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Making the Most of the Fall Herb Garden

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Making the Most of the Fall Herb Garden

November 8, 2012

An herb is a plant which is useful, either for culinary, medicinal, or domestic purposes. As such it is fine about being snipped, and a pot of parsley with half its stalks cut is a very useful pot.

Herbs now tend to be found in herb gardens (near the kitchen door preferably) and they are pleasing to look at and smell. A decorative herb garden is a very powerful thing, full of ancient mystique. However, it takes some skill to keep a lovely herb garden. Some are tender (verbena), some like to be dry (lavender), some like to be moist (chervil), some grow in neat mounds (thyme), and some like to explore, via an underground root system (mint). Some need to be hard-pruned (sage) and many, in colder areas, roll over and die in the depths of winter. Your most essential herbs are probably the culinary sort—so bring them indoors for your kitchen windowsill and keep the surplus in a frost-free place so that you do not have to start all over again in the spring. (N.B.: For more ideas, see our favorite designs for a rolling plant stand.)

700 mint tray sized

Above: Mentha Spicata or Garden Mint. It spreads easily but fortunately divides easily as well. A culinary as well as healing herb, it is good to have close to hand.

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Above: Why not have a collection, and within that a choice of varieties. Here, two types of mint (Garden, left and Moroccan, right) stand on either side of fuzzy oregano. Three pots with drainage holes in a tray, approximately $30 from Garden Trading. Mint and oregano can be pulled apart to make smaller plants to see you through the winter, with some to spare. Keep left over plants in a frost-free place and keep them just moist.

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Above: Variegated sage which has been grown from soft cuttings. The leaves are a manageable size and the plantlet has not had the chance to get woody and leggy. When transplanting herbs from garden to pots, you can use Scotts Miracle-Gro Potting Mix to feed plants continuously for up to six months.

700 moroccan mint thyme

Above: Give frequently used herbs like mint (foreground) and thyme their own pot each. As with most herbs, a regular trim will keep them looking robust. Enamel bucket (background) approximately £4.50 from Garden Trading.

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Above: Herb scissors will allow you to make five snips at the same time; £8.50 from Sarah Raven. For US gardeners, Herb Scissors are $10.95 from Amazon.

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Above: Two small pots of basil (with drainage holes) are hidden in a vintage ceramic dish (without holes but possibly a few cracks) for a full-to-overflowing effect. To feed potted herbs, mix Scotts Miracle-Gro Watering Can Singles with water every seven to 14 days.

700 reed mix 1

Above: A mini herb garden on the window sill. The shapes and textures are enhanced by gathering several small pots in a very simple ceramic dish.

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