Herb Garden Upgrade


Potting up each April a host of favorite herbs is one of the highlights of my gardening year.

There are two main reasons I enjoy my annual herb-planting ritual:

  • Rather than planting herbs that I might actually use, I plant herbs that I simply like the look of, or whose lore I am particularly charmed by. (Almost two dozen of the 145 books I own about gardening are devoted to herbs, so although I’m no expert, over the years I’ve definitely read a lot about them.)
  • I usually buy most of my herbs on a much-anticipated annual expedition to several nurseries in the mountains of North Georgia that I make most Aprils with my sister Gayle, who lives in Blairsville and who is also an enthusiastic amateur gardener.

For at least a decade, I’ve been wanting to expand the number of herbs I grow. And as the 2015 planting season approached, I also decided this would be the year when I would finally replace with gravel the bed of ivy that I planted underneath my pots of herbs. In the twenty years since I had (foolishly) planted it, the ivy had gotten out of hand, and I could no longer deny that most of my herbs would fare better if I undergirded tjhem with sun-reflecting pea gravel rather than over a bed of pot-invading ivy.

So I spent several days in early April painstakingly uprooting the ivy and buying liners to contain the half-dozen bags of pea gravel I also purchased for two separate herb-pot areas. Amazingly, I had both beds ready before purchasing this year’s trove of herbs, and – equally surprisingly – I managed to pot up the herbs before the April monsoons commenced.

At which time I retreated indoors for a few days to read my most recently-acquired book about herbs, Madalene Hill’s and Gwen Barclay’s Southern Herb Growing (1989) and to re-read my copy of the equally excellent book by Rob Proctor and David Macke, Herbs in Pots (1999).

At some point while enjoying these books and waiting for the rains to cease, I realized I could double the number of my herb plantings if I moved to this part of my garden a semi-circular metal pot rack I was storing in my garden shed. So I did that.

Here’s the ivy-infested main part of the herb area before the April 2015 renovation:


Two views of what the two gravel-bedded portions of my garden devoted to my potted herbs it looks like now:


And here’s the newest addition to my herbarium, perched on a metal rack beneath the trellis against one of the house walls bordering the L-shaped area:


My next major long-put-off garden project: recycling the rafters from my old garden shed to construct raised beds on top of my paved driveway, so I can experiment with growing a few fruits or vegetables other than my already-potted tomatoes, peppers, and blueberries. Stay tuned!


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