Plant Pretty, Drought-Tolerant Herbs

Reader Jessica Fields wrote us for help with a plan for her unruly Southern garden.

| October/November 2010

  • Click on the IMAGE GALLERY then click NEXT to view the plant key.
    Illustration by Gayle Ford
  • Click NEXT to see more "Before" pictures of Jessica Fields' garden.
  • Click NEXT to see more "Before" pictures of Jessica Fields' garden.
  • Click NEXT to see more "Before" pictures of Jessica Fields' garden.
  • Click NEXT to see more "Before" pictures of Jessica Fields' garden.
  • Click NEXT to see our herbal solution for Jessica Field's garden.
  • Click NEXT to see "Before" pictures of Jessica Fields' garden.

Dear Herb Companion,

My yard is definitely a challenge, and I am clueless about what to plant and where. I have a lot of rocks and red clay, so plants do not do well along the edges of my house. I have a few herbs in a little bed under a bay window that gets mostly sun. I would like to learn how to grow all types of culinary, medicinal and cosmetic herbs. I live in central Alabama.

—Jessica Fields, Sylacauga, Alabama

See pictures of Jessica Fields' garden in central Alabama.  

Every garden space brings its own set of challenges. It’s true that the Deep South—with its heat, humidity and often heavy clay soils—offers particular challenges to herb gardeners. But, as in many other areas of the country, time and sweat will improve both your soil and your knowledge. Digging in and learning how to plant and maintain beautiful gardens in your yard will also bring with it an acceptance that there are some things you can’t change. 

From the photos you sent, it looks like you have a lovely setting for a mobile home that you’ve expanded and built decks onto. Perennial garden beds will give your home a feeling of permanence and anchorage, beauty and bounty, as well as a steady harvest of materials to suit your interests.

You live in Zone 7b or 8a, which allows you to grow some herbs outdoors that Northern gardeners can only dream about. I’ll bet in a drive around your community you would see large shrubs of rosemary in the landscapes, tree-sized bay laurel plants and many other herbs thriving in gardens. We’ve redesigned your sunny bay-window garden for a variety of herbs that can take advantage of your mild winters and long growing season and survive the summer heat, including a variety of traditional culinary, medicinal and cosmetic herbs.

Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds