Landscaping

How to create a herb garden in Stonewood

By David Domoney

Having your own herb garden right outside your back door is a priceless treat. I love nipping out for some fresh parsley to flavour my eggs, a little chive to toss in a salad or some mint for my tea. You just can’t beat that freshness.

The Stonewood sleepers from Bradstone couldn’t be more perfect for creating your own herb garden at home. They’re a great size, they look stunning and they’ll last and last.

So here’s a few tips to get your own little heavenly herb patch going.

When

Tender seeds such as basil, marjoram, coriander and tender perennials such as French tarragon can’t be planted outside until all risk of frost has passed. Others can be planted in May and then live outside all year once they are established, such as mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage. You can sow these indoors earlier if you like and move them into the planter when things warm up. However, if you buy plants instead of seeds from the garden centre, wait until late spring because winter-planted herbs are vulnerable to root damage.

I love nipping out for some fresh parsley to flavour my eggs, a little chive to toss in a salad or some mint for my tea. You just can’t beat that freshness.
David Domoney

Small sleepers can also be used for a random garden edging

The large sleeper is ideal for a herb garden

Where

I always say as close to the back door as possible for three reasons:

  1. You won’t forget them
  2. They’re close by when cooking
  3. They give a gorgeous fragrance when you step out the door

Just remember, most herbs love being drenched in sunlight, so make sure you choose a bright spot for them.

How

In general use a gritty, well drained compost and keep it moist but not soggy. Herbs do need very regular watering. Add a little gravel in the base of the planter to help with drainage.

Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, rosemary, lavender, sage, and oregano are not so fond of the British damp. They like a poor, almost sandy soil to thrive in, so use sand and pebble mulch around them to prevent rotting.

There are also a few herb ground-bullies that you need to look out for! Mints, lemon balm, and lemon verbena are notorious for taking over the whole patch if you let them. If you have them in your planter, pot these cheeky herbs inside their original pot to contain their roots.

What we want with herbs is leafy growth more than flowering, so use a balanced fertiliser rather than a potassium-rich one.

Do a little research on the herbs you decide to go for; some will last for years, but others die off every winter.

Remember, frequent harvesting from herbs is actually beneficial: snipping off the tips will push the plant to grow more quickly and compactly. Try to take an inch or two from the top of the stem above two leaves, which will then grow two new shoots.

And that’s all you need. So get your sleepers and get planting!

Meet the author

David Domoney

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