Why not create your own herb garden. And
carry on a tradition that has been passed
on from generation to generation since the
dawn of time? Herbs are some of the easiest
plants to grow, and if you are a novice
to gardening, they teach you a lot.
to site your herb garden?
The sunniest part of your garden. Perhaps
near the place where you like to sit in
the summer, or a sunny border, which gets
sun for most of the day. Herbs like
an open, sunny but sheltered site, with
neutral to alkaline soil, with good drainage.
Most of the common herbs like lavender,
thyme, rosemary, sage, winter savoury and
marjoram are native to the Mediterranean,
so they like similar conditions to those
they originated in.
If you have clay soil, the best thing to
do is roughly digging over the soil in autumn,
and leave the clods to be broken down by
frost over the winter. This works
by the rough soil being exposed to the wet
weather, and soaked by water, and when the
frosts come, the clods expand, and break
down. My garden is heavy clay soil,
and it really does work that way!
Then in early spring - and this goes for
sandy, chalky or silt soil as well - dig
through plenty of organic matter, such as
well-rotted garden or mushroom compost.
This will provide the free-draining and
fertile bed your herbs will love.
You will not need to feed or fertilize your
herbs, as they will then produce lots of
soft, lush growth, but no flavour, or aroma,
and no resistance to frost.
The planning for your herb garden is only
limited by the size of your plot, and your
imagination. What would you like to
grow? And how big will it get??
When you buy herbs in pots from a garden
centre, on the label it will tell you how
tall, and wide your plant will get.
Often, packets of seeds will give you the
same information. When planning your
garden, you will need to take into account
the eventual size of your plants.
For instance, if you are planning an island
border in your lawn, the tallest herbs go
in the centre, and the lower-growing ones
on the outside. For example, angelica
grows to over 6 feet, so you would not like
to have it near the front of your border.
For a garden in an established border, the
tallest plants go to the back near the fence,
and the lower ones in the front.
The selection of different varieties of
herbs is enough to make your head spin!
For instance, there are more than 40 varieties
of thyme, from the silver leafed T. Silver
Posie, to the golden and green
leafed T. Bertram Anderson. Purple
sage, Tricolour sage…. the list is endless.
You don't need all varieties of one herb,
but with a minimum of effort, you can end
up with a fragrant, beautiful part of your
garden, with colours ranging from cream
to glossy green, to silver, and all shades
of pink to deep purple.
If your space is limited, herbs do wonderfully well
in containers. Use good multi-purpose
compost, and make sure the containers have
good drainage. You must make sure
the containers are kept well watered, as
they tend to dry out a lot quicker than
if they are planted in the ground.
A wooden barrel planted with parsley, trailing
thyme, chives, sage, basil, coriander, tarragon,
and with French lavender planted in the
center looks very effective, and on a balcony
or patio outside your back door is very
handy for access to your herbs on rainy
days! You could even put a selection of
herbs in a hanging basket. Parsley,
chives, thyme, coriander, with creeping
rosemary, and basil will all be suitable.
However, some herbs are invasive, so you
must be careful what you put in your containers,
as they can take over. For instance,
mint is very invasive, and is best kept
out of the garden, and put in a container
of it's own.
in a Hanging basket
Perhaps in its own hanging basket.
It throws out growth from its roots, and
you may find a patch of mint making an appearance
in your lawn! If you want to put mint
in your garden, set it in a pot in the ground,
or a large bucket with the bottom taken
off. In my experience, it is a lot
easier to give mint its own pot, and then
you have no worries about a surprise patch
of mint suddenly appearing amongst the busy
lizzies in the next border! And they
won't like that at all…. they like all the
attention to themselves!!!
A selection of different sized pots, planted
with herbs looks lovely grouped together.
Lavender in the largest pot, marjoram or
oregano in the second pot, mint in the third,
and trailing thyme in the smallest.
Matching pots, or pots painted in colours
to compliment their occupants looks very
cool. Strawberry pots planted with
lavender or chives on the top, and other
herbs peeking out of the holes are also
very effective, and handy for small spaces,
or for quick access near your kitchen door.
Using your herbs>>
History & uses of herbs>>