Whoever would have thought a couple of months ago that a visit to the garden centre would become such an eagerly awaited event? Suddenly somewhere you popped into to pick up a few bits without thinking – a bag of compost, a bird feeder and a six pack of lettuce plants – became a Destination. Outfits were chosen and displayed on social media. Lists were made and a flask and sandwiches packed in the car just in case the queues were so long you couldn’t get home in time for lunch.
Our local garden centres are just one of the many things we view differently now, and appreciate with an enthusiasm even the greenest fingered among us couldn’t have foreseen. The best spring weather in living memory and all the other ‘unforeseen circumstances’ have combined to produce a perfect storm of garden appreciation. And for many, it’s a completely new experience – they’ve pretty much looked out the window and realised that the flat space outside is actually a garden, and you can grow things in it. And then you can eat them. So where do you start?
You can’t go wrong with herb plants and they’re probably the gateway drug that gets a lot of us hooked. I deploy them all the time in planting schemes – sage, rosemary and thyme are all evergreen and perennial – so they will last for years, and be available for cooking all year round. Golden oregano – Origanum vulgare ‘Aureum’ – has gorgeously bright lime green leaves and flowers in summer – perfect for cottage gardens.
You can even get away with planting supermarket herbs outside at this frost-free time of year – handy to know if they’re the only shop you have access to. I pop them into smallish teracotta pots as they’re usually fairly delicate when the cellophane wrapping comes off – and each supermarket pot contains lots of small individual plants crowded together because they’re cheaper to produce that way. Basil, coriander and parsley are some of the best candidates. Mint is brilliant for making your own mint tea – but don’t plant it in a border as it’s invasive and spreads very quickly. And we all know you need to be careful of things that do that.
Aromatic basil should be safe outside now that the risk of frost has passed.
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