Have a spot in your landscape frustratingly hard to mow? Are tree trunks and roots, pots, or sprawling plants making it impossible to maneuver the mower? A chamomile lawn may offer a delightful solution, a whim of classic British gardening and Bible gardening to infuse your land.
Roman chamomile is an Anthemis species related to Anthemis palestina, one of the wildflowers flourishing in the Holy Land’s spring display of “flowers of the field” (Hebrew, tsiyts), a low-growing perennial hardy to Zone 4 with bright green, dense, feathery foliage. It blends well with traditional American turf species, endures light foot-traffic, fills the air with a pungent aroma of green apples, and dazzles with tiny, daisy-like flowers in late summer.
Our first blooms arrived this month and I am completely captivated! Blossoms can be gathered and dried for iced-tea infusions or winter-cozy cups of tea…or simply gazed upon for their fleeting display.
They spring up like flowers [tsiyts] and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
Job 14:2 NIV
Create a Chamomile Lawn
To create a chamomile lawn, I planted 4” plugs of Roman Chamomile about 6 inches on center in early April. The area I hoped to transform was the base of one of our bald cypress trees, awkwardly bordered by a new boysenberry bramble-bed and a planting of papyrus along a low fence which screens our compost heap. These elements filled in the already skewed geometry of our corner property line and came together in what would surely cause frustrated cuss-words on the part of our mowers (i.e our sons). O dear!
When I discovered information about planting chamomile in drifts, I knew I had a delightful solution! And with its hint to “grass” and “flowers of the field” as written in Isaiah 40, Psalm 103, and 1 Peter 1, perhaps cursing would be displaced by blessings, subtle whiffs of the everlasting love and enduring Word of the Lord. Victory!
As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who [revere] Him, and His [faithfulness to His gracious promises] to children’s children
Psalm 103:15-17 NASB
“All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them…grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”
Isaiah 40:6-8 NIV
The following resources helped immensely in planning our chamomile lawn (click names to link to websites):
Royal Horticultural Society
Mother Earth Living
Herb lovers everywhere are enchanted by the vision of a chamomile lawn. Imagine a spongy carpet of rich green foliage, fragrant as apples, soft to the eye and the touch, dotted perhaps with cheerful white-and-yellow daisies. What could be more charming?
—Rita Buchanan, “Herbal Lawns,” Mother Earth News, June-July 1993, www.motherearthliving.com
They all warn against planting the dainty herb in clay soil, so I added plenty of compost and expanded shale to the area once cleared of weeds and spotty grass patches. Light weeding and faithful watering saw the plugs grow and cover the ground in about three months, even in the dappled sunlight around the tree trunk.
May your own chamomile lawn flourish!
I said, ‘Plow new ground for yourselves, plant righteousness, and reap the blessings that your devotion to me will produce. It is time for you to turn to me, your Lord, and I will come and pour out blessings upon you.’
Hosea 10:12 GNT
Chamomile is mentioned under Native Plants from the Desert in the “Lay of the Land” landscape description for Egypt near Genesis 47 in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible.
Find more growing and garden-to-table information in our Plant Guide:
Chamomile – gardenndelight.wpengine.com/plant-guide/chamomile/
I enjoyed glorious insight into the spring display of “flowers of the field” in JoAnn Gardner’s Seeds of Transcendence: Understanding the Hebrew Bible through Plants (Mount Vernon, New York, Decalogue Books, 2014), pages 270-78.
©2016 Shelley S. Cramm