One of the main attractions of the garden is its vast collection of herbs. Within a well-kept enclosure the plants are arranged according to use or significance in human history: bee herbs, culinary herbs, dye herbs, economic herbs, fragrant herbs, herbs in literature, medicinal herbs, herbs of native Americans, ornamental herbs, sacred herbs, tea herbs, savory seed herbs, salad and potherbs, edible flowers, and--my favorite--Herbs of the Ancients.
There were far too many in the latter category for me to share them all, but here are three that caught my particular attention...
Dittany of Crete*
"Ancient Greeks believed eating the leaves of this wooly oregano helped to expel arrow tips."
*I've since looked into this one a bit further and it looks like this plant was probably mislabeled. I believe this is actually a variety of nightshade--a highly toxic herb that has had a variety of sinister, medicinal, and even cosmetic uses throughout history. The variety of nightshade called "Belladonna" was used for a time by women to dilate their pupils--a feature once considered attractive.
When I looked up Dittany of Crete, here's a picture of what actually came up...sorry for the misinformation...
"Prescribed by Dioscorides to treat flux, it was also used against snakes, wild beasts, poison, envy, and terror."
Pink-Flowered Garden Sage
No toads here--at least not that I could find--though when you get a good look at the rough and warty texture of the leaves it's easy to see how such a tale might have come about.