Category: herbs

The Crafty Gardener

living willow 'fedge'

a living willow ‘fedge’ – a cross between a fence and a hedge and easily grown from willow cuttings; dense and impenetrable once in full leaf, the crafty gardener can easily create one as a barrier around even a small plot

Living plants are by their very nature, ephemeral; never remaining in a static condition – their one aim to reproduce, to multiply. We prolong the usefulness edible crops in many ways, preserving or freezing fruit and vegetables, but for aeons of time, mankind has also made use of the properties of flowers and woody materials.

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Herbs and Herb Gardens

The Kennels herb garden
High summer at ‘The Kennels’, in the herb garden not long after it was first established.

In my days off since last blogging, and writing the Dobies February e-newsletter, I have been travelling – indulging in one of my passions: herbs. Down to the Goodwood Estate near Chichester, discovering a fascinating little herb garden, and a little of its history. Even in Winter, the magic is there; bare earth, mulched and cosseted, plants sleeping in geometric beds: just a hint of the culinary pleasures to come, once Summer arrives. And then imagine the plucking and snipping, the chefs taking only a few short steps from ‘The Kennels’, across the road and into a sun-kissed walled garden, returning with handfuls of fresh leaves to chop and garnish, releasing their saviour and fragrance in delectable dishes.

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Ornamental Gardens – thoughts and plans

Sudeley Castle

I guess not many blog readers have a garden the size of Sudeley Castle (where this photo was taken), but visits to ‘stately plots’ provide both inspiration and ideas

As I sit by the fire contemplating this week’s post, the full moon shines through a gap in the wooden shutters, yet I am dreaming of hot summer days and the joy of working in my ornamental garden. The scent of roses, bees and butterflies in our ‘cutting patch’, and a productive potager filled with salads and herbs. For the moment, the vegetable plot is forgotten, or at least pushed to one side as reality surfaces; for I realise I have not yet ordered flower seeds for this year. Our summer ‘annuals’ border is always a visual delight, continually alive with bees; though sadly less honeybees, and so the humble bumble is increasingly important for pollination.

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