Saturday, 13 July 2013

Tips for Growing a Herb Garden

I've always loved herb gardens but have never previously had the right garden to grow one.

Two years ago we moved into an 1860s workmens' terrace that was built with decent sized - by London standards - sunny front gardens in which the original residents could grow veg, herbs & flowers, cottage style.

Finally, the ideal setting for my dream garden.

Before we could get started we had to dig up the whole lot to repair the damage that 150 years of tree growth and some very near miss WW2 bombs had done to the drains.

As the street is built on an old marsh and we have an underground river - that pops up every now and again - at the end of it, drains are something we take seriously around here :-)

I spent ages planning ideas that would give me the look I was after.

But as all best laid plans must go to waste as soon as we started digging last spring, the rain started. And it rained and rained and rained for 3 months none stop. In the end I just had to get out there in the rain and plant what I could, where I could.

And so it's through luck rather than judgement ... and a lot of lessons learnt ...  that we are now something close to my original dream if not my plan.

Regular blog readers will know I NEVER do before and after photos ... firstly, because my photography skills are rubbish and secondly, because I rarely have an "after" to brag about.

But on this occasion I really am just that little bit proud of what I have achieved and so here ... with the help of my sister's camera ... are my before and after photos plus a list (of course) of my top tips for starting a herb garden.


The garden in May 2012 ...

Source: Google


My dream herb garden in July 2013 packed full of lavender, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, chives, oregano, chamomile and mint plus chard, spring onions, poppies, campanula, honeysuckle, cow parsley and at least a few plants I can no longer remember the name of ...

Tips for Starting a Cottage Style Herb Garden

  1. Lavender & rosemary give year round structure ... be patient whilst they grow
  2. They both grow well from cuttings - beg them off friends with healthy plants 
  3. Prune lavender flower stalks and an inch of growth at end of summer
  4. If you forget at the end of the summer you can prune in spring
  5. Prune rosemary well late summer & tidy in spring
  6. Watch out for rosemary beetles ... look pretty but destroy rosemary & lavender!
  7. Mint is a useful filler whilst establishing garden but thin rigorously
  8. You can split mint, thyme and oregano at end of summer to distribute plants
  9. Cut back chamomile, oregano & thyme after flowering to encourage growth
  10. Chives are cheap & easy to grow and their pretty flowers attract bees 
  11. Basil, coriander & parsley are easy to grow from seeds
  12. Be relaxed about weeds ...  a few nettles are good for bees & butterflies 
  13. Leave some random spaces for growing attractive veg e.g. chard
  14. Collect poppy heads from anyone whose got them & scatter seeds for colour
  15. Fox gloves are pretty but if self seed remove them as dangerous amongst herbs
  16. Mix in some tall stuff such as fennel or chamomile
  17. Most herbs won't flower until June so do plant some bulbs for spring colour

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  1. Hi, your garden came out really pretty after all that hard work. I saw it on say g'day!

  2. Your garden is beautiful!! I am jealous of the space. I planted and herb garden this year first one! I used a pallet since my space is super limited. I could just come and drink coffee in your herb garden, lol!!

  3. Your garden looks great! I love growing herbs, they are great in so many recipes :)

  4. Great ideas. I have a little herb garden. You've inspired me to do more with it. Poppies would look great.

  5. Neat ideas and what a transformation with the garden! Thanks ever so much for linking up to How Does Your Garden Grow? x

  6. Alice your house looks lovely and your garden even better well done you xxx

  7. What a difference, incredible! Great tips too :)

  8. Not the exact type of answer that i'm searching for but yeah, it's something related .Anyway, if possible, can you give a little bit more of explanation as in picture it would be nice. But for now, i'm satisfied with your effort to provide the info. hope to hear more from you. And nice garden...


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