Garden Spaces: Plans for a Front-Step Garden

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Illustration by Gayle Ford
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<strong>• Basil</strong> (<em>Ocimum basilicum</em>): This annual culinary favorite comes in many forms. Try bright green ‘Genoa’ for making pesto.</p>
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<strong>• Bay laurel</strong> (<em>Laurus nobilis</em>): Bay laurel can be tree-sized when planted outdoors, but stays to 4 or 5 feet in a container. It can be trained into a standard (a single-trunk topiary that balloons at the top).</p>
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<strong>• Chives</strong> (<em>Allium shoenoprasum</em>): Chives reach 18 inches and have perky pink pom-pon flowers in the spring. They are useful in the kitchen and easy to tuck into any garden spot, even a pot.</p>
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<strong>• Ginger</strong> (<em>Zingiber officinale</em>): A tender perennial, this one requires some shade. Try rooting a piece of the rhizome sold in grocery stores. It will reach about 3 feet.</p>
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<strong>• Lavender</strong> (<em>Lavandula</em> spp.): There are many lavender varieties to choose from; if you grow <strong>English lavender</strong> (<em>L. angustifolia</em>) in your garden, try a more tender one, such as <strong>Spanish lavender</strong> (<em>L. stoechas</em>), in a pot. These grow to about 3 feet.</p>
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<strong>• Lemon verbena</strong> (<em>Aloysia triphylla</em>): This shrub can reach about 5 feet in a container. It has a delicious lemon fragrance and is worth the extra care it demands.</p>
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<strong>• Parsley</strong> (<em>Petroselinum crispum</em>): The familiar curly form of this biennial is cute in a pot hanging from a railing or combined with other herbs in a larger container. It gets 12 to 18 inches high. The flat-leaf Italian form is preferred for cooking.</p>
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<strong>• Peppermint</strong> (<em>Mentha ×piperita</em>): This vigorous grower is perfect for tea and flavoring candy. It reaches about 2 feet.</p>
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<strong>• Rosemary</strong> (<em>Rosmarinus officinalis</em>): This fragrant perennial can reach about 4 feet in a container, if protected during the coldest nights. If you want to shape it into a topiary, choose an upright rosemary such as ‘Tuscan Blue’ or ‘Gorizia’.</p>
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<strong>• Sage</strong> (<em>Salvia officinalis</em>): Garden sage grows to about 2 feet. Try a pretty variegated form, such as ‘Tri-color’ or ‘Berggarten’.</p>
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<strong>• Scented geranium</strong> (<em>Pelargonium</em> spp.): These tender perennials are a favorite among collectors and come in a wide array of fragrances, including rose, peppermint, lemon and nutmeg. They grow about 3 feet tall and can be trained for topiary.</p>
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<strong>• Society garlic</strong> (<em>Tulbaghia violacea</em>): Delicate lavender flowers dangle above strappy leaves that come in both green and variegated forms. They grow about 18 inches high and have a scent like garlic.</p>
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<em>Kathleen Halloran, a former editor of</em> The Herb Companion<em>, is a freelance writer and editor who gardens in lovely Austin, Texas.</em>
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<p>Click here for the main article, <a href=”https://www.motherearthliving.com/gardening/garden-spaces-plant-a-front-step-garden.aspx” target=”_blank”>
<strong>Garden Spaces: Plant a Front-Step Garden</strong>
</a>.</p>

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