Perennials which can be used to produce cosmetics, remedies and medications, condiments, and spices, and culinary herbs used by the House chefs grow in this garden. The centrepiece is a sundial supported by a cedar carving of a West Coast orca created by Salish carver Aubrey LaFortune. The Herb Garden is beside the Sunken Rose Garden on Government House’s west side.
Plants were selected for their sensory value, as well as their foliage, creating a rich palette of grey – from lavender cotton, thymes and curry plants, and purple from purple sage – to rosemary’s rich dark green. Bright yellow Santolina flowers and the pink of calamint and ‘Pink Panda’ strawberry provide contrasting colour. Look for the unusual medlar tree and two quince trees popular in traditional herb gardens.
The Garden has hard-surfaced concrete paths to provide access for the physically challenged in wheelchairs or using walkers. The Herb Garden is attractive year round, but its most spectacular colour is in June when the Santolina are a mass of yellow flowers and the creeping thymes bloom in a variety of shades of pink, mauve, and crimson.
Lavenders follow in several shades of purple. Then the deep mauve flowers of the Germander hedge (Teucrium chamaedrys) bloom, favourites of the honey bees whose hives are in the Gary Oak Woodland just over the wall at the Sunken Rose Garden’s south end.