Jackie is an excellent gardener, and in order to get there one needs to make lots of mistakes. We think that each spring we all can use a good shot of humor, so we don't take ourselves (and our mistakes) too seriously.
of an Herb Gardener
Jan/Feb '10 Essential Herbal
those who are afraid of starting an herb garden, don’t be. The rewards – having your own fresh herbs to
use and dry, the therapy of working in the dirt, the ability to sit quietly and
meditate in your own special place – far outweigh the “errors in judgment” one
back at my first herb garden, I now recognize all the mistakes I made
(according to the books). Looking back
at my second herb garden, I recognize all the mistakes I made. Looking back at my third herb garden….
are a few reflections to share with fellow herb gardeners, and especially for
those thinking of starting one.
small and keep a journal of what went where and why. This is a very good idea. I did that.
I had a wonderful drawing of where everything was to go backed up with
very compelling reasons why – color, height etc. This drawing was the culmination of many
hours of intense study. Plans and
drawings do not take life into account.
My first herb garden was going well, when one day I was given close to
50 plants the night before I was to leave for a four-day horse show. That meant most were planted in the dark; and
towards the end it was “just get it in the ground, anywhere!” Flexible.
That’s what you need to be – flexible.
your plants so you know what went where.
I did that too. On wood, plastic
and metal. With pencil, pen, waterproof
sharpies, crayon. Nothing is
permanent. Anyone have any other ideas
that won’t cost more than the house?
plant mints by other mints. This is such
good advice. But hard to do when its
dark, you’re tired and everything smells the same. I don’t care what “they” say, a
Spearmint/Peppermint cross can be lovely too.
wish someone had told me how non-invasively challenged Tansy really is. I mean actually sat me down and described my
life with Tansy in a few years.
Evening Primrose (properly identified by the person who gave it to me) never
gave me the lovely flowers at dusk all the books claimed it would. How many evenings did I check it out at
different times in an attempt to “catch” it at the right moment. Of course, it’s probably best that it never
did produce those evening blossoms….since it was MUGWORT!!!
(27) bags of mulch can hide a lot…for about 3 days. (Note:
A weekend.) You can get 27 bags
of mulch in a Chevy Avalanche.
gardens are the best place to meditate.
plant Tansy near Valerian. The babies
look a lot alike. (Actually, I don’t
remember planting the Tansy near the Valerian!)
pull what looks like baby burdock out by the roots with great glee when it
comes up near where the Clary Sage was planted.
can grow wherever it wants. Who am I to
tell the Mullein it doesn’t belong on an herb garden path?
really does stop the bleeding…..
Annie needs some help propagating itself in the spring. I made a wonderful stone circle for the Sweet
Annie. Lasted a year. Tansy likes stone circles too.
guy who gives you crown vetch for the ditch so you don’t have to cut it, is NOT
you sit very still, the bunnies come back.
Sometimes the fairies do too.
Loosestrife propagates by itself. Even a
large Sage plant can get lost in the Loosestrife.
fabric doesn’t work. Shavings don’t
work. Mulch doesn’t work. The jury is still out on four inches of pea
gravel. (Update, didn’t work, yarrow can
get thru it.)
the moonlight, Angelica looks a lot like little people dancing.
Balm will grow between the slats of a park bench. Tansy will too.
is NOT an old wives tale – Rue in the sunlight really does give some nasty
an herb garden, always smell it before yanking an unidentified plant out
by the roots.
gas powered weed whacking machines do not kill Tansy. They merely prune it and make it healthier.
fact, weed whacking machines do not kill many herbs at all. But they can make paths.
Mantle can get really big. Horehound
doesn’t thrive well under it. Lavender seeds,
however, do very well under Dusty Miller.
never really done weeding and the best weeding tool is your hand. Even the
12.95 weeding wonder doesn’t do as well.
Nor does the $19.95 one, or the $39.95 one….
don’t think I shall ever get past the belief that these plants are living
beings and entitled to be here, even more than I am. (Including the Tansy) I don’t think I want to get past that belief.
But sitting on the
bench in my herb garden, between the Lemon Balm and the Tansy growing up
between those slats, I consider all the challenges, discoveries and therapy my
garden has given me. As I breathe in the
subtle smells from all directions the reality of it is clear, there is no right
or wrong way if you’re happy.