Which herbs or plants are best for your potted garden?
Containers of any size can be placed together in a potted garden. Old crocks or hollow cinder blocks are interesting pots. Oak barrel halves, available at some nurseries, or planter boxes can hold a collection of many different herbs. Planter boxes can become window boxes but be sure they are made strong enough to hold the weight of the dirt. Set wooden containers up on bricks or stones so they do not rot. Incidentally, small planters with three or four herbs make wonderful gifts. For instance, you can give a culinary garden of thyme, rosemary, sage, and basil.
Potted herbs also fit into the garden scheme. Traditional English herb gardens often included small potted bay trees and other herbs that are sensitive to the cold. They could be carried into the hot house for the winter. Hanging pots of herbs are always attractive. A number of herbs, including Persian catnip, trailing rosemary, and ground ivy hang very gracefully. Elizabethans were especially fond of hanging rosemary pots.
Be aware that peppermint, pennyroyal, and other members of the mint family are notorious for their ability to spread throughout the garden. And, they are not the only ones! Other roving herbs include white and pink yarrow, ground ivy, creeping thymes, and perennial clover. These herbs can work to your advantage to fill in areas, but they need restriction in a small garden. Plant them in enclosures, such as clay pipes, cement bricks, or pots that go down at least six inches if you want to keep their roots contained.
I have seen herb gardens where all the plants are actually in pots buried in the soil. When fall comes, the pots are dug up and placed in a greenhouse. They sprout extra early dug up and placed in a greenhouse. They sprout extra early in the spring and then the entire garden is tilled to eliminate weeds before the pots are again “planted.”
Traditional herb gardens were almost always designed in symmetrical squares or circles, accented by pathways. Paths not only look nice, but they are also practical, since they allow easy access into the garden for weeding, harvesting and of course, enjoying. Paths can radiate from the center, form concentric circles, or spiral through the Potted Garden. Since a country herb garden can also be informal, the path can ramble casually through the plants.
Paths can be constructed from flagstones, cement forms, or bricks set into patterns. Gravel, small rocks, sand and even sawdust can be set around stepping stones or can form the path itself. One simple garden design sets square cement steps, about two feet wide, in a checkerboard pattern and fills in the space between them with herbs. Level and pack the dirt under the path area to keep down the weeds. Consider laying heavy gauge plastic, tar paper, or even sawdust under the path as a weed barrier. Sand or sawdust between the plastic and the stones increases its life span.
Anyone who strolls down an herb garden path has the pleasure of brushing past a potpourri of scented herbs. You might even allow a few springs of these herbs to escape into the path, where they will scent the walk when they’re stepped on. In his Essay of Potted Garden, Francis Bacon said the plants that “perfume the air most delightfully . . . when trodden upon are burnet, wild thyme and … mint.”
Bacon suggested that “whole alleys” of such herbs be planted for pathways and that the entire path be a bed of herbal ground covers. It is a little more work to maintain since herbs in the bed and path will always be trying to invade each other’s territory, but the effect is very herbal. Some herbs tolerate being walked on quite well. For instance, Roman chamomile was one of the most popular plants for the scented lawn of sixteenth century Europe. Shakespeare’s character Falstaff comments that “the more it is trodden upon, the faster it grows or the better it wears.”
Read Also: Choosing Herbs For Your Beautiful Garden
Herb gardens lend themselves to a variety of decorative Potted Garden . Traditional herb gardens include sundials, bird baths, and even wells filled with plants, usually placed in the centre. If you add statuary, consider St. Francis or St Fiacre, the patron saint of herbs. Signs painted on slate or engraved in wood or metal can identify herbs or display an appropriate saying. You can have fun with accessories, and you can even use them to make theme areas within your garden.
Trellises, supported by sturdy walls and fences, can be filled with flowering vines. Free-standing trellises can also be incorporated into the design. Honeysuckle, roses, clematis, jasmine, and hops are just a few of the climbing plants suitable for your herbs garden. Rosemary lends itself to being shaped into elaborate patterns supported on a wall or into a topiary, giving the impression of a miniature tree.