Herbs have a special hold on many gardeners and often merit a dedicated garden or planter. Also, many of the herbs we love are Mediterranean natives—they like it dry and hot, so their soil and water needs are different to many North American garden flowers and veggies.
Here are a few ideas—traditional and off the wall—for your herb collection, from a simple planter to an elaborate spiral.
Admittedly not the prettiest thing in the world, but if your space is very limited this will allow you to grow a good number of different herbs in a couple of square feet and as the plants grow in, it gets better looking.
Terra cotta weeping tile
We know these make great wine cellars but they also can do double duty in the garden as a living retaining wall. Sink the tubes into the ground, fill with soil and plant.
Raised herb bed or herb spiral
Second-hand or salvaged bricks are everywhere, they cost pennies, and they give you an instant rustic look. A raised bed or spiral is a traditional way to grow herbs, allowing you to place dry-loving specimens at the top where water drains more quickly and the more tender, European plants at the lower levels. Crevices and gaps in the bricks are perfect nooks for tough, cascading thyme.
The second-hand shops are full to bursting with all manner of baskets, in all shapes and colours. Lined with plastic, they make delightful, little herb gardens, suitable for indoors or out. When the basket begins to break down, toss it into compost and start anew!
Tea tins, Mason jars and tin cans
Start saving your tea tins and Mason jars or combing the thrift shops for older ones. All lined up on a kitchen windowsill, they’re lovely. But remember to add some pea gravel to the bottom for drainage, so you don’t have to puncture holes. As for tin cans, go for ones the size of a large can of tomatoes, peel off the labels and you’re done. To delay corrosion, fit a baggie inside.
Inset image: The author's new herb garden