Enhancing your garden with herbs – the best of both worlds
How much? My words when earlier this year I went to pay for a small bunch of coriander at a supermarket. Then later that week after purchasing just a few plants from the garden centre I was motivated to rethink my garden.
Why not use herbs as ornamental features?
I’ve always grown herbs but never thought to use them in garden design or to fill those bothersome spaces that seem to appear every year. Combining herbs with flowers or other plants can give you the best of both worlds. There are so many herbs of different heights, colours, aromas; and very often graced with attractive flowers and foliage. They can be planted on their own or mixed into borders and easily swapped to suit the conditions of your garden and the erratic British weather.
It is however important to position them correctly as a few grow very tall, some prefer light shade to sun and others require protection in the winter and many can be invasive.
Here are just a few that I have successfully planted for ornamental purposes this year in my borders.
· Borage: A hardy annual with delicate blue or white flowers that self-seeds easily. Grows to 2-3 ft
· Chives: Clump forming with spectacular purple or white pom-pom flowers – great for low edging
· Fennel: Feathery green or bronze foliage with yellow flowers and good for placing at the rear of the border - can reach 6 ft
· Gold Tipped Marjoram: An attractive variety with fragrant green leaves that have a gold tip and pale pinky-white flowers in summer
· Lemon Verbena: The leaves emit a lovely lemon scent and have sprays of small purple or white flowers in early Summer. Can grow to 7 ft
· Pineapple Sage: The leaves of this decorative herb release a strong pineapple-like scent when you touch it and in late summer produce clusters of bright scarlet flowers
· Rosemary: Pale blue flowers with dense aromatic needle-like leaves that can be used as informal hedging
· Silver Posie Thyme: A good ground-cover with tiny green leaves which are daintily edged in white to give a shimmering effect and in early summer is covered in small white or purple flowers
· Sweet Cicely: Hardy perennial that has fern-like leaves and umbels of white flowers followed by aniseed scented fruits which prefer some shade. Can grow to 8 ft
With high food prices, and unpredictable weather herbs are a cost-effective way of replenishing garden stocks and culinary supplies. They can also be used in flower arrangements, potpourri, teas and are easily dried and stored for future use. And their fragrance and nectar attract bees and butterflies into your garden.
I do wonder why I didn’t think to make use of them more before. Herbs are totally underrated!
Please visit our resources page which has a collection of useful links from 3rd party websites and content and more ideas on what to do in the garden.
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