Design your own healing forest garden

Including medicinal trees and shrubs

Forest gardens can be highly productive. Although many of the plants could be used for health purposes it can be hard to find advice to help you choose and plan effectively. 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. Every sign up for this course helps to fund the Medicinal Forest Garden Trust
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

Your tutor is Anne Stobart, an experienced medical herbalist and herb grower. Anne previously managed a herbal medicine degree programme at Middlesex University in London. She has published several books including Household Medicine in Seventeenth-Century England and The Medicinal Forest Garden Handbook. Anne is a co-founder of Holt Wood Herbs, a medicinal tree and shrub project in Devon, UK. This online design course is based on successful short courses that Anne has previously run. You will have the opportunity to meet Anne at optional Zoom session linked to the course.

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.

Watch Intro Video

See the Introductory Video

About the Medicinal Forest Garden Design course

Course curriculum

  • 1


  • 3

    Lesson 2. Why grow medicinal trees?

    • 2. Why Grow Medicinal Trees Outline

    • Why Grow Medicinal Trees Video Part 1

    • Download Violet Willow Tree Information Sheet

    • Why Grow Medicinal Trees Video Part 2

    • Activity: Why Grow Medicinal Trees Quiz

    • 2. Further Information

  • 4

    Lesson 3. Assessing your site and resources

    • 3. Assessing Your Site and Resources Outline

    • Assessing Your Site and Resources Video Part 1

    • Download Elder Tree Information Sheet

    • Assessing Your Site and Resources Video Part 2

    • Activity: Make a base map

    • 3. Further Information

  • 5

    Lesson 4. Amazing medicinal trees to consider

    • 4. Amazing Medicinal Trees To Consider Outline

    • Amazing Medicinal Trees To Consider Video Part 1

    • Download Ginkgo tree information sheet

    • Amazing Medicinal Trees to Consider Video Part 2

    • Activity: Soil Analysis

    • 4. Further Information

  • 6

    Lesson 5. Shrubs, climbers and ground cover

    • 5. Shrubs, Climbers and Ground Cover Outline

    • Shrubs, Climbers and Ground Cover Video Part 1

    • Download Medicinal Shrubs List

    • Shrubs, Climbers and Ground Cover Video Part 2

    • Activity: Start your Plant Wishlist

    • 5 Further Information

  • 7

    Lesson 6. The design plan

    • 6. The Design Plan Outline

    • The Design Plan Video Part 1

    • Download Sweet Gum Tree Information Sheet

    • The Design Plan Video Part 2

    • Matching Quiz: Can You Match Each Activity to a Permaculture Zone

    • 6. Further Information

  • 8

    Lesson 7. Sourcing and propagating plants

    • 7. Sourcing and Propagating Plants Outline

    • Sourcing and Propagating Plants Video Part 1

    • Download Forsythia Information Sheet

    • Sourcing and Propagating Plants Video Part 2

    • Activity: Quiz on Propagation Practices

    • 7. Further Information

  • 9

    Lesson 8. Establishing the medicinal forest garden

    • 8. Establishing the Medicinal Forest Garden Outline

    • Establishing the Medicinal Forest Garden Video Part 1

    • Download Oregon Grape Information Sheet

    • Establishing the Medicinal Forest Garden Video Part 2

    • Activity: Make a Planting List

    • 8. Further Information

  • 10

    Lesson 9. Maintaining harvests

    • 9. Maintaining Harvests Outline

    • Maintaining Harvests Video Part 1

    • Download Birch Tree Information Sheet

    • Maintaining Harvests Video Part 2

    • Activity: Create Your Own Forest Garden Diary

    • 9. Further Information

  • 11

    Lesson 10. Developing your medicinal forest garden

    • 10 Developing the Medicinal Forest Garden Outline

    • Developing the Medicinal Forest Garden Video Part 1

    • Download Alder Buckthorn Tree Information Sheet

    • Developing the Medicinal Forest Garden Video Part 2

    • Activity: Feedback Questionnaire

    • 10. Further Information

  • 12

    Extra Information

    • Extra: Glossary of Useful Terms

    • Plant Names A to Z Sorted

    • Finding Out More From The Medicinal Forest Garden Trust

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. See regular blog and other posts to encourage sustainable growing of medicinal plants.

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.