A well-designed herb garden is a thing of beauty that will serve you well for years to come. Herbs are fairly easy to grow just about anywhere, but there are a few things to consider before you get started.
The first thing you need to do is find a sunny, well-drained, location in your yard. Although there are some herbs that do well in the shade, most herbs prefer plenty of sunlight to keep them happy.
Your next step is to decide what type of herb garden would best suit your needs. If having herbs for your recipes is your main desire, you will be planting an edible, or culinary herb garden. If you are looking to have a restful place to unwind at the end of the day, a fragrant, or potpourri herb garden might be for you. If you mostly like to use herbs for their healing qualities, then you’ll be planting a medicinal herb garden. Not sure? You might want to think about planting a combination of all three types.
A trip to your local gardening center is a good way to get a look at the herbs that are available in your area and to get a good look at some of the herbs that aren’t familiar. Leafing through a few gardening books and magazines will give you an idea of which herbs go well together and which color schemes you might want to choose for your garden.
Once you’ve decided on which type of herbs you’d like to have growing in your garden, you’ll need to decide what style of herb garden you’d like to have in your yard. Herb gardens usually fall into one of two categories: formal or informal. Your choice should be made to match the style of your home and your taste.
A formal herb garden is a well-structured, organized garden that is sometimes surrounded by a border of shrubs and has all of its herbs planted neatly in compartmentalized areas, keeping each type of herb separated and on its own.
An informal herb garden is just what the name implies — informal. There are no strict rules to follow. You can mix and match your herbs in whatever style or shape you desire. Of course, there are things to watch out for, such as height, invasiveness, and growing compatibility between the plants chosen, but all in all there are no set patterns.
After you’ve chosen the type and style of your garden, it is best to design your herb garden on paper before actually planting anything. Graph paper works really well for this but isn’t necessary if you don’t have any paper available. Don’t worry about the quality of your drawing abilities; you aren’t trying to be Van Gogh here. You just want to have a good idea of what your finished garden will look like before you start breaking ground. It’s a lot easier to erase a mistake on paper than it is to remove and re-dig your plants once they are settled in the ground.
Start by drawing the outline shape of your planting area. Next, you’ll need to add any permanent fixtures that exist in the area, like walkways, benches, trees or patios. Now comes the fun part; start adding your herbs! Use simple symbols like triangles, squares, or circles to mark off each type of herb and where you’re planning to plant each one.
You might want to make several different plans and then choose your favorite. Once you’ve made all of your decisions and found a design you love, get out there and start planting!
I absolutely love the herb garden in the wicker baskets but, my concern is will those baskets hold up through the summer season – heavy rains, or hail?
I would guess baskets would only stand the weather for so long… You can probably extend their life by spraying then with a sealer before using them,and don’t plant directly in them, use pots!
As a person who both gardens and weaves baskets on occassion, it looks to me like the wicker work isn’t a basket, it’s used like a wall to seperate plants. If you look closely, the uprights are staked into the ground. They look to be branches that had been trimmed off of fruit trees, or vines, which means that they are not only a renewable resource, but an excellent use of what would otherwise be yard waste. Likewise, the woven material seems to be either thinner branches, vines, or carefully died basketry reed.
If I’m right, it also makes it easy to replace any woven wall if damaged by weather, careless mowers, or the natural entropy of the Universe.
If you’re using this for outdoor planting, I would recomend not using spray paint or sealants. Sealants and spray paints can release chemicals into your soil (and therefore your plants), they keep the wicker work from being able to biodegrade (and provide you with some added compost), and it makes the wicker more fragile, because it keeps the reed from being able to swell and contract with the environment.
How to Create an Herb Garden
Herbs were one of the very first edible plants I grew from seed over thirty years ago and they’re a great way to begin the journey of growing your own. They’re undemanding plants and can grow well in containers outside your door, in flower beds or in specially built herb gardens.
