If there is one thing I resent it is paying $2.95 for those little bunches of herbs at the market or $3.50 for the plastic bag herbs at the supermarket. There must be a lot of profit in that. As we all know, nothing is better than your own home grown produce. And home grown herbs don't have that stiff cardboardy feel that the leaves of shop bought parsley have. Lord knows what is on it.
I have in the past had a little section of the garden devoted to a half hearted sprinkling of herbs mainly sage, parsley and rosemary. I also plant basil each year (which you must do before the Melbourne Cup is run, my mother always told me).
I decided I needed to commit to a real herb garden. Like a marriage, it will require time and devotion, and doing minor annoying things (which are also slightly therapeutic) like watering and digging and cutting back. For horticultural reasons I needed to create a raised bed, which I have based on this example.
This is what my bed looked like pre herbs. This is about 1.5 metres squared, which is a suprisingly spacious area.
And this is what I would like it to look like, although not necessarily with a castle in the background. What I want is a lush sprawl of herby goodness where you don't need to feel bad about picking anything because there is such a lustrous profusion of every kind of herb. A garden bed which sings to you as you saunter by, full of lemony, sweet, astringent scents.
I have a little game I play with myself. I call it MSG. No it's not some strange Chinese food additive game, this stands for the Martha Stewart Game.
If I have a home project, I look to see how Martha does it. Because you can be certain that there is no project she hasn't turned her hand to. And you know what, she generally does it better than most anyone else On The Planet. But this doesn't make me feel bad or useless or inadequate. No, not at all. Because I do not have all her helpers. It just makes me feel determined. Here is a Martha vegetable 'patch' and some Martha herbery:
And if Prince Charles can have a thyme walk at Highgrove (which he does, see below, with yew trees lining the paving stones) then I will pull out all stops to make sure my thyme grows and thrives.
So last weekend, I began my planting. This is what it looks like half completed. I still need to plant fennel, sorrel, chervil, basil and coriander and I also need to find something called Corsican mint to edge the area.
And here is my thyme area.
And here is my thyme area.
And soon enough, I will have some of this:
(Images: (1) (4) Cookie (5) (6) Herbcompanion.com (7) (8) Martha (9) Slate.com (12) unknown