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Objects of Art: Herb Garden

Location: Front and side of the Library, Building 38

Photograph of the herb garden in bloom Sun dial

Planted in 1976 as part of the Bicentennial celebration, the Library's medicinal herb garden originally contained 16 representative plants of current or historical medicinal significance. Designed and planted under the direction of Thomas J. Cook, Chief of the NIH Grounds Maintenance and Landscaping Section with James Stengle, M.D., formerly of NLM's Lister Hill Center as advisor, the layout of the garden was patterned after the architecture of the NLM building and was first planted with the perennial hedges of boxwood, lavender, and thyme (traditional design components of herb gardens though the ages).

In 1986 the Potomac Unit of the Herb Society of America accepted the invitation to assume maintenance of the garden and added many plants appropriate to the history of medical practice while redesigning the garden into four sections reflecting the approach to medical thought in general: Ancient, Colonial American (plants which were brought mainly from European countries), Native American, and Modern Day.

The garden is now planted as follows: Modern Day Section--Common Foxglove, Creeping Thyme, Spiderwort, Sweet Wormwood, Feverfew, and Purple Coneflower; Native American Section--Anise Hyssop, Blood Flower, Butterfly Weed, Evening Primrose, American Pennyroyal, Beebalm Oswego Tea, and Mayapple; Ancient Section--Common Teasel, Caperspurge, Mole Plant, Rue, Alexanders Blacklovage, St. John's Wort, Lemon Balm, Papaver Orientalis, and Apothecary's Rose; Colonial Section--English Daisy, Roman Chamomile, Costmary Bibleleaf, Alecost, Hyssop, Lady's Mantle, Garlic, Borage, and Rosemary

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