A lengthy blurb about our newly planted herbs

It was time to plant our herb garden for the season and this year I decided to shake things up a bit. I usually plant them in three hanging planters that my dad built (and I refinished), however they didn't always thrive quite as well as I'd hoped. The herbs always grew, but didn't always regenerate as fast as we'd like, which had us purchasing fresh herbs at the grocery store again from time-to-time (kind of defeats the purpose right)!?

Anyway, last year there was one sage plant still alive come Spring so I took it out and put it in our large garden bed 'just because'. Well, it went crazy and grew, and grew, and grew! So, a seed was planted (pun intended). This year I thought I'd put the herb garden into my existing large garden bed and see what happened.

Here is how the garden looked in it's current state a few days ago (not the nicest weather lately as you can see).

We are in a townhouse so have the typical small backyard space that townhouses offer. Our garden area was predetermined when we moved in and our small strip of grass (that would not grow) was replaced by building out our deck to meet the garden retaining wall (read more about that here)

The garden itself is quite large and I've been working on filling it up over the six and a half years we've been here. 

Here are the remnants from last year's hanging planter herb garden. I needed to address this too (which I had a plan for). Dried sticks anyone? They go great on roast chicken...

But before I could tackle any of my new planting, I had a few issues. First, this...

WEEDS. A lot of them.

Ugh. Secondly, I needed to relocate some plants and ditch one altogether (a fledgling patch of ground cover). Here is the play-by-play breakdown for you.

As you can see (or not, kind of confusing I know) I relocated two heathers (pink and yellow), dug up the patchy ground cover (white with red 'x') and split one decorative grass into three new plants (blue).  

And I weeded. And weeded. And weeded.

But then I was left with this nice clearing. Perfect for a little herb garden no?

And Chace supervised. 

I figured out the placement of the herbs by first arranging them while still in their pots. Much easier to try out different layouts this way!

I also have two basil plants that can't go in the ground yet as it still gets too cold at night (another month or so and we should be fine) but I kept them in mind too when figuring out my spacing. I also checked the height forecast of each one so that I didn't put ones that were going to grow 20" tall in the front. I wanted to make sure that accessibility was going to be possible since we'll be in and out of this little section all summer.

Once happy with the placement, I planted them.

Chef Kev doesn't need an identification marker, but I'm much less savvy so they are for me. You only have to bring back parsley once when the chef asks for cilantro to determine that cheat sheets for the culinary impaired are a-okay.

I'd love to get some pretty stakes like any of the ones seen here. I love the idea of the identifying rocks too! Future DIY :).



The nice thing about the herbs' placement is that they are located straight out from the sliding doors. Really accesible. 

I also took a moment to wrangle in the peony that I bought last year. It's really shot up so I had to stake it and give it some support. As you can see it's really close to blooming. I can't wait!

Okay, so with that done I turned my attention to my now-empty black hanging planter boxes. Again, because we are in a townhouse, we have limits about what we can change and not change. We can't change the ugly cement wall. 

However, I CAN purchase some trailing succulents that will grow and spill over the sides of the planter while blooming, creating a pretty cascading display of colour!

I decided succulents were the way to go as these planters dry out SO fast in the summer and are in direct sunlight. The succulents actually want to dry out between waterings. Works for me! Especially since I get lazy with my watering regime.

The names of these guys are "Portulaca". They obviously haven't grown yet so aren't cascading but give them time :). I also put in a few flowers called "Celosia" (you can see them peeking out in the last photo above (red and yellow). They aren't succulents, but Chace saw them at the nursery and wanted to get them as they looked "like fuzzy feathers". How could I say no? And, as it turns out, they offer a nice contrast in the planter.

And lastly, I topped up the soil (I had picked up a few bags for my hanging boxes) in my large black planters. I painted these black a few summers ago and they are still holding up well. 

I just trimmed back the decorative grasses in them a few weeks ago (hence the little mounds in the middle) but soon they will look like this again (picture was taken last summer and is from this post). See how they grow nice and tall to fill the space between the top and bottom planters? I think that combined with the trailing Portulaca will look amazing. 

So, I can be patient. I mean, if I wasn't, it could still look like it did when we moved in...

(taken from my office window which overlooks the back area)
Seriously. YUCK. Sure helps to have a vision doesn't it!?

What have you all been up to lately? Anyone else slowly 'opening up' the outside in preparation for the season? Any other new herb gardens out there?

Come on, spill dill! It's time thyme. ;)


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