So way back during the cold dark month’s of Winter we decided to convert our unproductive front garden into a productive one seeing as we want to make every space count! We decided that it would be the perfect place to start our medicinal herb garden. Over the previous few months I had built up a lovely collection of herbal remedy books after our appetite was whetted when we went on a foraging walk in Leeds last year. If you live in this area, it was a great foraging walk run by a lovely lady called Mina Said-Allsopp, a local Wild Food Specialist and it really opened our eyes as to what’s freely available right on our doorsteps both to eat and to use as herbal remedies.
To plan for the garden, I looked at a lot of recipes for herbal remedies and made a list of the most commonly used herbs in them and decided to use that as my starting point, plus I included all the herbs that we like to add to our food. It was actually quite a big list and I wasn’t even sure you could get all these herbs in the UK.
We started by removing all of the grass from the front garden and replaced it with as much topsoil as we could take back from the grass sods. Then we covered the entire garden in wood chip from a local supplier.We were kindly given a whole lot of old bricks from a friend who was doing some work on their house and we added a brick path to make it look a bit rustic and also to help when it came time to get in there and harvest all my lush herbs!
The first round of plants were herbs that had been in a half wine barrel on our decking and to be honest weren’t doing all that great. Trying my hardest to figure out the best placement for each herb in terms of full grown size and height, and the amount of sunlight it needed, I started planting. All these first plants did look pretty forlorn I must say when we first moved them to their new home but after a few days you could tell that they were much happier and they began growing beautifully.
On to today, the last Saturday in May, and fortunately a sunny one at that. A couple of weeks previously we’d been away travelling down to Wales for the Spring Festival and on the way home we stopped at Fordhall Farm, known for its grassy paddocks. These fields contain in excess of 70 species of grass and because of this mean that their cattle can stay outdoors all year round eating their nutritious salad bar, just as cows should. The farm itself is beautiful and the animals all look very happy in their lush green fields, we walked around one of the farm tours and the whole place was just buzzing with life, insects, birds, animals and nature. At their farm shop we happened upon a table selling all manner of herbs, one’s that I hadn’t seen in local nurseries like Valerian and Marshmallow. Talk about hit the jackpot. I purchased a load of these, and along with more than I had purchased today from a local plant store, and a handful I’d even grown myself, I set about planting these this sunny afternoon with my youngest daughter. She took care of all the weeds that had popped up through the woodchip while I strategically planted each herb.
I am very pleased and can’t wait for the garden to mature over the next year or two and we can use it like pharmacy!
Here’s a list of what is in the garden so far:
Two varieties of Mint (these have popped up on their own)
Green and Bronze Fennel
Clary Sage and Green Sage
Variegated and Orange Scented Thyme
Parsley (flat leaf)
Oregano (two varieties)
St Johns Wort
I have a few more on the list that I’d like to add like Witch Hazel, Angelica, Nigella, Echinacea and some wild flowers but I guess these can wait a bit. I’ll post more pics as we add to the garden.