How to Design an English Herb Garden

Views: 24927 | Last Update: 2009-02-04
Design an English herb garden by planting herbs that you use, researching which plants will grow well in different climates and drawing a layout with tall plants to one side. Visit a garden center or farmer's market to learn more about how different... View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi this is Yolanda Vanveen, and in this segment we're going to learn all about how to design an English herb garden. Now herbs are so beautiful and make gorgeous gardens. But there's a purpose too, and a long history. And whether you're designing a garden just for cooking purposes, or for aesthetics, you just think they're so beautiful to look at, there's a few tips I can give you on how to plant and how to organize a herb garden. First of all I have a theory that if you're planting an herb garden, you should plant the herbs that you use. So before you even plan your garden, take a look in your cupboards and see if you've got garlic, or rosemary or thyme or basil. Or parsley or garlic or any type of seasoning that you can actually grow yourself. And then plan your garden around those herbs. And so I always do my research too by looking at different herb books and before I even make a plan, I just look through and decide which plants I would like to grow and which plants would probably do well in my area. Because there's a lot of herbs that I'd love to have in my garden, but they don't do well in our climate. It might be a little bit to cold for them. There's so many books that you can use for resources, and so an important part of planning your garden, is doing your research and figuring out what plants you want to use. And figuring out how tall they're going to be, if they're going to make a big shrub or they're going to stay short. So by looking at different books, you can get all different types of ideas on how to plant your garden. And there's basically two types of English herb gardens. There's the cottage gardens, and these were usually around someones house, and they weren't very formal, they were just all types of herbs that were used for medicinal reasons and for cooking. And so they were very practical and they were right next to vegetables and everything is mixed in with flowers. And there's just a garden that has everything in it. And then there's the more formal English gardens, and those were around castles. And they were more for aesthetics. They used this different types of herbs for kitchen use, and for medicinal use, but they really wanted it to look very formal and used knots and interlapping and very structured with squares and nice rows and everything is very dignified and very formal and very trim. So, when you design your garden, figure out which type of English garden you would like. Now a lot of times it's nice to come up with a garden and fantasize about the shape and the plants that you want to use, but I've found it's much easier to go to garden center or go to a farmers market and pick out the different types of herbs and flowers that you like, and then base your arrangement around them as well. For example, lavender. Lavender is such a beautiful plant, and even thought it's not a strict herb like a thyme would be, it still does really well in herb gardens. And it has a beautiful scent. And then there's different types of thymes, and plants that can almost be stepped on that are very short. So when you're designing your garden, get a piece of paper, lay it out. Put the larger, taller plants in the middle or to one side, and then have the smaller plants along the outside so that all the different herbs can be visible. And you can go online and find all different kinds of plants, or look through books and you will find that you can up with a plan very easily and in very little time.