An ornamental garden filled with plants believed to bring long life and serenity. Flowering ornamentals and plants with beautiful foliage.


A symbolic  ornamental flower and herb garden representing a healthy lifestyle and emotional stability

Thousands of plant species are cultivated for aesthetic purposes as well as to provide shade, modify temperatures, reduce wind, abate noise, provide privacy

There are hundreds of vegetables and fruits known to or believed to extend your lifespan, or symbolize a very long lifespan. Every culture has a certain belief and diet is frequently based on those. This garden design is for an ornamental garden known to  assist in longevity or be symbolic of it, and includes not only flowering herbs and medicinals, but includes ornamental flowers, edible plants, and fruit trees known or believed to be helpful in bringing a level of serenity - an emotional health garden. We need both physical and emotional well-being to live a long and happy life. Surrounding yourself in a beautiful garden that is valuable to your health and happiness is valuable, and it looks beautiful, too. All herbs and veggies flower, but not all of them look pretty in an ornamental garden. Choose the flowering herbs that are a feast for the eyes, as well as a source of health/healing. The ornamental garden's herbs are mostly used as only flowering ornamentals. Herbal uses means too much cutting and losing decorative value, and perhaps also losing herbal taste while flowering. Choose those herbs you want to use for cuisine and keep a few separate in a food or herbal garden, leaving the ornamentals to do their flowering thing.

Gardening is a very popular leisure activity, and working with plants or practicing horticulture therapy is beneficial for rehabilitating people with disabilities. Grow a beautiful garden, stay healthy in mind and body. NASA predicts that space stations or space colonies will one day rely on plants for healing and life support.


**The following are some decorative herbals and ornamentals to consider for your longevity garden. Do not consider any of this content as medical advice or ingest anything listed here. These are ideas for a nice-looking ornamental herbal and flower garden considered by some cultures to be healing or life-extending.


Trees - Several trees are Biblical and considered Healthy in your diet or in your environment.

The fig tree - symbolic in religion, and featured in creation stories of many cultures. For Buddhists, no plant is more important than the fig tree, beneath which the Buddha attained enlightenment. They are also ecologically valuable, sustaining more wild birds and mammals than any other fruit trees. I have several dwarfs as ornamentals and because I'm addicted to figs. Figs contain small amounts of a wide variety of nutrients, but they’re particularly rich in copper and vitamin B6. Copper is a vital mineral that’s involved in several bodily processes, including metabolism and energy production, as well as the formation of blood cells, connective tissues, and neurotransmitters. Vitamin B6 is a key vitamin necessary to help your body break down dietary protein and create new proteins. It also plays an important role in brain health.



Bamboo - Chinese symbol of longevity

Amaranth - Symbol of Immortality

Peach blossoms are symbolic of long life.

Peonies are symbols of prosperity.

Peruvian Lilies - Wealth, fortune, prosperity

Phlox - harmony

Plum blossoms- Longevity

Sages - Health and wisdom

Stocks - Lasting beauty, a happy life

Vervain - Protection against evil

Wheat - wealth and prosperity

Thai Basil - exotic variety, with a strong licorice scent, boasts reddish-purple flower spikes in late summer. As with all basils, the leaves may start to lose some flavor once blooming begins. Don't pinch off the flowers as is commonly done,  if the flowers are your goal. You can trim off the flowers when they die, and the plant will eventually produce more tasty leaves.

Greek Oregano - low mounding habit, fuzzy leaves. It's  a good-looking ground cover and the leaves are essential in Mediterranean diets. Clusters of pale, pinkish buds midsummer. Perennial.

Lavender, chamomile, st. john's wort, valerian. Bee balm.... i love it and it grows all over my backyard garden, in-ground and in pots so that i can have portable ornamentals. Butterfly and bee magnets, your ornamental garden would be sad without it. Easy to grow and spreads politely. Leaves are awesome in teas and salads. Perennial.

Dill - vivid chartreuse-yellow flowers appear on tall stems with feathery foliage. To ensure a steady supply, sow new seeds each month. I like the feathery foliage even more than the flowers. It looks great in flower arrangements.

Spearmint - Very pretty, but very invasive, in- ground just like every other mint. Grow in pots and raised neds, isolated from the rest of your landscape. Cones of lilac-pink bells by midsummer. Perennial.

Rosemary - very pretty lavender/purple flowers in summer. There are annual and perennial types. Mine comes up every year.

