On a cold blustery day in May, imagination is required … but warm balmy summer evenings do lie ahead and what better way to spend them than surrounded by the scent of herbal oils and the hum of bees.
Many of us grow our herbs amongst our flowers and veg, like Alys Fowler’s ‘Edible Garden’, or in pots by the kitchen door – the choice dictated by the cook’s requirements. There’s sure to be chives, thyme, sage or rosemary amongst them. As you get hooked and try a few more, a dedicated herb garden is very appealing, if you have the space.
In the early nineties, herb wheels were the thing, originally planted in old cart wheels or an arrangement of bricks as spokes. They still look good in an informal or cottage setting; herbs chosen should have roughly the same growing habit/height.
Herbs look good in a formal setting too surrounded by the straight or curving lines of box hedges, the hedging maintaining structure during the winter months. Although charming, it can prove to be additional work tending to the trimming of the buxus so keep it simple, unless you enjoy kneeling and trimming. An alternative would be to edge the beds with something like chives – pretty and edible.
Placing herbs in a formal way can be achieved by a chequerboard effect with paving slabs, accessible and pretty.
Place a bench at the end of the bed, preferably west-facing to catch the evening sun, to entice you to pause and inhale the scents.
Rustic looking containers of wattle panels are very decorative or plant a variety in a pretty basket on a table on the terrace.
They also look excellent in raised beds – easy for the cook to snip and a ledge to perch on.
Herbs enjoy free-draining soil in the sun. They are edible, medicinal, decorative and perfect for pollinators.
There are many benefits to growing herbs and, in the summer months, a herb garden is sure to be a favourite part of your garden.