March 28, 2014


©Linda Nelson 2014
I'm sure many of you are thinking about which culinary and sensory provoking herbs you'll be growing this year.  But, have you given thought to the design aspect of planting those delectable favorites?  Maybe you're the proud owner of a meticulously pampered potager, or you're just a natural with knowing how to artistically plant up your herbs.  That's great; keep doing what you're doing.  But, some of you may be less confident with how to incorporate herbs into your patio garden decor.  Here are a few tips to consider:
  • If your property is zen-like or minimalistic, incorporate your herbs in the same fashion.  Planting them in farm or country, cottage cutesy styled containers will disturb the overall design.  Likewise, if your patio furniture is large and architectural in design, your potted herbs will successfully complement your outdoor living space if they are planted in boldly architectural looking containers.  Is your abode an old farmhouse?  I'm sure you can figure out what I would suggest.
  • Don't be fooled and smitten by nonsensical container planting practices, such as growing herbs in teacups or dainty little wicker baskets.  Even small herbs, such as thyme, will fare better in a bigger pot (not too big, though).  If you absolutely love and must have those Thumbelina sized vessels, then place them in a slightly less sunny spot.
  • Divide your ground grown perennial herbs, such as oregano and chives, each season.  Give your divisions away to family and friends, or toss them into the compost pile.  A two foot diameter clump of oregano is seriously unattractive, no matter how much its pungent aroma takes your olfactory senses back to your grandma's homemade pasta sauce.  Besides, it will perform better.
  • Some shrub herbs, such as lavender, sage and rosemary, eventually become woody, gangly and lose their overall visual appeal and vigor.  That's when it is time to bid them farewell and replace them with new ones.  It is what it is.
  • Be curious.  Peruse the herb section of your local garden center and choose a few herbs that you have never grown before, even if it is just because they look pretty or smell nice.  You don't have to use them to enjoy them.
  • Speaking of looking pretty.... yes, you can plant herbs together with annual and perennial flowering and foliage plants in the same pot.  Choose an appropriately sized container, then go for it.  It will look fabulous.  Plus, you'll gain the reputation that you're quirky and love living on the edge.
  • Though purists may instruct you otherwise, it's okay to plant a variety of herbs in one pot.  The tradeoff, however, is that by mid season the plants will shade and choke each other out.  Your harvest will not be as prolific and may be susceptible to disease and fungus.   Either keep the design arrangement simple or regularly trim and harvest to keep your herbs within bounds.
The inspirational herb garden design tips to discover are endless.  I hope these few practical ones I've shared can help you get started.  Happy herb planting!
©linda nelson 2014
©Linda Nelson 2014

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