Create your own culinary herb garden that looks almost too good to eat!
Try planting a selection of tasty herbs valued as much for their ornamental appeal as their flavour. From sage to thyme, rosemary to clipped bay and flowering chives, combine herbs valued for their ornamental beauty to produce long-lasting displays as well as regular pickings for the kitchen.
There are no hard and fast rules about creating herb gardens, but successful designs often define the space using brick pavers, dividing-up the area with small paths to provide easy access for picking. Go for an informal mix or choose a formal pattern or cartwheel design. As a centrepiece plant a large, shrubby herb such as rosemary or sage, a formally clipped bay tree, or a potted herb arrangement.
In small spaces herbs can be grown in pots, either planting them individually and grouping pots together into displays or creating bold combinations in larger containers. As many herbs have Mediterranean origins they relish a site in full sun where they can bake during summer. Soil must be free-draining too, as wet and waterlogged ground will lead to root damage, and for pots choose a free-draining loam-based compost.
An assortment of herb plants are available at garden centres now, so buy your favourites to create your own culinary herb gardens. Many herbs can be raised from seed too, so buy packets of coriander, basil, parsley, chives and many others.
FOUR HARDY HERBS FOR POTS OR BORDERS
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Mint varieties (Better in pots as can be quite invasive)
Chives – both regular onion flavoured and Garlic Chives.
Thyme (Thymus varieties) include AGM winners like golden thyme (Thymus ‘Aureus’), ‘Silver Queen’, ‘Pink Chintz’, lemon scented ‘Bertram Anderson’.
Zen plants for your home
Bonsai, Ficus Ginseng and Dracaena lucky bamboo all have powerful shapes, natural strength and all three fit well with the growing interest in bringing more calm and meaning to our lives. They’re also perfect feature plants in the minimalist interior trend. Zen plants are easy to look after, attractive to look at and blessed with a serene look that really impacts on their surroundings.
Bonsai plants are transformed into elegant miniature trees by pruning, trimming, and training of the trunk and branches so that it resembles a real tree in nature but on a much smaller scale. Examples of plants that are particularly suitable for bonsai are Chamaecyparis, Pomegranate, Crassula ovata and Carmona retusa. Ficus species are currently the most popular as they are so easy to grow.
Dracaena lucky bamboo is an eye-catching feature plant, and is available with straight and twisted branches, woven, as a mini bamboo forest or as a solo statement plant. All shapes need a lot of water, which is why they’re often sold in a glass bowl, vase or other shape in which the water is visible. This contributes to the plant’s Zen look.
Sales and display tips for Zen plants
Zen plant displays can be really striking due to their elegant appearance. Think of a water feature, oriental statues, LED candles with a moving flame or an example of a plant altar as inspiration. Lighting with yellow tones instead of white light prevents the display from looking too cold.
Plant of the Moment is supported by National Garden Gift Card. With over 90,000 plants and products available at hundreds of garden outlets nationwide, anyone, anywhere in the UK can spend HTA Garden Gift Cards on pretty much anything to do with gardening.
Thanks to Adam Pasco and the Flower Council of Holland for the information contained in this article.