Sunflowers - a symbol of longevity


Elderberry -

Mine is quite ornamental and it's called Black Lace. There are about 30 types of elder plants and trees around the world. The European version (Sambucus nigra) is the one most closely-tied to your health and healing. Its history dates back as far as 400 BC, and Hippocrates, the “Father of Medicine,” called the elder tree his “medicine chest.”

A little about the value of gardening in longevity and well-being

Daily exercise and mental problem-solving while in the garden is valuable as well. Beating the weeds with a hoe or chopping at them with a cultivator helps me solve problems in my head, and if i'm frustrated, the weed-bashing lets it out. Gardeners learn about botany, climate change and the effects of weather and seasons on their gardens and themselves.  They learn names and attributes of their plants quickly. They learn about plants by their leaves, know which plants attract pollinators (and pests), about diseases and how to rid their gardens of it or prevent it. Gardeners learn how to propagate their favorite plants, and which plants they can grow that are not appropriate for their regions by protecting them, propagating or wintering them inside. There's a lot going on in gardening for the brain and body to remain agile. Disabilities can be worked with and around with enabled gardens created just for them, so that they can happily garden for the rest of their lives. There is also indoor gardening available, with lots of indoor garden grow lights, stands, and beds. What seems to be a hobby, becomes a year-round sport and valuable to health and well-being. 

There are scores of studies done that associate gardening with good physical and emotional health, and a life that is better-lived, more years spent in good health, and much happier. What good is a long life without nature, joy, a feeling of accomplishment and personal pride? What good is voluntarily sitting indoors in front of the TV, computer or phone screen without a sense of curiosity and desire for physical movement, as well as accomplishing something that makes your life and the lives around you better? We can learn from technology and some mindless things, but then we need to put that knowledge into practice to keep the brain busy and curious. The internet is an awesome tool for a gardener to learn botany, horticulture, garden and plant history, growing and harvesting. This info wasn't instantly available when Grandma grew her garden. But learning is not doing. Get out there with that big brain and use it.

Much of the healthy aspects of the Mediterranean diet can be grown in the home garden. And much of it is colorful and ornamental, as well. The Mediterranean climate cultivates a bounty of colorful fruits, veggies, legumes, and whole grains. An olive tree in the garden is ornamental, as well as a source of olives.

What are Blue Zones?

A cool FYI... in relation to eating fresh, healthy foods and lifestyles.
Places where fast food in a diet is unheard of. Much of the longevity diets can be grown in a home garden.
Blue Zones are where people live the longest, and are healthiest. The key is living healthy longer. Longevity means little if your quality of life is compromised or unpleasant due to disease and infirmity.

Sardinia, Italy

Home to the world's longest-living men.

A cluster of villages in a kidney-shaped region on this island make up the first Blue Zone region ever identified. There is a rare genetic quirk carried by its inhabitants. The M26 marker is linked to exceptional longevity, and due to geographic isolation, the genes of the residents in this area of Sardinia have remained mostly undiluted. The result: nearly 10 times more centenarians per capita than the U.S. Residents of this area are culturally isolated, and they have kept to a very traditional, healthy lifestyle. Sardinians still hunt, fish and harvest the food they eat. Their diet is mostly a plant-based diet, only accented with meat. The classic Sardinian diet consists of whole-grain bread, beans, garden vegetables, fruits, and in some parts of the island, mastic oil.


Okinawa, Japan

The islands at the southern end of Japan have historically been known for longevity, once called the land of immortals. Okinawans have less cancer, heart disease and dementia than Americans, and women there live longer than any women on earth. Older Okinawans have eaten a plant-based diet most of their lives. Their meals of stir-fried vegetables, sweet potatoes, and tofu are high in nutrients and low in calories.

Ikaria, Greece

Today, Ikarians are almost entirely free of dementia and some of the chronic diseases that plague Americans; one in three make it to their 90s. A combination of factors explain it, including geography, culture, diet, lifestyle and outlook. They enjoy strong red wine, late-night games and a relaxed pace in life that ignores clocks. Clean air, warm breezes and rugged terrain draw them outdoors into an active lifestyle. Their diet is basically what's named "The Mediterranean Diet".

Nicoya, Costa Rica
I briefly visited Costa Rica and always wished i could move there in retirement, for the natural beauty and the availability of excellent healthcare, alone.

