A Culinary Herb Garden

For years I have grown a variety of herbs in an area close to my kitchen and intermingled with my perennial garden. I placed some lavender plants by my steps, maybe some oregano and thyme  next to the Irises, parsley and basil in some small spot in between other plants. But as the perennial herbs started to mature they require a lot more space, I realized it was time to create a garden just for herbs.

Since I keep a large lawn, in the sunniest area of the back yard, and since my New Year’s resolution was to diminish my lawn area, it seemed obvious to me that I should carve out a nice bed and move the entire collection of herbs to the new location.  So this new project was launched last fall.  I used the newspaper layering method to kill the grass and prepare the space for the new bed and just let it sit for the winter. There was a slight hill, so I put in a couple of retaining walls, which gave me a space for the larger plants on the upper area.  Here is a photo of the finished bed.

The front terrace is a nice place for the smaller heat loving herbs such as sage, thyme, oregano as well as basil and parsley.  The entire bed faces south for maximum exposure.  So now I can start planning the actual plantings, moving some from different parts of the garden and adding new things I never had the space for before.

In the middle ages, the term “pot herbs” was meant for all green and root vegetables, as well as the culinary and strewing herbs used for flavoring foods and for scenting living quarters.  Nowadays, we use the term herb to describe plants used primarily in the kitchen to flavor and garnish soups and salads, stews and sauces.

The choices are endless, almost every plant in our gardens has many properties and uses, unfortunately,  in our world of modern medicines and  vast varieties of prepared foods, we have lost the knowledge of what plants really do for us in a raw state and how to use them.  I am happy to be able to grow and use as many as I can identify and in doing so, become acquainted with each plant’s properties.

“When obscurities and legends are removed in the light of modern methods, the treatment with plant simples so dear to our ancestors are still capable of rendering their services.

Henri Leclerc, Precise De Phytotherapie

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