Have you ever brought home those little pots of herb plants from the supermarket, arranged them to great effect in fetching containers on your kitchen windowsill , and thrown them out a week or two later, wilted or covered in greenfly? Yep, me too.
Herbs really deserve to be grown in the garden where space and sunlight give them a chance to thrive. Many herbs make super garden plants, and I often include them in the planting plans I produce for my clients, as much for their colour, flower and form as their culinary use.
If you have the space, a dedicated herb garden, maybe with a standard bay tree in the centre, can be a lovely feature, but you can easily fit them in among other plants or even grow them in a pots, as long as you use a decent soil - based compost, such as John Innes - this isn’t a brand name but a formula, and most good garden centres stock it. The trick is to plant them in the conditions that suit them best – herbs with small, aromatic leaves like thyme and rosemary like well drained soil and full sun, while parsley, coriander and mint will tolerate a slightly shadier spot.
Pockets of chamomile tucked in between paving slabs release an incredibly sweet fragrance when stepped on – you need the non-flowering variety, Chamaemelum “Treneague” for this. Try soothing scented lavender planted near a seat - once it has good drainage it can do surprisingly well even in our wet climate.
Here are my top five:
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis )– evergreen and aromatic, a perfect partner for lamb
Golden oregano (Oreganum vulgare “Aureum” ) – soft golden foliage, good in any tomato recipe, and clusters of pretty white flowerheads in summer
Variegated lemon balm (Melissa officinalis “All Gold” ) – lovely lemony scent, makes delicious herbal tea
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris ) – especially the citrus ones
Sage (Salvia officinalis ) – a unique, pungent flavour, evergreen, and the purple-leaved form makes a great companion for many other plants.
TIP OF THE WEEK:
Basil is known as the “king of herbs” for its intoxicating aroma – it really needs warmth but at this time of year you can grow it outside. Tear up the leaves and sprinkle over freshly cooked pasta.
Anne Byrne Garden Design provides easy to follow Garden Plans that you can implement right away or in stages. Anne’s design flair and passion for plants brings a touch of magic to gardens of all sizes.
Anne Byrne Garden Design – Creative Ideas – Practical Solutions – Stunning Gardens
T: 086 683 8098 E: [email protected] contact 091 756766.