Design your own healing forest garden

Including medicinal trees and shrubs

Forest gardens can be highly productive and many of the plants can be used for health purposes. This course provides advice to help you choose and plan effectively and safely. On this course you will find out about a range of medicinal plants to cultivate and harvest. A particular focus is the integration of trees and shrubs with herbs and other plants using permaculture design. With videos, activities, quizzes, information sheets and further reading, this course takes you through the key processes involved in successfully designing and establishing a medicinal forest garden. Whether you are a gardener, grower, smallholder or farmer, this course will guide you in learning about sustainable cultivation of plants with medicinal effects.
Path throughthe medicianl forest garden

Benefits of the Medicinal Forest Garden Design course

You will learn key principles in designing a medicinal forest garden

  • Choosing the right plants to meet your interests and needs

  • Making a plan to provide supplies of healing plants

  • Integrating medicinal plants with plants for food and other uses

  • Sourcing, propagating and establishing plants well

  • Planting a site for the longer term with sustainable harvests

  • Keeping everyone safe and planting with success

  • Evaluating what went well and changes needed

Meet Your Tutor

Medical Herbalist Anne Stobart

Your tutor is Anne Stobart, an experienced medical herbalist, researcher and herb grower. Anne previously managed a herbal medicine degree programme for clinical herbal practitioners at Middlesex University in London. Her teaching and research interests include herbal therapeutics, herbal history, permaculture design and medicinal forest gardening. Anne lives in South-West England where she co-founded Holt Wood Herbs, a medicinal tree and shrub project in Devon. She has published several books including Household Medicine in Seventeenth-Century England (2016) and The Medicinal Forest Garden Handbook (2020). Anne is the founder of the Medicinal Forest Garden Trust.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long is the course?

    There are 10 lessons, each with several videos, a download, an activity and further reading. Some people complete the course in a few weeks, while others prefer to take a longer period of a few months. You will have online access to the learning materials for a full 12 months from your enrolment.

  • What experience do I need?

    No experience is needed, just an interest in growing medicinal plants including trees and shrubs. All suggestions for activities include full instructions.

  • Must I have a growing site already?

    No, this course is about designing a growing site with medicinal plants. So, it may be useful whether you already have a site or are planning for one in the future. In this course there are suggestions to suit all sizes of growing site, from a cottage garden to an established woodland.

  • What assessment is there in this course?

    There are no examinations or tests. The course does include activities and quizzes to help you get to grips with the content. All of these activities are optional.

  • How much does the course cost?

    The total cost of the course including online videos, reading, activities and downloads is £45.00.

  • Can I get help if I need it?

    The course is carefully structured to build up knowledge and understanding as you work through it. There are opportunities for discussion throughout the course. And there are optional Zoom meetings where questions can be discussed.

  • When can I start?

    This course of 10 lessons and associated downloads and activities is all accessed online. So you can start at any time once you have signed up and paid for the course. The online materials can then be accessed for a full 12 months.

More benefits from the course

Additional features of the Medicinal Forest Garden Design course

  • Meet your tutor online

    There are optional Zoom sessions on a regular basis with your tutor to hear more about design matters and seasonal medicinal plants. This provides you with an oppportunity to air ideas and ask questions.

  • Link up with a growing network

    Join together with others, networking to share experiences with the Medicinal Forest Garden Trust. You gain private access to a medicinal forest gardening community as an enrolled student.

  • Help others to learn too

    Every sign up for this course helps to fund the Medicinal Forest Garden Trust! The Trust is all about encouraging safe use and sustainable cultivation of herbal medicines.

Course curriculum

    1. Read This First!

    2. Course Introduction

    3. Amazing Trees, Amazing Medicine

    4. Tell us a little about yourself

    1. 1. Getting Started Outline

    2. Getting Started Video Part 1

    3. Download Hawthorn Tree Information Sheet

    4. Getting Started Video Part 2

    5. Activity: Reasons for growing medicinal plants

    6. 1. Further Information


    1. 2. Why Grow Medicinal Trees Outline

    2. Why Grow Medicinal Trees Video Part 1

    3. Download Violet Willow Tree Information Sheet

    4. Why Grow Medicinal Trees Video Part 2

    5. Activity: Why Grow Medicinal Trees Quiz

    6. 2. Further Information

    1. 3. Assessing Your Site and Resources Outline

    2. Assessing Your Site and Resources Video Part 1

    3. Download Elder Tree Information Sheet

    4. Assessing Your Site and Resources Video Part 2

    5. Activity: Make a base map

    6. 3. Further Information

    1. 4. Amazing Medicinal Trees To Consider Outline

    2. Amazing Medicinal Trees To Consider Video Part 1

    3. Download Ginkgo tree information sheet

    4. Amazing Medicinal Trees to Consider Video Part 2

    5. Activity: Soil Analysis

    6. 4. Further Information

    1. 5. Shrubs, Climbers and Ground Cover Outline

    2. Shrubs, Climbers and Ground Cover Video Part 1

    3. Download Medicinal Shrubs List

    4. Shrubs, Climbers and Ground Cover Video Part 2

    5. Activity: Start your Plant Wishlist

    6. 5 Further Information


About this course

  • £45.00
  • 1.5 hours of video content
  • 10 Lessons

Feedback on the Design Course

What our students have told us

What our students have said about the Design course

Examples of what they found useful or enjoyed:

Being introduced to new exotic species... learning about management and record keeping and its importance... The course provided some ideas and inspiration for my future project... Selected focus plants contained also several that I decided to include in my list... Practical instruction as well as the wider overview of medicinal aspects within forest garden development, permaculture and global sustainability philosophy... Thank you for putting your energy and time into teaching others and sharing all this incredible and like really inspiring knowledge.

Taking part in the Design course

Students have told us

I really enjoyed our session yesterday on Zoom. I love the practical application of the use of our plants... I wanted to say that I am continung the course and enjoying it... Most useful was the exercise in mapping and thinking about the site spatially, how to organise it. Also did a bit of soil analysis... Looking forward to the next Zoom session. Just working on my map to share with everyone next time... I have used it as an anchor to make sure that the herb garden and forest keeps on track…so here it begins!... So much to think about but I am enjoying the process. Your book and course has been a great companion throughout so far... It was great to come and learn through witnessing what others are doing... I am so pleased I found this course , at this moment in time.

After finishing the Design course

Examples of what students told us of their plans

I will need to design and establish a forest and herb garden for both food and medicine, for my own future homestead (we already have the land). So I can use this knowledge for this project... I am planning on continuing to develop my medicinal herb area in the small patch of forest garden I have, plus explore the posibilty of creating a new area in my front garden, with a view to increasing my knowledge and working with my community... The feedback I received is extremely valuable and it will help me fine-tune many ideas... I strongly believe that creating my own medicinal forest garden will be a major step in staying healthy and vibrant.