Monday, September 28, 2009

A herb garden-to-be

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 soon enough, I will have some of this:

(Images: (1) (4) Cookie (5) (6) (7) (8) Martha (9) (12) unknown


Siobhan said...

Great post. I find myself MSGing on lots of aspects of home life....esepcially when folding fitted sheets.

I can't wait till I have space for some serious vegie plots.

Millie said...

Snap to you dear Jane on this post! We've both got the Herbies at the moment. I remember buying that issue of Martha's mag. with the OTT Potager in it. I was coming home from the US at the time & think I let out an involuntary squeal when I opened up the page. I just had to show someone, so the poor bloke sitting next to me got the full low-down. I don't reckon he's ever flown Qantas again, trying to avoid the Martha mad-woman! Hope the sun comes out to give all your seedlings a treat.
Millie ^_^

Mise said...

Well done! I have a herb garden run very wild. The fennel, which I don't like anyhow, ran riot and frightened everything else. Now I have my heart on a walled garden (to encompass the herb garden) but haven't yet bestirred myself to organise the wall. Perhaps updates on your growing garden will motivate me.

Mise said...

By the way (far our brussel sprout), what's the MSG way to fold fitted sheets?

Siobhan said...

i read this article on MS website years ago as i couldn't quite believe there where instructions with photos demonstrating the correct way to fold a fitted sheet. from that day on, i have always, always folded me fitted sheets as per her holidness MS.

it's a condition i tell you!

Siobhan said...

sorry for typos!

Jacqueline @ HOME said...

Your herb garden is going to be brilliant. Basil is my favourite herb but I find it so difficult to grow here in the U.K. Don't forget that Prine Charles talks to his plants so I recommend that you do the same to your herbs !!!! XXXX

Kristine said...

I always enjoy a stroll through the herb garden in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens - we were there just last week. Earlier this year we turned the sandpit into a vegie patch. The boys are happy to go out and pick me herbs while I'm cooking dinner. I too hate paying for picked herbs at the market.

Laura said...

What a wonderful way to go about this! I am quite jealous of your spacious plot...I am confined to a window box, but I must admit that it does provide enough such that I rarely have to purchase herbs from the store. I'm so excited to see how it looks fully planted!

Jane said...

thanks all for your Herbal Enthusiasm. FOBS - I saw that Martha fitted sheet folding instruction too and even though I can do origami I couldn't actually do it. I agree it is one of those things you should do before you die. Herb garden will be flourishing soon one of the reasons it is a bit scarce is because Husband went to nursery for me, always a bad idea, he came back with only half my list - did you ask for help I asked, oh no he said I just looked around and couldn't find most of the things! Mise thanks for tip re fennel I will take it off my list..!!!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Jane - your herb garden will outshine (or is that outgrow) them all because you nurtured your plants with your own hands. I would so love to have a garden for herbs. I TOO find it so frustrating to pay so much for a wee bunch of dill, etc. I love how you compare a garden to that of a marriage. Great post & look forward to seeing the progress. Thanks for visiting my blog. So happy to have found you!

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