If you’ve thought about growing herbs but aren’t sure where to begin, the following will help you to start growing and picking your own herbs from your garden this year.
Soil Conditions for Herbs
Most herbs prefer warm, open sites that aren’t subjected to prevailing winds and are out-of-the-way of frost pockets.
Ensure the site has been cleared of pernicious weeds and there’s good drainage, which is essential for growing herbs as the majority of the ones mentioned below don’t like sitting in water. Try to prepare the area you’ll be planting herbs into a few weeks before planting time. This will allow you to remove any weeds that have grown in the disturbed soil.
Herbs generally like to grow in fertile soil with a neutral pH that isn’t too rich, so home-made kitchen compost or leafmould forked in as a soil conditioner when you’re preparing the soil will be perfect. If you don’t have your own compost to hand yet, head into a garden centre and ask the staff to point you in the direction of a good soil improver.
Herb Garden Design
When you’re choosing herbs to plant in the garden, it’s a good idea to place taller varieties in the back of the bed and smaller ones at the front. In a circular bed place the taller plants in the middle.
With a careful mix of colour, leaf shape and texture you can create a herb garden that will be a joy to be in. For instance, tall architectural plants such as silvery globe artichokes are shown to their very best if they’re accompanied by the soft, feathery foliage of a bronze leafed fennel.
If you’d like some ideas for more popular hardy, kitchen herbs that are suitable for growing outside in Irish gardens click here for a free PDF of Popular Herbs.
How many plants?
A basic rule of thumb is ten plants per square metre (one plant per square foot) which will give you something to look at during the first year and a good effect thereon after.
Smaller plants such as chamomile and thyme will need to be planted closer and can make good edging plants.
Very little maintenance is required in the herb garden bar keeping the weeds down. Allow them to settle down and establish before you begin to pick them for the kitchen and make sure they don’t dry out if they’re in containers.
Are you growing herbs yet? There’s nothing like snipping a few leaves of fragrant plants you’ve grown yourself and adding them to dinners or refreshing drinks.
Yes, the pallet projects truly seem never ending, which is fantastic when considering that these things are pretty easy to get for free. This project is actually ridiculously easy, and you get to paint and decorate your planter however you want.
I think some chalkboard paint could work well here too – that way you can name each herb.
DIY Instructions and Project Credit – DIYnCrafts
When selecting plants for a formal herb garden, consider the growth habits and mature sizes of the plants. Place low creepers, like thyme and chamomile, on opposite path edges to complement each other. Put more aggressive herbs, like mints and lemon balm, in pots either above or below the ground.
Most herbs used for culinary purposes won't be allowed to flower early in the season. So focus on texture and foliage color to bring a sense of fullness to your herb garden design.
Make sure all the plants can be accessed, both for harvesting and maintenance, without walking into the beds. The paths should be at least three feet wide for easy walking. Since this is a formal garden, the paths can be paved or mulched to provide the axis for the garden.
The garden design shown here contains 20 different herb plants. Most of these plants will flower at some point in the season, but there is plenty of variety with just the plant shapes and textures. The sprawlers are kept to a minimum, to retain a somewhat formal feel. You can, of course, improvise any way that suits you.
The color scheme is another unifying element that adds to the formality. It makes use of the complementary color combos of purple/yellow and blue/orange. If the orange of the calendula and nasturtiums is too bold for you, you can always substitute one of the paler yellow varieties or the pink variety of calendula.
The center of a formal herb garden is usually the focal point. Even though there is a formality, the focal point is a chance for you to show your gardening personality. It could be a large herb plant, such as a sweet bay tree or large potted rosemary. Many gardeners like to put a garden ornament in the center of their herb gardens, like a birdbath, either as a bath or as a planter. Another popular feature is placing a sundial in a small center bed and surrounding it with thyme plants. Whimsy is permitted in a formal herb garden.
Below is a list of plants used in this basic garden design (read on for more detail), but remember, the plants you choose to use (and number and variety) will depend on the specifics of your garden.