Sweet Woodruff in the Garden

Sweet Woodruff PhotoSince this is the time to start preparing for bugs in the garden, I'll give you one of my favorite tips for keeping bugs away from my plants . . . sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum). This little perennial has a short habit, growing only to about six inches, and makes a great ground cover. It grows in whorls around a very slender central stem and produces tiny white flowers. I keep it around my roses and peonies as a vanguard against all manner of pests. I mulch dried woodruff leaves in fall too.

Woodruff is frost hardy and will come back year after year. Once established, it likes to take over a patch of ground, so be careful to keep it from crowding rose bushes. Luckily it's shallow rooted and easy to control.

It will thrive in full or dappled light, and although it likes rich, sandy soil and lots of moisture, it's hardy and can tolerate quite a bit of abuse.

Woodruff's bright green leaves look refreshing and optimistic, particularly on overcast days. It smells a little like a blend of hay and cinnamon. You'll like it. If you have the time, you can even make traditional May wine from this perky little herb.

I wrote an article with growing tips a while back. You can visit it at: Growing Sweet Woodruff.

If you would like to know more about May wine, visit my blog post: May Wine, May Punch.

Woodruff Facts:

Sweet woodruff can be planted in the shade around tree roots, which makes it a great plant to help fill in those shady bald spots in the garden. The less light and moisture it gets, the less it will spread.

It also makes a great deer repellent.

Woodruff has a much stronger fragrance when dried, so if you like it's scent, try using a few dried woodruff stems in your next potpourri.

The coumarin in woodruff can be toxic if ingested in high doses. Steer clear of adding it to anything but alcoholic beverages like May wine.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:15:00 PM

    I love and plant sweet woodruff but had not realized it was an herb. Now that I read your information, of course it's an herb! Thanks.
    And you have Fenugreek - just read in yesterday's WASHINGTON POST 5/17/12 about a new company called Fenugreen which produces paper made of organic ingredients including Fenugreek which is designed to extend the freshness of fruits and vegetables.
    TED has the creator's presentation.


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