Tuesday, 28 May 2013

An edible garden

What a glorious weekend! As so many in Blogland seems to be posting about the beautiful blooms in their gardens, I feel obliged to show a bit of our garden.

The combination of sunny weather and Grandma here to play with the girls gave me, finally, some time to catch up and clear up in the back garden. Just when I was about to campaign to make Ground Elder a garden feature, the temperature and sunshine cooperated to allow me to weed it out!
Growing up in a distinctly non-gardening family, I have no experience with plants and flowers. I was eager to learn, but overwhelmed by the information, resources and choices available to the keen gardener. Where to begin?

So I decided the best way to start, and stay interested, was to be able to eat my garden! I focused on herbs, which fascinate me with their vast culinary uses and histories, and I transformed the raised border around our patio into a kitchen herb garden.

Chives about to burst into bloom
One of my great pleasures in life is to be cooking dinner and just pop out the back door to snip a few herbs to toss into the pot.

Robust bay in the sunshine
The raised border has a bushy bay at one end and some rosemary shrubs that are getting a bit out of hand and need a good haircut

Trailing rosemary peeking out of the shade

I use so many of these herbs year round, only a few actually die out in the winter.

Thyme in flower behind the chives
Thyme is my favourite herb. It is so versatile, I add it to everything – veg, meat, fish, chicken...I even have a recipe for sweet thyme cookies – and I have at least five varieties in the border. But at this point I’m not sure which thyme is which (“What thyme is it?” har dee har har), but they each flower at a different time, giving me a blooming season well into summer.

The raised border also houses oregano, savoury, sage...Sweet Woodruff in the shady bit

Sweet Woodruff with rosemary popping over from next door
This herb dries beautifully and makes a super natural closet freshener – it smells like fresh hay and lends a sweet, summery outdoor scent to dark closets.

And we have sweet wild strawberries that flower and ripen a few times a year

Next to the strawberries, and yet to pop up, is sorrel, Bunny’s favourite. It tastes like Granny Smith apples and is great in salads. Bunny loves the tart fresh flavour and nibbles it like...a bunny.
(Note that all my garden plantings are perennial – my life isn’t conducive to annual spring planting season and digging-up time in the autumn!)

Running parallel to the raised border, in the garden beyond the patio, is a second herb border. Here I have larger plants, like the frothy bronze fennel

Bronze fennel, which will grow to about five feet tall, with oregano plants to the left
Sweet cicely looks similar to cow parsley but has a light aniseed flavour. It is a terrific addition to cut down on sugar in certain recipes, like stewed fruits and crumbles.

Sweet cicely, and just peeping up at the left are leaves of marsh mallow

There’s also lavender, dwarf oregano, yarrow, marsh mallow, bee’s balm...and who could call themselves a herb gardener without those invasive, gorgeous mints and lemon balms?

Can you tell which is which?
These brazen, heady herbs make the most novice of gardeners feel like they have great green thumbs, it is impossible to kill them! And nothing is as lovely as a tea made from freshly-picked leaves...

So there you have it, a peek into my edible garden. There are some lovely “weeds” blooming in the lawn, too

Bunny picked a buttercup and held it under my chin, checking to see if I liked butter. Little Flower, who had never seen this age-old game before, picked this...

...held it under my chin, and said, “Mummy, let’s see if you like chicken pie.”
Now that it is raining again, we’re all indoors and my WIPs are calling to me...which first? I’d love to make progress on my first quilt, but the Dr. Seuss stitching is so fun...

Happy crafting!

Chrissie x





  1. I love your herb garden and I agree there's nothing like popping out and snipping a bit of this or that to go in your dish. I've never been able to keep thyme though (no pun intended) but that might have had something to do with Mr Ned - now he's residing under the plum tree I might have more luck! Your garden is looking several weeks ahead of mine - brig on that sunshine! Jane x

  2. Oh bless little flower ..... that made me laugh so much, just hilarious! xxx
    You could stock the greengrocers with that little lot, I have never ever tried sorrel, i shall be giving it a go.
    I have just blogged about my garden too, it must be a blogging epidemic!
    love jooles xxx

  3. I think your herb garden looks wonderful! I love using herbs in my cooking and thyme is my favourite too.
    M x

  4. It is my dream to have an edible garden as wonderful as yours! I only have a small veg patch at the moment but even then I love being able to snip some herbs too cook with.

    1. Hi Trishie, it took me a good five years of nursing herbs on my windowsill and planting a few at a time in the garden, so you're on the right track by having even a small veg patch! And I was a bit ruthless getting rid of some pretty flowers and shrubs to make room for tasty plants...thanks for visiting! Cx

  5. Love all those alliums. Also love a pretty herb garden and very fond of thyme. xo