The Herb Garden at the Auckland Botanic Gardens

Herb Garden

Engage your senses in the Herb Garden

A sensory delight!

Discover the multitude of uses for plants whether for health and healing, cooking, beauty or decoration. This garden is a sensory delight not just for the visitor, but also the busy birds and bees foraging on the diverse range of fragrant flowers and seeds.

The Herb Garden contains plants used for millennia around the world for food, drink, medicine, insect repellent, dyes, cosmetics and perfume. Copy what we grow so you too can add some tasty and healthy ingredients to your cooking. Enjoy the additional benefits of planting herbs – whether as companion plants to confuse pests, to attract beneficial insects to the garden, or to add year round interest.

Alongside well-known herbs, learn about some unusual, exotic and heritage varieties such as galangal, moiga ginger, turmeric, lambs ears, chervil and arrowroot. Admire the delicate, deliciously scented flowers of the lemon myrtle. The Herb Garden is particularly buzzing with life over summer, however Auckland’s mild climate means that we are able to grow a diverse range of plants in winter too – in fact many are more suited to the cooler, wetter time of year. Visit us for year-round ideas to add some interesting seasonal flavours to your kitchen garden.

Cultural

Gardening started with herbs in the 5th century when kitchen garden of monasteries would provide fruit and vegetables as well as medicines for the monks. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Physic Gardens or Apothecaries’ Gardens began to spring up, with the purpose of training apprentices in identifying plants and studying their medicinal qualities. These gardens became some one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world. As explorers and plant-hunters bought home more and more exotic plants from far-away places, Botanic Gardens arose from physic gardens. Botanic Gardens, with their goals for plant conservation, have evolved to be more than medicinal herb gardens but herb gardens are the historic core of Botanic Gardens - connecting people with plants by showing everyday uses.

The Herb Garden at Auckland Botanic Gardens was established and planted with the help of the Auckland Herb Society in 1979. It was originally set out in an old-fashioned formal English style Herb Garden with brick paths and geometrically shaped beds. With the growth of popularity of herbal medicines and a desire to be able to grow fresh herbs for use at home, the Herb Garden at the Botanic Gardens is enjoying increasing popularity.

Gardening Tips for herbs
  • The majority of herbs are easy to grow so long as they are planted in full sun with good drainage.
  • In a shadier part of the garden try Vietnamese mint, soapwort and great burnet.
  • Grow mint in a container (a pot or partially bury a container in your garden) as it sends out extremely vigorous runners spreading throughout the garden.
  • Add organic matter such as compost or green crops to the soil regularly especially prior to planting or when dividing.
  • Maintain the vitality of clumping herbs such as thyme and oregano through division in cooler, wetter autumn.
  • There’s a great selection of herbs – both common and unusual – from Kings Seeds, Asian Seeds and Running Brook Seeds.
Conservation

Auckland Botanic Garden maintains a comprehensive repository of herbal plants that includes many species and cultivars seldom commercially available. We aim to make these herbs available as appropriate.

Research

Horticulturalists at Auckland Botanic Gardens have a close relationship with Auckland Herb Society and supports projects researching herbs and their uses. For more information or recommendations please contact us.

Lavender smell wonderful and are great for attracting pollinators into your garden.

Keep an eye on our calendar for edible workshops