As you all know I am hoping to revolutionize my backyard, and transform a concrete slab into something a little more welcoming. In my last Backyard Blitz blog post I wondered what to do with a battered old crate Dave had picked up at a local garden centre. One evening when I came home from work, I was delighted to see that Dave had planted our very own herb garden!
Having done a bit of research, I realise that some herbs do not weather the Irish climate that well. My favourites are rosemary, sage and thyme, three evergreen, perennial, sun-loving hardy herbs. These Mediterranean herbs can generally survive a typical Irish winter as long as they are planted in very well-drained soil in a sunny spot in the garden. (thank goodness our garden is south facing) The trick to keeping them happy is to lightly trim away any flowering stems each summer, but never cut into old wood and never over-pick the leaves.
Basil is also a favourite of mine, another annual herb that can be raised from seed over the next few months by sowing into compost-filled plug trays or modules indoors, before transplanting the young seedlings into pots. The biggest mistake that people make is trying to grow this herb outdoors – it hates our Irish climate and does much better kept inside on a sunny windowsill. But be extra careful not to over water the plants as basil hates sitting in wet soil.
We also planted coriander, its a herb that is frost tender and also doesn’t like extreme heat. ( bit temperamental like myself) So in temperate zones its recommended to grow coriander during summer, in sub-tropical/tropical zones grow it during the cooler season. Coriander does need a sunny spot and mulch to prevent from drying out, and it needs to be kept very well watered.
There are lots of other plants that I would love to see growing in the garden, Tarragon, Dill, Chives, mint to name but a few, I am sure we will get around to it.
How To Create An Eco-Garden ( £14.99, Aquamarine Books), by award-winning gardener and environmentalist John Walker. It shows how to create a greener, more climate-friendly and ecologically sustainable garden.
(Photography Dave McClelland)