Herb gardens tend to fulfill two functions. The first, and obvious one, is to provide herbs. The second arises from the fact that herbs can be highly decorative, making an attractive garden on their own.
Herbs as herbs
Although we grow almost as many herbs as our ancestors, they are primarily included in our gardens for romantic reasons. The number of herbs that most gardeners use in the kitchen is relatively small. But small as this number is, those we do use regularly are important. When you are designing a herb garden, make certain that these herbs are readily accessible from the path, and put those that are never or rarely used in the more inaccessible parts of the border.
The most frequently used herbs should be placed as near to the kitchen door as possible so that the cook can grab a handful when necessary. This means that either the herb garden should be located here or the important herbs should be mixed in with other plants in a decorative border. Another solution is to grow these particular herbs in a container or containers, which can then be placed near the kitchen door for easy access.
Herbs for atmosphere
Although many people regularly use a large number of herbs, most of the gardeners who maintain herb gardens do so because of their romantic associations. And there is no doubt that herbs are romantic. This is partly the atmosphere they create in the garden. Herbs tend to be gentle plants, and only occasionally do we come across brash ones. The colours are muted and soft, the atmosphere they create is hazy. On sunny days the garden is perfumed by their scents and is drowsy with the sound of bees. This is the perfect garden in which to sit and relax, so you should remember to include a seat in your design.
Herbs by design
The layout of a herb garden depends largely on the space available, of course, but also on the time you can spend in it. It is possible to create small gardens, and the herb wheel is one of the most popular plans. A cartwheel is laid out on prepared ground and the spaces between the spokes are filled with herbs. When real wheels are not available, the same design can be created from bricks.
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