Continuing with what seems to be a piece by piece reveal of my new garden (still waiting on some workmen), I finished planting up my herb garden today. I had and still do have, herbs down at the allotment, I’ve been pretty successful with growing the perennials but I should have guessed what would happen, I’m cooking a dish, I fancy adding a bit of rosemary, am I going to pop down the allotment (10 minute walk) to get some? Of course not. I need to investigate herb drying for the allotment herbs, it’s the only way I’m going to use them, harvest them in bulk, either that or transplant them back in my garden, but most of them are quite big now and I don’t really have the space, so cue my mini herb garden.
When the builders were working on my back garden they had planned just to raise the manhole cover a little and put a stone (instead of the original metal) lid on it, however as they worked the idea began to offend their artistic sensibilities a bit, so they set a rectangle of red brick around the manhole cover, laid down a membrane, filled it with gravel and went “there you go, you can put a plant pot on it”. Actually I had been planning on putting a ‘plant pot’ there anyway, I had been thinking of finding one of those old vintage sinks (which would have been around the right size), putting that on the manhole cover and hey presto, one hidden manhole cover. I’d always planned on having a herb garden there, as it’s so close to the back door. But I got my red gravelled ring instead and I had to rethink the vintage sink idea. Now I think that some people may have the idea that London is some vintage salvage yard paradise (it seems like it if you read all the magazines / watch the TV programmes), well my bit of London isn’t, however there is one place, full of beautiful furniture that looks like they need stories written about them and which I would need a house at least six times as large to even think about fitting just one piece in (those French cabinets are big) which luckily also had some garden stuff and I scored a couple of vintage French urns (one of which still literally smelled of a French farmyard, as I struggled to carry it back home). The herb garden is in one of the urns.
I started planting it up at the beginning of March; the supermarket survivor mint (which I had bought at the beginning of January and had already reached a survival record for a supermarket herb plant), oregano, thyme and I thought (trying to replicate the success of the supermarket survivor mint) I’d risk it by also planting a supermarket rosemary plant to. The supermarket rosemary didn’t make it and has since been replaced with a plant from a nearby florists which is so far doing well (my dad (a proper gardener) frowns on me buying plants from florists and supermarkets and heaven, DIY stores, but as well as a lack of salvage yard wonderlands, there is also a lack of decent garden centres round here, there is one but it’s a bit out of the way and so posh you literally feel like you can’t buy anything unless you’re titled, so I buy my plants where I can, or online, although online has it’s hazards to, as the plants always arrive exactly when you can’t get into the garden / allotment to plant them). The supermarket survivor mint is amazing, still going, it seems to have this cycle of looking like it’s died and is just a collection of thin sticks and then a week later it’s flourished back to life. I saw it do that again and again whilst it was a window sill plant indoors and again whilst outside in the herb garden, I’ve found it really appreciates being harvested pretty heavily, then it doesn’t go through the dying phase for a while. The oregano is a bloody menace, I should have remembered that from the allotment, it’s about four times the size from when I planted it, I need to expand my repertoire of dishes using oregano rapidly. The thyme is also doing well.
The new additions were bought at a local plant sale this weekend; ginger and Moroccan mints, purple basil, coriander and parsley. I have been attempting to grow basil, coriander and parsley from seed but I’m proving pretty rubbish at it, I can get it to germinate but it doesn’t get much bigger. I’m doing ok with big seed plants, I’ve grown from seed this year my courgettes, butternut squash, pumpkins and sunflowers but anything with little seeds …., I will persevere.