Herbs and Summer Gardening
Summer is just about over and as we move towards autumn, it seems a good time to look back at the past few months in the garden. This year has been challenging and probably my worst gardening year due to a problem with chronic pain and fatigue. I’ve had to adapt the way I garden and rely on lots of help, and, if you’ll excuse the pun, it’s has been a real pain. There’s been so many tasks I’ve been unable to do and that has led to an incredibly high level of frustration.
Not being one for giving up I’ve been focusing on what I was able to do rather than beating myself up about what I can’t do. There’s a wealth of evidence and research about the health benefits of gardening and from my own experience I can whole heartedly say it’s true.
Keeping a photo diary is always helpful, particularly with spring and summer plants as it’s easy to forget what’s there when the foliage dies back in winter. I’ve been taking lots of pics as a reminder and here’s a look at some of the good stuff from over the summer. This post is mainly about the herbs I’ve been growing and this area is a real favourite in the garden.
Herbs are amongst my favourite plants and have a place in every garden even if they’re just grown in containers or indoors for use in the kitchen.
To help with attracting more wildlife I’ve decided to have several small ponds in containers and the first one is in the herb beds. There’s a need for more plants and that’s on the never ending list of ‘things to do’.
The herb beds have grown well and next year I’m planning to have this area planted up solely with aromatic plants to create an area for relaxation.
This bed is planted up with varieties of sage, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, savoury, lovage, fennel and I’ve planted new lavender plants as a small hedge along the top border. There’s also lady’s Mantle which grows abundantly in the garden and self seeds at every opportunity – the small leaves can be used in salads. The pink flowers in the image below is echinacea – a great medicinal herb.
Calendula is one of my favourite edible flowers to have in the garden and as you can see it’s been a popular addition to summer salads with the cut and come again lettuce I’ve been growing. Next year I plan to have lots more calendula which I will try and macerate to make calendula oil.
This bed is planted with bee friendly borage and has been alive with bees for months. The blue flowers are so gorgeous and look lovely floating in summer drinks or frozen in ice cubes.
The nasturtiums in the hanging basket are also bee friendly and the flowers and leaves have both made their way into our salads.
Mint is a herb used regularly in my kitchen and I have several varieties growing in containers around the garden – being such an invasive herb that’s the best way to grow. It’s such a refreshing herb and my current collection includes, Indian, Moroccan, chocolate, apple, orange and spearmint.
Chocolate mint really smells and tastes of chocolate and is brilliant in desserts.
And finally, the utterly delicious and refreshing lemon verbena has grown well this year.
My plan to make lemon verbena ice cream has yet to happen so watch this space. I planted 3 new plants. One in a container against a south facing wall and the other two in the herb beds. The container grown pot has been the most successful of the three and I suspect that’s because it was in a sunnier spot.
Thanks for dropping by and having a wander through my herb garden. Please share your own gardening stories from this year by leaving a comment below. I’m always looking for new herbs and suppliers so all advice will be warmly welcomed.
In the next post I’ll be taking a wander through the main area of the garden to show what we’ve achieved this year.