This Central American nation isn’t that far from the U.S. geographically, but it is way ahead of us in longevity. The Caribbean nation is economically secure, and residents have a  “plan de vida,” or reason to live, which propels a positive outlook among elders and helps keep them active. Nicoyan centenarians frequently visit with neighbors, and they tend to live with families and children or grandchildren who provide support, as well as a sense of purpose.
Hard Water - Nicoyan water has the country’s highest calcium content, perhaps explaining the lower rates of heart disease, as well as stronger bones and fewer hip fractures.

Nicoyans eat a light dinner early in the evening. For most of their lives, Nicoyan centenarians ate a traditional Meso-american diet highlighted with the “three sisters” of agriculture, also used by ancient Native Americans: squash, corn, and beans. These are considered "superfoods". I was surprised at the longevity, considering the 11 percent added sugars in their diet.

Loma Linda, California

A group of Americans living 10 years longer than most

The Seventh-day Adventist church of Southern California was founded in the 1840s. The church flourished through the 20th century, and so did its members, who view health as central to their faith. a community of about 9,000 Adventists. They live as much as a decade longer than the rest of us, and much of their longevity can be attributed to vegetarianism and regular exercise. And Adventists don’t smoke or drink alcohol. Adventists who consume nuts at least five times a week have about half the risk of heart disease, and live about two years longer than those who don’t. Adventists cite a biblical diet of grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

Aromatherapy has it's own collection of benefits, and there are lots of pretty plants you can grow in a Fragrance Garden, or as part of a larger landscape. Herbs are incorporated that will do well and flower beautifully, as in the Tea Garden. The Zen Garden can contain beautiful herbs and flowering edibles as part of it's design. The opportunities for aromatherapy and visual eye candy are endless. Biblical herbs and dwarf ornamental and fruit trees can be planted as part of your entire landscape, or they can be in a themed garden area. Herbs and religious symbolic plants have always played their part in the lifestyles, culinary styles, and beliefs of every culture.

My gardening M.O. is that if it looks good, tastes good, or smells good, i want to grow it. Focusing on the plants specifically chosen for my health and emotional stability is a way to be sure I achieve all that, and possibly live a longer and happier life. It doesn't get much better than that. Besides...... i'm a very physically active gardener, and I haul, drag, push, lift and carry a lot of heavy and awkward materials without help. I'm what society feels obligated to consider a senior, but i am pretty vain about my upper body strength and muscle, as well as my well-developed legs. Gardening bonus - a better social life for me.


Beautiful flowering vegetable plants and herbs. 
Keep most of these in your vegetable garden, but scatter a few plants in your Ornamental Longevity Garden.

  1. Asparagus: A useful basic green.
    Height 2m  Spread 50cm Season July-November
  2. Garlic chives: Pure white flowers and a perfect perennial.
    Height 50cm Spread 30cm Season July-October
  3. Lemon verbena: Easily grown in a pot.
    Height 1m Spread 50cm Season October
  4. Cabbage: Any type will work.
    Height 1.5m Spread 75cm Season April-November
  5. Fennel: A bouquet on its own.
    Height 1.2m Spread 75cm Season August-November
  6. Tree spinach: Huge plant, will reseed.
    Height 3m Spread 50cm Season August-November
  7. Chinese broccoli (kai-lan): White edible flowers.
    Height 1.25m Spread 20cm Season Spring-autumn from several sowings.
  8. Oysterleaf: Hardy perennial.
    Height 25cm Spread 65cm Season April and September
  9. Carrot: Delightful lace umbels for months.
    Height 1m Spread 40cm Season July-November
  10. Garlic chives: Strong sturdy stems and flowers that will last for ten days.
    Height 50cm Spread 30cm Season July-October
  11. Orach: Very useful in bouquets.
    Height 1.5m Spread 30cm Season September-October
  12. Chinese broccoli (Kai-lan): Fastest growing broccoli with white flowers and lots of side shoots.
    Height 1.25m Spread 20cm Season Spring-autumn from several sowings
  13. Red basil: Dark wine colour and a perfect scent.
    Height 50cm Spread 50cm Season August-October
  14. Leek: Very useful, long-lasting flowers.
    Height 1.5m Spread 25cm Season August-September




Blue Zone

National Geographic

Culture trip



Visit this page for Blue Zones longevity information - what and how the longest living people eat

Blue Zones Article:   "Princeton researchers have identified the benefit of an activity largely overlooked by policymakers—home gardening."
 Research Shows Gardening Boosts Mood as Much as Exercise  

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