All of us, wherever we live, have room for a few herbs to provide us with their delightful smell and maybe to enhance the flavours of our food.
Imagine fresh Basil leaves torn and added to a pizza or pasta topping. Imagine a few leaves of mint torn up and infused into hot water in mug to give you a fresh reviving minty tea. Imagine a few sprigs of Lavender placed in a container in your bedroom wafting its calming scent into the air as you settle down for the night …
So where do we grow herbs?
You do not need a dedicated Herb Garden .. a plant pot will do or a trough. Remember, so many flowers we plant in flower beds are HERBS or derived from herbs. Planting herbs among your flowers is a perfect way to grow them. They will attract insects to your flowers. Planting a pot of Sage and leaving it by your back door will help prevent unwanted insects entering your home, Bet you didn’t know that the smell of sage deters flies! That is one of the reasons that the sage family used to be part of the “strewing herbs” layed on the floors of medieval houses.
Herbs: Their Likes and Dislikes
So you can grow herbs anywhere but they do have some likes and dislikes as to where they grow best.
Many familiar herbs originate in hotter climates .. surviving on shallow soil and maybe stony ground. They are not used to the rich soils we may offer the in our gardens. We have a need to love and nurture our plants in ways that may not benefit them.
Let’s consider a few of these:
Walking in the foothills of the Sierra Navada, on Spain’s Andalucean coast, I often met tangles of sweetly scented Rosemary and Lavenders. No only do they suffer drought for months on end, their soils are thin and stony. This means that they drain well. In such climates, these plants create deep anchoring roots and a second set of shallower roots to catch the rain from a sudden shower. They certainly don’t get handfuls of fertiliser to help them grow! Similarly with Thyme and Oregano (Marjoram) though they put their roots in slightly richer soil. Lemon Verbena .. a taller shrubby herb and the low shrubby Sage grow well in similar climates.
The softer leaved herbs are usually annuals. This means that they grow from seed each year and flower, finally producing their own seed which is dispersed locally (sometimes completing this cycle more than once a year!) This group includes the beautiful Basil family.
The huge mint family love water and are happy to have their underground roots in wet soils. But again do NOT need any additional feeding.
Some leafy herbs prefer shaded areas … garlics surprisingly are one of these groups .. one of my delights is walking in a nearby woodland in the spring with the scent of Wild Garlic (Ramsons) on the breeze.
Herbs are not fussy plants. If you want them to flourish in your gardens, respect their needs and don’t over water and overfeed them.
You can check out their growing needs by reading seeds packets or looking them up on our website. Or indeed downloading a copy of our Discovering Herbs ebook from out shop. You are also VERY WELCOME to ask us for help!!
The MOST IMPORTANT thing is that you ENJOY your herbs.