As plants go, I have to say that I am a huge fan of herbs. They are hardy and often insect and disease repellent. They smell wonderfully and often produce cute flowers. Of course, they are useful in cooking and crafting. What’s not to love?
One of my greatest delights this summer in reclaiming our ornamental beds from three years of neglect (a process that has made me think numerous times of one of my favorite childhood novels, The Secret Garden) has been the discovery of a variety of herbs that clearly thrive here. In addition to literally armfuls of oregano, I’ve found large quantities of thyme, sage, chives, and to a lesser extent, lavender, all thriving without human interference. Indeed, I’m pretty certain the previous owners encircled the flag pole with a hedge of alternating sage and thyme. (I can’t help but wonder if the parsley and rosemary failed to thrive?)
All of these herbs are terribly overgrown, as you can see. While they look healthy on top, layers of dead branches lay underneath that should have been pruned. Unfortunately, my research suggests that they should be pruned when they are dormant in February. So, beyond quite forcibly removing invasive plants like blackberries, stinging nettles and a cedar tree start, I’m leaving this circle alone for the time being.
By the way, I cannot tell you what an invaluable help the Garden Answers phone app has been in identifying the plants (wild and planted) on our property. You use the app to take a picture of the plant in question and moments later it provides photographs of similar plants. Those photos link to information about the given plant. Best of all, the app is free. Genius, I say! Sheer genius!
That said, all of these thriving herbs got my green thumb itching. So, we’ve reclaimed a bed in front of our shed that had gone completely native. In it, we’ve planted English and lemon thyme, lemon verbena, rosemary, lavender, Bergamot bee balm, French tarragon, and dill. I’ve planted seeds and tiny seedlings of several other herbs, but I’m not sure if any will survive. (Note to self: skip seeds. You always fail.) If I’m right and none survive, I’ll be adding echinacea, chamomile, and anise next year.
It will be interesting to see what survives and thrives.
Oh and if, by chance, you are wondering how I could have missed that most popular of herbs, basil, never fear. We’ve got that covered, too. It is growing quite happily on its own . . . in the lawn.