20 Apr 2011


What a difference 10 days of hot weather has made to my herb bed!  One Sunday afternoon recently, I was strolling around the veg patch with my camera in hand. There's a little wall built around it, the kind that small children like to climb onto and walk round with a hand held ... and which provides a nice perch to rest on for weary gardeners. Seeing how untidy the herb bed looked, I jumped up onto the wall to take the photo below so I could have an aerial view of how to reorganise these plants.

I hadn't got round to doing anything to this bed (it largely looks after itself) but the herbs had survived the winter and started re-growing.  Parsley had appeared, I think from seeds shaken from last year's (bolted) parsley, and birds pecking at the dried sunflower heads had dislodged seeds which are now growing.  Mint cut back in February has bulked up nicely, thyme and golden oregano have spread since being planted last year, the monarda has come back (originally just one tiny shoot bought from a plant sale), the fennel is getting wonderfully fluffy and strawberries have rooted from runners escaping from the nearby pot.  But it's all a bit higgledy-piggledy and, well, messy.  In need of re-think. So, while I prepared other nearby beds for sowing, that's what I did. I thought, but I didn't actually do.

And this is what the same bed looked like today, just 10 hot and drought filled days later:
I think any hopes that I may have had of rearranging my herbs have to be abandoned for this year!  The horseradish is beginning to grow tall and looks (at least from the side view) more like sweetcorn!  It's all starting to grow like Topsy with several plants threatening to crowd each other out.

From the back:  horseradish, monarda (bee balm), fennel, parsley, sunflowers - with a sprig of rosemary peeking in from the right!

So, organised?  I don't think so!  My dilemma now is whether to try and move the larger plants (monarda and fennel) to give them more space but I suspect they wouldn't survive the move at this stage. It's still early enough to start again with the fennel and, perhaps, also the parsley. I'd be glad of any suggestions from anyone who's dealt with similar.

Back at home, the window-boxes on my balcony are prepared and ready to sow. I've removed perennial plants and put in fresh compost so that I can grow lettuce, radishes and herbs upstairs, near to the kitchen, where they'll be handy.  I read somewhere that viola flowers are edible so I've treated myself to a tray of violas to grow amongst the lettuce, but mainly because I think they're very pretty.

I'm having a little break for a few days as I'm off to visit relatives over the forthcoming weekend. Hope this lovely weather continues (although I wouldn't mind some rain!) and wish you all happy gardening and a relaxing bank holiday weekend!  Caro xx


  1. Everything is growing so good in your herb bed, I think I would leave it alone. If it ain't broke... don't fix it.

  2. I agree! Leave them be now and have a sort out later on in the year ready for next year!
    I don't grow violas but they are lovely flowers. You're right about them being edible but have never tasted them.
    Enjoy your weekend! Flighty xx

  3. Caro, thanks so much for visiting my blog and for the tips (I will get down to Starbucks,- nudge nudge, wink wink!) I'm going to get a cuppa and settle down to have a read your blog now. Rach x

  4. Caro it looks so lush and fantastic, amazing how everything has grown with this lovely weather. Like you I wouldn't mind a drop of rain. I hope you haven't planted your horseradish directly into the bed, as apparently it takes over and is hard to get rid of. I was told it's best in a large pot. I love your little viola's they are such a lovely colour.

  5. Hello everyone, last few words before I jump in the motor and get off for my little break... What a thrill to wake up to comments from lovely friends! Thank you all for commenting with good advice:

    Becky, your advice sounds eminently sensible. I have to confess I am a tweaker - I like plants to be given the best chance but I hear what you're saying!

    Flighty, you're much more experienced than I in these matters so I'm sure you're right. Hopefully the herbs will survive the crowding for one summer!

    Rachel, Hi! and welcome to my blog. Gardening on a shoestring makes you think of alternatives so any tips I can offer you're welcome to! Hope you enjoyed your read and hope to see you here again soon!

    Maureen, yes I have! (planted my horseradish into the ground) Whoops. Did a post on it a couple back from this one and have realised some major digging out will be needed this autumn!

    Happy Gardening, everyone! Caro xx

  6. That's a rather dramatic transformation! I agree, there is always next year, moving large plants in this dry weather is a recipe for heartache - or so I keep telling myself, there are several I want to move too... I really must get myself a decent thyme plant, I seem to have killed mine off.

  7. Janet, I'm surprised my thyme is still going strong as i recall it was an impulse buy from Homebase. I usually keep thyme close to the kitchen in pots (and it rarely survives) but this one was plonked into the ground, in a hole which I'd put some soil improving compost into first. I'm amazed that it survived the winter - same goes for the golden oregano! Caro xx


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