The best type of planting schemes are those that serve a number of purposes. The schemes that are not only beautiful to look at, that retain interest throughout the whole year, but that also benefit our insect population and in some ways benefit us.
The Ultimate Multi-functional Space
For this reason I love a herb garden. If you choose the right mix of herbs, a herb garden will continue to provide interest throughout the year. The flowers of most herbs are also a source of pollen and nectar for many of our very important insects. Shrubbier herbs, such as rosemary and sage, can provide habitat for birds and small mammals and a hiding spot for lizards and slow worms (although they often prefer a warm log pile or compost heap). And the perennial nature of a herb garden means that the soil remains relatively undisturbed and requires no additional chemicals or fertilisers. The soil, if left undisturbed, will work with the plants to create a self-sustaining system that supports millions of tiny microbes, hundreds of earthworms and the plants themselves.
Herbs are also beautiful to look at and are very useful to us. A large number of easy to grow herbs can be used for cooking, for simple medicines, aromatherapy and DIY beauty products and even to create dyes for fabrics.
A Straightforward Herb Garden Design
So this month I'm going to give you a very simple herb garden design. These plants require a sunny, well drained site. I've allowed for an area that is just over 4 metres long by 2 metres wide. You may, of course, have a different sized area to work with, but can use my planting scheme as a guide to create your own herb garden to suit your individual needs and requirements. I often find it useful to make a list of what I want the plants to provide me with and use this as a basis for selecting what to grow (although don’t forget to also consider the growing conditions). It can also help to mark out the final shapes and sizes of the plants you want to include on to a plan of your growing area.
For additional inspiration on gardening with herbs I always refer people to Jekka McVicar. Read her books, visit her beautiful nursery or trawl through the Jekkapedia on her website. Jekka is the guru of gardening with herbs and has been growing herbs organically for over 30 years.
A herb garden for a sunny site on well-drained soil:
Rosmarinus officinalis 'Miss Jessop's Upright' / 1 Valeriana officinalis / 1 Lonicera periclymenum 'Graham Thomas' / 1 Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum' / 1 Helichrysum italicum / 1 Hyssopus officinalis / 1 Alchemilla mollis / 3 Verbena officinalis / 3 Stachys officinalis / 3 Agastache foeniculum / 3 Origanum majorana / 1 Salvia officinalis 'Purpurascens' / 1 Thymus vulgaris 'Silver Posie' / 1 Rumex sanguineus / 3
A Little Bit of Inspiration
If you are still not sure what you want to grow or whether your planting ideas will work, get in touch with me at Wild Edge Garden Design and I can guide you through the process.
To receive regular blog posts, tips and advice subscribe to my website through the link at the bottom of this page.