Herb Garden Layout

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Herb Garden Layout

When you set about planning your garden layout, your clipboard, pen and paper are as important as your hoe and shovel.

Choose a patch of land that gets at least six hours of sun every day. Very few herbs will grow in the shade, and they are mostly undesirable perennial herbs like invasive mints. Sketch the area on paper.

Decide which herbs you want to grow in you garden. Some people plant herbs because they are low maintenance and drought tolerant.

Others love the full, spreading habits of herbs like lavender and oregano or the creepers like wooly thyme.

Your layout should follow the same rules as any garden layout.

They are also the basic rule that any school photographer follows when he photographs a class of young school children: Place the tall plants at the back, the midsize ones in the middle, and the short ones in the front.

Tall Herb Plants

In any garden layout, herbs that are the tallest should be placed at the back of the border. This will prevent them from shading shorter plants and hogging all the sun. Examples of plants for the back of the border are: Anise hyssop (agastache "Tutti Frutti") – grows up to six feet tall; add fragrant flowers to salads and sandwiches.

Sweet cicely (myrrhis odorata) – grows up to four feet tall; one of the few herbs to grow in full or partial shade.

Cardoon (cynara cardunculus) – grows up to five feet tall; cousin of the artichoke, with edible leaves, stalks, and unopened flower heads similar to those of the artichoke.

Midsize Herb Plants

Plan to place midsize herb plants into the middle of your herb garden layout. Most herbs are of this size – 18 inches to 36 inches tall. Examples of plants for the middle of the border are: Sage (salvia officinalis) – grows up to two feet tall; sage embodies the smell of Thanksgiving stuffing in the U.S. and is often used with roasted meats. Silver thyme (thymus vulgaris) – grows up to one foot tall; desirable for its silver leaves and small purple flowers; can be harvested year-round. Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) – grows up to two feet tall; prized for its strong flavor and fragrance, rosemary is often added to soups and stews that must be simmered for long period of time.

Short Herb Plants

Along the front of the border are the creepers: herb plants that grow close to the ground. Your herb garden layout is complete once you plant these ground covers. They are often not harvested but are grown for their ornamental appeal and ability to soften the edge of planting.

Wooly thyme, Corsican mint, and roman chamomile are all specimens of this low-growing type of herb.

Herb Garden Layout