GREEN PATCH: Design with Herbs

| October/November 2004

My herbs grow well enough, but they are not particularly pretty.How can I redesign my garden so it looks as good as it tastes andsmells?


Most herbs earn their places based on usefulness rather thanlooks, but this does not mean that an herb garden can’t bebeautiful. Borrow a few ideas from flower garden design to createan herb garden that pleases all of your senses.

First, let’s consider a few practical points. Culinary herbs, inparticular, need to be accessible because you shouldn’t have totiptoe among other plants each time you want a few snips of basilor parsley. Edges are always the easiest places to reach, so themore edges you have, the better. This is one of the reasons whylong, border-type gardens are so popular. Circular gardens are fun,too, with edges inside the circle as well as along its rim.

The precise shape doesn’t matter, but in the interest ofneatness, all edges should be well defined. This can be done withplants, brick, stone, wood or low panels of hand-made wattle(slender green sticks woven between upright posts).

In a border viewed from one side, short or mound-forming plantsshould go in the front, with taller ones in the rear, so the plantsare stacked into layers according to height. If the bed is morethan 4 feet deep, include steppingstones inside the bed so you’llbe able to move around freely between your plants. In a round,square or rectangular garden, place the tallest plants in thecenter.

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