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#BotanistLens: Perennial 'healers' for every garden.

Chamomile, Paeonia and Hypericum are all perennials that aren't used together as often in an ornamental garden, but what a lovely combination they would make for any garden, big or small. Together they would give an instant cottage garden appeal, and with layered Hydrangeas or shrub roses as a backdrop, that's a painting to adore.

But as much these three are known for their aesthetic appeal, only Chamomile might be the one that is most popular for its medicinal properties. "Chamomile is one of the oldest, most widely used and well documented medicinal plants in the world and has been recommended for a variety of healing applications (7). Chamomile is a native of the old World and is a member of the daisy family (Asteraceae or Compositae)" (

Commonly called 'Apple of the ground' referring to the plant's fruity fragrance, Chamomile is a lovely perennial. "Daisy-like flowers with white rays and yellow centers bloom throughout the summer and into early fall. Finely-dissected, fern-like foliage emits a fruity scent when bruised. Flower heads may be dried to make chamomile tea, a soothing herbal tea that has been an historic folk medicine remedy for variety of ailments" (

Now Peonies are extremely popular in both floriculture and horticulture. But did you know that it is one of the most well know herbs for over 1200 years? "According to legends, peonies have been revered for centuries for the medicinal properties found in their roots" ( Paeonia lactiflora known for its ancient medicinal properties is also one of the parents for the many cultivars that we find today in the nurseries.

'Sarah Bernhart' is one of its blush pink cultivar that would be a perfect perennial in any cottage garden. Now pair that with a bushy perennial with sweetest butter yellow flower of Hypericum hidcote and you've got two bee magnets in your garden! Hypericum hidcote is commonly known as St. John's wort, although it is the H. perforatum species that has the medicinal properties. "St. John's wort has been used for medical purposes in other parts of the world for thousands of years. Named for St. John the Baptist (because it blooms around the day of his feast), St. John's wort is continually being studied to try to demonstrate its alleged benefits"(

Hypericum x hidcoteense 'Hidcote'

Although known for a weedy habit, all hypericum species aren't used in ornamental gardens. But one outstanding all star species is the Hypericum x hidcoteense 'Hidcote', commonly known as Hypericum hidcote. Extremely low maintenance, drought tolerant, helps in erosion control and can take full sun or dappled sun, it is an excellent pollinator and color burst for any garden. Phytochemical study of plants in a highly evolving field. "The therapeutic effects of these medicinal plants can justifiably be attributed to the phytochemicals in them especially the flavonoids, alkaloids and saponins. Phytochemicals are biologically active, naturally occurring chemical compounds found in plants, which protect plant cells from environmental hazards such as pollution, stress, drought, UV exposure and pathogenic attack. These secondary plant metabolites are thought to act as synergistic agents, allowing nutrients to be used more efficiently by the body"(

Hypericum x hidcoteense 'Hidcote' and Purple smoke tree (Cogynus coggygria)

Medicinal properties or not, Chamomile, Paeonias and H. hidcotes blooms are healers for the mind, body and the soul. Try them individually or as a group, and these perennials would brighten any garden.

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