The Herb Garden Revisited

It's two years since we started the groundworks on the herb garden. Today you would never know that this was once a dumping ground for building rubble and with that in mind we are revisiting it. The garden has settled in but some things have worked and others have died or self seeded; the daisies have even spread into the road beside our car and we are happy to see them bobbing around out there. This time next year they will be in the verges. However, somethings didn't work, the golden oregano has suffered, and is being crowded out, as where have the strawberries gone? We have solutions, we don't have the money but we can rebuild them. Steve Austin slo-mo gardening style.

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The front garden, especially around the door and pond has become home to pots, this is a direct influence of Christopher Lloyd, and his garden, Great Dixter. We're not on the same scale as his front door but our little attempt brings colour and joy to the herb garden.


Great Dixter, gardening, life on pig row


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We've mixed in some herbs too, a thyme, some mint and even a fig tree is responding well to being in the baking sun by our front door. It even has one solitary piece of fruit on it. Here we have lavender too because it would never last in open ground up here but that aside, today in the open beds we have planted some tree onions and rosemary to go beside the new apothecary rose, replacing the thug that was Wedding Day rose, which is now being a thug in our hedges in the back garden. Back to the strawberries, and these were being crowded out in the mixed herb border, some even vanished and were destroyed by slugs; not even Steve Austin jumping over our wall in a 1970s cyborg way saved them. So we dug up the remaining onesp in spring and moved them to clearer areas in the bed and into our homemade planter (you can learn how to make one here). The principle is simple, in a large planter like this we get around five plants but in some of the smaller pots, just one. Never be tempted to cram too many plants into one pot unless you're willing to keeping feeding them high nitrogen (for the green stuff) and phosphorous (for the flowers and fruit) throughout the summer. It won't work, that's often what the ready made stuff does, a great shot of greenery and then death because the roots can't keep up and when roots are in pots they compete with fluctuating temperatures and vine weevil. Cue Steve Austin jumping in, get your rulers out on the edge of desk and ping them as you move them back and forth. For those who watch Six Million Dollar Man, you know what we are talking about, the rest go to YouTube.

Strawberry growing

The variety, Mara de Bois, is responding well to being in a planter and fruit has set, as have many flowers in the mixed herb borders.


herb garden

The Valerian is becoming a bit of a thug but there are other thugs in there to keep it in check. The fennel we planted to give privacy to next door's front garden is doing the job, both for the kitchen and for screening.


herb garden ideas

We have left the new Apothecary Rose in a pot, learning from our past mistakes with roses to see how it grow in its first season, and it is growing well. It should eventually fill this entire corner by the pond.


Apothecary rose

That corner has failed a little, as you can see below. It starts out well in spring but as summer slides in the spring growth dies back, and this means the rose will fill this space in another year or two.


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