Herb Gardens

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The traditional way of planting a herb garden is in a potager. This is a formal bed design, often edged with a low box hedge, with pathways for easy tending and harvesting. The paths of a potager both organise it and create a pleasing design. Gravel, cobbles, brick, crazy paving or bark can be used to good effect for the paths, and alternative edging plants such as chives, feverfew or decorative cabbages can be used for a less formal edging arrangement.

When planning your herb garden consider the position. Most herbs prefer an open sunny position, but will tolerate some shade. As with all new planting the herb garden will benefit from good soil preparation and the removal of stones. The plot can be as large or as small as you like, and can then be subdivided according to your chosen design. A cartwheel effect can be created in a circular bed. A semi circle could be subdivided by paving into segments or concentric bands. A rectangle could contain a pattern of squares and triangles.


Now for the planting. There are the usual kitchen staples of parsley, sage, rosemary, mint and thyme. Chives are useful to keep away garden pests, and are an invaluable food source for bees with their tall lilac flowers. Hyssop is a hardy evergreen shrub with blue, pink or white flowers, which are also a favourite of bees. Feverfew is easy to grow and has appealing white daisy flowers. Mint, bergamot, oregano and lemon balm are all very invasive, so should be planted in the bed in their pots.

Herbs that can create a carpeting effect offer the bonus of suppressing weeds. Planted along the edges of pathways they creep along naturally, softening the overall look and releasing their aromas as they are trodden on or brushed aginst. Useful examples of creepers are the thyme “snowdrift” which clings low to the ground and is covered in white flowers, and creeping pennyroyal, which has a strong pepermint scent, bright green foliage and mauve flowers (this has the added bonus of being an insect repellent). Creeping savory is ground hugging and highly aromatic, with white flowers.

Herbs are also good subjects for pots, as most of them thrive on the restriction and well drained growing medium that can be provided in a pot. Try using a large strawberry pot or just cluster a few pots of different herbs together for a mini herb garden. However much space you've got, make the most of it by having your own herb garden.

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Guest Thursday, 27 July 2017