Edible Displays: Mini Herb Garden
Perfect for beginners, herbs are resilient, can be picked over a long season and are always useful in the kitchen.
This pair of coordinating terra cotta pots is filled largely with evergreen herbs that will produce aromatic leaves year after year. It makes sense to grow parsley in a separate pot, because it runs to seed in its second year and will need replacing. For a bold display choose cultivars with golden and variegated foliage, and combine them with the summer flowers of thyme, marjoram, sage and chives, together with trailing bedding, such as petunias and brachyscome (as shown).
Step 1: Choose Containers
Select pots that are at least 10 inches in diameter or small pots that are at least six inches in diameter. They should suit an area close to the kitchen. Use multipurpose compost or soil-based compost, and make sure they receive full sun.
Step 2: Go Shopping
Buy the following herbs: one golden marjoram, one parsley, one variegated sage, one bay, one chives and one golden lemon thyme plant.
Golden marjoram is a popular oregano cultivar with small, bright yellow-green leaves and lavender flowers. It makes colorful mounds in the spring. The leaves are very aromatic, and it is widely renowned for its peppery flavor.
The textured, emerald leaves of curly parsley provide interesting texture and rich color for annual gardens and mixed borders. Grow plenty of it to make a big impact and have enough extra for kitchen use.
Variegated sage is an evergreen perennial known for its unique, pungent flavor and aroma that its gray green leaves produce. This charming cultivar has green leaves with irregular yellow margins. It has both ornamental and culinary qualities.
Bay leaves come from the sweet bay or laurel tree. The elliptical leaves are green, glossy and grow up to three inches long and are a staple in kitchens used in soups, stews, meat and vegetable dishes.
Chives are a member of the onion family. They grow in clumps and reach a height of 6 to 12 inches. They produce narrow, hollow leaves and attractive violet, globe shaped flowers in May or June.
Step 3: Plant Herbs
Herbs can be planted in spring, but if using tender bedding, wait until after the frosts. Ensure the pots have drainage holes in the base and fill with a layer of compost. Plant the thyme and flowers through the holes in the large pot, add more compost and plant the other herbs on top. Plant up the smaller pot with parsley and flowers. Keep the compost just moist during the summer and water sparingly in winter. Once established, pick the leaves as required. Replant the herbs in the large container into bigger pots every two years.