May 28, 2010

May Garden Tour: The Herb Garden & Beyond

Last week I showed you my vegetable garden and the comfrey garden. I had hoped to continue my May tour with a detailed look at my front yard herb garden. After taking photos however, I realized there wasn't much to show because not much has come up yet. So while there isn't much to see, here's what's up in the the herb garden so far...

Even though the plan it that eventually, the entire front yard will be herbs and flowers (no lawn), we started small this year, with two beds. The front bed is to contain culinary herbs (the pink petunias were just thrown in the bare spots for color.) On the right is the rosemary plant I bought last winter. I also planted seeds: lavender, oregano, sage, parsley, and thyme. I've not seen hide nor hair of any of them, so I finally bought thyme, lavender, and oregano as started plants.

In the bed behind the stepping stones I planted calendula, butterfly weed, rudbeckia, and yarrow. The only thing growing at this point are calendula, a couple of volunteer zinnias, and more petunias for color.

The peach trees are doing great. I transplanted some white Dutch clover as a living, nitrogen-fixing mulch for them, like I did the almond tree. Behind them hollyhocks are coming up, as well as volunteer zinnias, and hopefully echinacea.

Speaking of fruit trees...

Here are my pear and apple trees; not as well leafed out as the peaches. Also a newly planted cherry tree at the top. DH just finished tilling the plot around them. I'm going to plant buckwheat here for the summer, then we'll till it in and I will plant a combination of orchard grass and ladino clover this fall. DH plans to harvest that next year with his snath & scythe.

Of the zig zag fence plantings (elder, blueberries, and raspberries), the elder bushes are flowering. I splurged on these plants and bought fairly good size ones. Looks like I'll get a few clusters of berries. That would be nice.

In front of the strawberries, last years transplanting of daylilies and daisies are beginning to bloom. There are some gaps in the daisies, so I'm thinking chicory might be nice to fill those in.

Of my rugosa roses, I've had one bloom. There are three of them and I think they'll make a smashing hedge one day.

Oops. How did that get in there.

My rabbiteye blueberry bush is loaded. I pruned it last fall, and gave it a good mulch of pine needles, both of which seemed to have helped.

I also bought and planted three rhubarb plants. I have happy memories of rhubarb. I never cared for it as a kid, but my dad loved the rhubarb sauce my grandmother made from the rhubarb she grew in her back yard. I think I'll like it now, as I've developed a taste for tarter things. And there's always strawberries to mix it with.

Rhubarb is kind of iffy in our part of the country. I'm not sure how well it likes our hot summers, yet all the gardening centers were selling it, so I bought some. I've noticed that it wilts easily, but I've got it in a spot where I can water it easily and where it can get afternoon shade.

The only other thing I can think to show you are the ten free saplings I received from joining the Arbor Day Foundation.

If you can see them for all the weeds, that is! All seemed to have made it except one goldenraintree. Arbor Day Foundation offers replacements for a nominal fee, but I don't know where I'm going to plant one, let alone two. Obviously, they are about ready to be transplanted.

Lastly, as an EDITORIAL NOTE: Some of you may have caught a rough draft of this post yesterday. That's because I had a kitten charge across the keyboard. I don't know what combination of keys he/she managed to step on, but Blogger published the post in the middle of my working on it. It was only up for a matter of seconds, while I scrambled to retrieve it, but somehow it still made at least one blog listing service. Anyway, here's the official version!

May Garden Tour: The Herb Garden & Beyond text & photos copyright May 2010 by Leigh at


Theresa said...

It all looks lovely and I can picture how beautiful it will look in a year or two. You'll love the roses once they get started. I had planted a bunch of them in New England and they are hardy and beautiful.

Nina said...

Some herbs just don't like to be direct planted. I've never had luck with Lavender, except one time, one seed actually germinated. Savory, Oregano, thyme etc I've never tried direct planting but started early. They seem to be a little iffy until established but then look out, nothing stops them. Oregano can be as invasive as mint!
Gratuitous cat pictures always welcome :)

sheila said...

Kittens are special, they can do anything. I can see how beautiful the herb gardens will be. It's nice to see as a work in progress rather than a finished garden. I think it is more realistic and give people an idea of all the work that goes into creating an amazing garden.

Mama Pea said...

Wow, you sure do have a lot goin' on!

Herbs are something I've never had much luck with but am slowly (very slowly . . . I plant them, they die) trying to get into. Of all the ones I planted last year (and mulched heavily over winter) only the lavendar and spearmint made it. And we didn't even have a hard winter!

Great to see all the pics and get a feel for your place. Thanks!

Callie Brady said...

Enjoyed looking at your gardens and admiring all your hard work. Soon the ground will be covered with your plants and the gardens full of good things to harvest. Herbs do grow well here because they tolerate poor soil and little water.
The kittens are so cute.

Robin said...

Everything is looking nice there.

Leigh said...

Theresa, that' what I'm hoping. It's discouraging though, when so little comes up!

Nina, I think next time I'll try to start my seeds myself. I have some creeping thyme and spearmint seeds, so these are ones I should try. Cat pictures just seem to go with everything, don't they?

Shelia, at first I only wanted to show the "perfect" stuff. But on the other hand, I didn't want to give a false impression of what's going on here. Gardening is hard work but really, I can't imagine myself doing anything else with my life. (Besides spinning, knitting, and weaving of course :)

Mama Pea, maybe too much! There's so much work in the establishment phase. I admit I've never been particularly "lucky" with herbs either. I just figured it's time to learn how to be a success!

Callie, thanks. I'm hoping that once mine get established, they'll do well!

Thanks Robin!

Woolly Bits said...

I don't usually start most herbs with seeds directly into the plot - sage, oregano, lavender and thyme grow better sown into pots - at least year. parsley takes some time to germinate and I usually add some radish seeds to make sure I'll find it, when it does come up. and it's susceptible to drying out as seeds, so I often sow it in late august, where it seems to fare better...
and if you think the rhubarb is too tart - you can always use it for rhubarb-marzipan cake - or add carrots instead of strawberries to the jam (sounds odd, but tastes nice!) I think rhubarb and irish weather go well together - usually quite damp, not too hot - which means that my 10 plants are way too many:)) I could open a rhubarb jam factory....