I love herbs, whether they’re added to meals when cooking, sprinkled on salads and sandwich fillings, or even in tea (there’s nothing nicer than four or five fresh leaves of mint or lemon balm in a cup of hot water). Some herbs, like lavender, are great as room fresheners.
Sweet marjoram, curry plants, cress and dill
We are lucky in that we already have big sage bushes, lavender, rosemary and lemon balm in the verge in front us that all the neighbours use.
Coriander doing well, basil in other half of pot just poking through
So it was important when we were setting our garden up to grow fruit and veg that we should set aside a space for other herbs. There is one natural spot near the kitchen which is a nice stone-bordered growing patch, but it is full of beautiful flowers. I just couldn’t bring myself to tear them out, and they didn’t look like the sturdy types that would survive being moved.
The next idea was to set aside one of our beds for herbs, but as we are intending to rotate the crops, I didn’t think the herbs would be happy to move as well. We then considered the sloped parts of the garden where we have shrubs at the moment, but again, it didn’t seem right to dig them up to make way for the herbs. There is one narrow strip where there are no big plants, but it’s very stony and next to the neighbour’s patch of woodland which is prone to what I call “ivy creep”.
Lemon thyme, French parsley and mint
In the end, I decided to grow the herbs in pots close to the back door. It’s a area that catches the sun from mid-morning, but there is also a hedge where the herbs that like shade can hide. I’ve grown most of them from seed and so far all are doing well, except the parsley that hasn’t germinated yet. I have it on good authority that parsley is a slow starter that takes about six weeks to get going, so we have to remain patient. The French parsley I bought already growing in a pot is looking a bit sickly, so I’m experimenting with different spots for it. Perhaps it just needs a bigger pot.
In the first few weeks of having our herb garden, we’ve already enjoyed the coriander and cress. It is really satisfying to pop outside with scissors to harvest them. Fingers crossed we get some parsley soon.
Chives in an old window box
Cress (plus lovely pak choi to use up the space)