Plants & Farm StoriesFeb 2, 2022

Take a virtual plant walk through our Botanical Education Garden

Nestled amid the fertile fields of our Regenerative Organic Certified farm is the Herb Pharm Botanical Education Garden. With more than 500 plants gathered from all around the world, 30 themed beds, winding paths, gazebo and calming water fountain, this 1.5-acre oasis often feels like it's straight out of a storybook.

We’ve included common culinary herbs like Rosemary and Lavender, herbs that are found in our products such as Pulsatilla and Chaste Tree — and even some that are often overharvested in their native habitat like Black Cohosh and Blue Cohosh. One bed contains only Mint (Lamiaceae) family herbs. Another is devoted entirely to Nightshades, or the Solanaceae family. Still another is bursting with Asteraceae plants. We have some beds that contain plants native to certain regions of the country, and others are filled with plants that attract pollinators.

We have beds with herbs for children, women’s health, monocots, traditional Chinese herbs and more. Some beds are devoted to specific categories of herbs, like nervines, digestive herbs or herbs for the respiratory system. There are even beds focused on color therapy and aromatherapy.

This garden is a plant lover’s dream come true — a place to look, touch and observe beloved herbs and discover new ones. This overhead video helps to truly capture the amazing expansiveness of the garden.

We consider the garden to be a “living classroom.” It exemplifies our mission to inspire love and respect for nature, and to impart our knowledge of traditional herbalism. This visual and aromatic splendor is the ideal environment to deepen your awareness of the botanical world.

Here’s a look at some of the unique garden beds we’ve created — and the Pharm team member who makes this one of visitors’ favorite spots on the farm.

United Plant Savers collection

This is one of our most significant areas of our herbal classroom, a place to teach about rare herbs and conservation efforts. Started in 1994, United Plant Savers identifies and protects plants of the U.S. and Canada that they consider to be “At-Risk” and “To Watch” due to habitat loss and overharvesting in the wild. Their mission is to protect native plants of the United States and Canada and their habitats, through research, education and conservation initiatives.

We cultivate several species on the UpS lists in this area, including Goldenseal, Blue Cohosh, Black Cohosh, Bloodroot, False Unicorn and Wild Yam. While the herbs in this section are not for use in our products, this collection allows us to better understand their needs and growth cycles. It is also a useful educational tool for interns and visitors. We hope to inspire them to grow these precious herbs for themselves.

Traditional Chinese herb collection

We primarily grow and sell herbs used in Western herbalism, but we grow and offer some that are used in other herbal traditions, like traditional Chinese herbalism and Ayurveda. As such, this collection includes plants like Burdock, Dong Quai and Baikal Skullcap, for educational purposes. The primary health system of China dates back more than 2,000 years and embraces more than 500 different herbs. This bed was designed with the theories and appearance of yin and yang (a symbol of balance) and five elements (fire, water, wood, metal and earth).

Asteraceae collection

With about 24,000 known species, Asteraceae is the largest family of flowering plants, so visitors usually recognize at least a few of the plants in this bed. Their unique flowers can be deceiving, since what looks like a single flower to the human eye is actually a composition of many smaller flowers. Stare at a Sunflower in bloom, and you can see that there are hundreds of little flowers growing on a disk, each producing just one seed. Expect to see plants like Spilanthes, Yarrow and Sunflowers.

Children’s Herb collection

The herbs in this collection are intended to inspire a love of plants in children. You’ll find common culinary herbs like Thyme, Mint and Chives; decorative flowers like Zinnias, Marigolds, Sunflowers and Nasturtiums; and herbs that are often used with children, such as Calendula, Echinacea, Lemon Balm and Chamomile. The “five senses bed” is a fun way to teach children how to connect with nature using their senses.

Meet Sayaka, our master gardener

Sayaka is an Herb Pharm gardener, landscaper and caretaker of our much-loved garden. After starting a career in her hometown of Tokyo, Sayaka had the opportunity to visit the United Kingdom on a business trip about 20 years ago. When she visited the gardens in the U.K., she realized her love for plants, and soon she found herself wondering if she could create something that rivaled the beauty of the landscapes she had seen on her travels.

She decided to return to England to study horticulture with a concentration in garden design. As the daughter of an architect, design came naturally to Sayaka, and her talent for creating stunning natural spaces led to her taking an apprenticeship opportunity in the U.S. A few years later, Sayaka moved to Oregon and connected with our founders, Sara and Ed, who just happened to be looking for someone to design a garden and "living classroom.”

Over the last 17 years, Sayaka has transformed this space, and she has taught countless visitors, interns and fellow employees about the beloved herbs found within.