Installing a container herb garden has seemed to be a lifesaver for me – and my plants. You see, I have this great flower bed along the side of my house. It is about two feet wide, and approximately 40 feet long. It gets morning sun, with a little afternoon shade. There is a water faucet on one end. And it is the first thing you see when you pull up to my house. Perfect. Right?
Well, it would be, if it wasn’t for the fact that my dogs love to dig in the soft, cool dirt. It actually all started out with chickens….
When we first moved here, this bed was one of the first I tackled. It was overgrown with weeds and dewberry vines, so it took me most of the day to clean it out. After work the next day, I headed to the plant nursery with visions of this perfectly laid out flower garden. Daisies dancing in the breeze, Zinnias adding pops of color, Verbena nodding sage approval.
The next morning, I got to work. Compost – check. Healthy soil mixture – check. Cypress mulch – check. Perfect plants – check, check, check. By late afternoon, I had a planted flower bed that any professional landscape artist would be proud of. I decided to celebrate with a glass of lemonade.
After taking care of a few small things in the house, I went back out to admire my handiwork, and pat myself on the back. As you well know, pride can truly cause a downfall. All my ‘handiwork’ was laying out on the ground, chomped to bits by chickens.
Fast forward a few years – and about 10 flowerbed reworks – later. Between dogs, chickens and dewberry vines, it seemed I would never get this bed to look decent. Then the Country Boy asked me one day what I wanted to do with a pile of ‘junk’ (he calls it junk – I call it treasures in the making) behind the greenhouse.
And it finally clicked. All that ‘junk’ was different types of plant pots and other items that could be turned into either plant pots or garden art. And I went back to work.
Creating a Container Herb Garden
Having fresh herbs to use has always been very important to me. And sometimes, having what we want and need means putting in a bit of work in the beginning.
First, I cleaned out all the weeds and debris. Then I shoveled all the soil that the dogs dug out back into the holes. Using a garden rake, I smoothed it out. Since I was using containers, I added a layer of landscape fabric, and then topped it all with No Float Cypress Mulch.
And then I got started designing. In my pile of ‘treasures’, I found some big rocks that my dad had collected over the years. I placed three of them around a Shasta Daisy plant that somehow survived the dogs and chickens. I filled pots and containers with a soil mixture, and used an old Victorian coal grate as a planter.
Of course, I also added a bit of whimsy with a Butler statue and a tin Rooster named ‘Clem’. A garden gate was added in front of my large urn filled with apple mint, for visual effect. And from there, all the pots and containers were filled with dirt and plants. Within a few hours, I had a container herb garden I could finally be proud of!
Tips for Creating your own Container Herb Garden
Have you been lamenting the idea of not being able to grow your own herbs due to lack of space or –yikes! – animals digging up your plants? Then it’s time to start smiling! The beauty of a container herb garden is that it can be as small or as large as you want it. Here are some tips to help you get started:
If you have a sunny windowsill, you can add a few pots to grow your own herbs. Start with small containers, or design your own. Purchase three or four small pots, paint the base your favorite color. Pain the rim with chalkboard paint, and once it is dry, write the name of the herb on the rim. Make sure you have trays underneath the pots to keep overflow water from getting everything wet!
A Patio Garden
Find the sunniest spot on your patio (or balcony). Group a few pots or fun containers in that section. Try to vary the height and/or design to add a pleasant visual effect. Fill the pots with herbs, flowers or vegetables that are suitable for pots.
You can also use this arrangement to create a Theme Garden. Add a different plant to each container – such as a Roma Tomato in one, garlic in another, and cilantro, basil and oregano to three smaller ones. This creates a dual purpose Theme Garden – Spaghetti and Salsa!
A Flower Bed turned Container Herb Garden
If weeding is an issue, clean a flowerbed out – freeing it from weeds and debris. Smooth out the dirt, and add a layer of landscape fabric. On top of the landscape fabric, put at least a 2” to 4” layer of No Float Cypress mulch, or a mulch of your choice.
Arrange pots and containers until you are happy with their placement. Be sure to add varying heights and design, as well as unusual containers and a touch of fun, for a great visual effect. Then one by one, remove the pots, fill with a healthy soil mixture, add your plants and put the container back in its place.
Once you are finished, water in each of the plants, and add more soil if necessary.
Enjoy your new Container Herb Garden!
A container herb garden is one of the easiest gardens to grow and maintain. They are virtually weed free and can be changed and replanted easily, without disturbing the roots of nearby plants. You can also combine your herbs with a sampling of flowers and vegetables, and even small fruits in larger containers.
Did you Create a Container Herb Garden?
Be sure to share photos, tips and ideas with all of us. I found two more locations where I want to add a container herb garden – so I would love to see what others have done. Especially if you get real creative with the containers you use!!!
Don’t Miss these other fun posts from the March Gardening Series!