whom I received my first specimen, but I have so enjoyed it's fragrant white flowers year after year. Here in my central Alabama garden it begins blooming about the third week in April and usually continues until the first of May.
It is aptly named Sweet Mock Orange due to the sweet citrus fragrance of the blossoms which are very uplifting and calming. With sweet blossoms all along the graceful branches it makes an excellent cut flower. It is a native of Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor. It grows in zones 4 to 8. A large shrub that grows 10-12 ft. high and wide will fit perfectly in a border or as a single focal point. It would also look great in the back of a sunny perennial garden. The more sun it receives the more it blooms. I used to have one planted on the front Southeast corner of my home where it flourished and bloomed profusely until it met its unfortunate demise from an overzealous gardener trying to get rid of some honeysuckle vines. Having no hard feelings I simply planted four more in our back yard. One day when he is not looking I will plant another one back it the former location.
Herbaceous perennials are flowers, grasses, ferns and herbs are that grow for more than one season unlike the annual that only grows for one season. Most perennials will go dormant during the winter season. There foliage will die back yet their roots remain alive. The best time to divide perennials is in the fall or spring. When planting herbaceous perennials it is best to plant them in groups of three or more for a full effect. Each grouping of blooms or foliage will shine through and catch the eye giving a more pleasing appearance.
If you were to ask me what my favorite garden theme is it would be by far the English garden. A very English garden combines form and function with lots of romance. There all of the senses are delightfully treated with glorious splendor. With a full range of beauty from the formal evergreens, the useful culinary and medicinal herbs, the romantic roses to the playful daisies, dianthus and foxgloves interest would never be lost.
This enchanting garden theme has been cheerfully duplicated the world over and never more so than here in the United States where our climate is most suitable for such a wide variety of charming specimens. I am most thankful for all of our foresighted forefathers who carefully transported these most useful and admired plants along with them from there home countries for many more generations to enjoy!