The wise woman was traditionally an unofficial witch doctor of a village or location. She would be well versed in plant lore, and would grow many healing plants in her own garden as well as knowing where to collect others from local fields, woods and hedgerows.
People would visit to ask for a remedy for anything from warts to unrequited love, and she would give them charms and cures to help them. Many people still continue this tradition and study plant lore in association with the traditional arts of astrology and with charms and rituals. The garden is one of the most obvious places to observe the progress of the seasons, as the flowers in it grow, die and reappear the following year. The cycle of the year is also marked by the signs of the zodiac as they pass across the heavens. Since the planets rule astrological signs, the plants became associated with the signs.
The plants listed below are used to treat people born under the matching sign, or to treat the part of the body also governed by the same plant. In 1645 Culpeper allocated herbs to each zodiac sign, and recommended using these herbs to treat people born under the sign with which the herb was associated. The wise woman's garden would then include a wheel-shaped herb garden, divided into 12, each section containing the herbs associated with a different sign.