Herb Garden Inspiration

by - November 09, 2011

Albeit I haven't seen many herb gardens, one of my favorite places to visit is the herb garden at the Historic Oak View County Park. Dedicating a space solely for the growing of culinary herbs is quite divine. I have an herb garden that wraps halfway around my back deck, and slowly this space is expanding to other parts of the garden as I find new cultivars that I *must* grow.

Yesterday, the Oak View garden was past its peak but was beautiful nonetheless. Usually when we visit in the spring and summer, the place is buzzing with bees and butterflies. With the fennel already mostly consumed by monarch caterpillars, there wasn't a whole lot of activity, but the bones of the garden showed through and gave me some inspiration for my own.

Because the abundance of space in the Oak View garden, they are able to divide up the beds by use, such as this one for beverages and teas. I have my own Camella for green tea leaves, and as soon as it gets a little larger, I may transplant it from a pot to a permanent space in my garden. Even in small spaces, herbs could be arranged in groupings for their use such as by cuisine or those for culinary, medicinal, and simply aromatic purposes.

One of my favorite aspects of the Oak View herb garden is the network of pathways. There is a larger brick pathway for the major traffic (this place hosts school field trips regularly) and bringing in wheel barrows, and there are smaller ones that branch off to divide up the larger beds. As I designed my own vegetable garden, I tried to mimic this but added curves to the paths to give it a little more whimsy.

My son loves the hopping stones, and I love the way they wind around this garden orb. I don't have any art or purely ornamental structures in my own garden, and we have yet to get our own hopping stones, but we have plenty of fun spots for kids to explore.

There is one cement bench in the garden, and this year, a friendly lavender plant rests on one end and invites you to join it. Blending in resting spots into the landscape not only leaves the paths open to traffic, but helps the visitor interact more with the plants.

Several years back, we purchased wooden barrel planters that quickly disintegrated after two years. The bottoms completely rotted out, and they ended up in about 20 pieces in the scrap pile.  I wish I'd kept them around to use as plant dividers and way to bring a little vertical variation to the planting bed.

Finally, I can't resist showing you a snapshot of my own herb garden. I love the layering of textures and colors against the backdrop of the deck stairway. Whenever I have a tall plant like a rosemary, I like to plant oregano at the base to fill in the gaps. Because I'm using up every bit of space, very little weeding is required in my herb beds. I've also tucked tulip bulbs in to provide a pop of color in spring before some of the dormant plants have greened. I tend to plant things too close together and undoubtedly will have to move some plants to new locations this coming year.

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