A medicine wheel garden is a Native American tradition of creating circular gardens that are built according to astrological and environmental placement. This type of garden typically contains herbs, food crops, flowers, trees, shrubs and seeds from their traditional use in Native American remedies.
The basic design of a medicine wheel garden follows the native idea that the center circle represents the individual. The four other circles represent an equal division of space into North, South, East and West categories. In many ways this method is similar to astrology where one half is defined by the four cardinal points while each other half shares traits with its corresponding astrological sign (i.e., Cancer would be represented in both a North section and a West section). Each quadrant in the garden contains specific plants that are associated with different aspects of life. These associations reflect what each plant was used for in traditional medicine, their astrology signs and the time of year they need to be planted.
To create a medicine wheel garden one must consider the cardinal points, what direction it will face, where to place water features (if desired) and where to locate your path to walk around the medallion. Distance is not important when it comes to this type of design because you can plant closer or further apart depending on how much room you have available.
Deciding which plants to use is an essential part of making a medicine wheel garden. Native Americans typically chose various types of berries, shrubs, flowers and trees that were typically associated with the area. This allowed for a good diet and medicine as well as vibrant colors to delight their senses.
Because this idea is not native to other parts of the world, one does not have to follow Native American tradition when making a medicine wheel garden. You can choose any plants you desire or even combine other garden ideas such as vertical gardening or other Native American designs such as a butterfly garden.