Project Idea: Herb Garden

Herb gardens date back to at least the medieval times when most homes would have had a kitchen garden or similar. Many of the herbs were used in cooking but also for medicinal purposes as well, certainly in the early medieval times some herbs were thought to dispel evil spirits and even used in exorcisms. You can find some great examples of herb gardens through history at the Weald and Downland Museum if you live in the South East of England or have a look at the Telegraphs list of Finest Herb Gardens in Britain.

For me I love the idea of having a little kitchen garden, not only do they look and smell beautiful knowing that I can pop out when cooking a Sunday roast and cut a couple of sprigs of rosemary is very comforting and screams the good life. I had the makings of a herb garden but it was looking a bit tired and overgrown and sadly my standard rosemary and lavender plants didn’t make it through the last winter. It was the push I needed to get on with the project and create a useful and attractive herb garden that was more easily manageable than what was there before.

I already had a few herbs in the bed that were salvageable including bay, fennel and sage. The sage plant was thriving and stunning. I had bought it from someone selling herbs outside their house and just put the pot in the herb bed and clearly forgotten about it. The plants had grown through the pot and was so deeply rooted and clearly doing very well. This is where I took my inspiration from and built on that. If the sage could grow through a pot then why not smash the bottom out of some broken pots I already have and plant my herbs in those creating a sort of raised herb garden. Although this is very experimental I see it as having a few advantages. Firstly, the herbs will stay relatively contained making weeding and keeping on top of the bed much easier. Secondly as the pots won’t have bottoms the plants roots will have access to water without drying out.

Next the fun part, choosing which new herbs I wanted to grow. As I was mostly planning on using herbs in cooking I wanted to add in some delicious aromatic choices like rosemary, thyme, chives, parsley and oregano. I was also keen to add in some more unusual herbs that would add colour and charm to the bed so I chose Jacobs ladder, angelica, hyssop and salvia. Smashing the pots was very fun indeed, then I arranged them so that there would be different heights of herbs throughout and different colours but so they were all accessible.

The end result was amazing, so easy and relatively low cost due to reusing what I found in the garden. In total I spent about £30 on herbs and bought one new pot which was £6.99. I plan to infill the gaps with some marigolds and asters which are currently keeping warm in the greenhouse to add some colour whilst the other herbs are establishing themselves. I am so happy with this project and can’t wait to start using all these herbs in cooking!