Intricate hard landscaping mixed with lush plantings of culinary and medicinal herbs creates an effect that mimics some facets of the great and grandiose gardens from the last few centuries.
Ocher-brown or terracotta tiles provide a warm contrast to the cool herbs and hotter plantings of Artemisia arborescens and tender purple basil (Ocimum), which temporarily fills spaces that will ultimately be filled by its hardier aromatic neighbours. Consider placing seasonally planted containers at strategic points and experiment with shapes as rounder pots can appear more settled when on squarer tiles.
Size: 15 x 10 feet
Suits: Courtyard garden
Soil: Fertile but well-drained
Site: Sheltered plot with full sun
Thorough planning and site preparation is essential to make schemes such as this come to life and fulfil their purpose. A plan needs to be drawn to scale and it can be useful to peg out a rough concept on the ground before beginning a detailed plan. You will also need a planting plan detailing the quantities and names of herbs and other trees or shrubs to include. Employ a professional designer for intricate schemes, but you can do much of the soil preparation, herb selection, and planting with their guidance. The shopping list above is for an area of drift planting, such as that to the right of the steps.
Ocimum basilicum "Dark Opal" (Image 1)
Plants that need protection from frost over winter, well-drained soil, full sun.
Aconitum "Bressingham Spire" (Image 2)
Fully hardy plants, well-drained soil, moist soil, full sun, partial or dappled shade, award-winning plant.
Angelica archangelica (Image 3)
Fully hardy plants, moist soil, partial or dappled shade, full shade.
Artemisia arborescens (Image 4)
Fully hardy plants, well-drained soil, full sun, award-winning plant.
Buxus sempervirens (Image 5)
Fully hardy plants, well-drained soil, full sun, partial or dappled shade, award-winning plant.
Excerpted from Simple Steps: Herbs
©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009