Thursday, March 26, 2009

My New Herb Garden

Is there nothing more promising than a new garden, ready to be planted? Dreams of lush flowers, the air filled with the scent of herbs and robust vegetables ready for the dinner table... We all know that by July those dreams may be dashed, but in late March everything seems possible.

This garden is the result of 6 years of dreaming and planning. Having moved into this house with a small garden running along the side of the house, I struggled to make it work. It was filled with lemon balm and the first few years I affectionately called it my lemon balm garden. And although I love lemon balm, I would like some other things there also. So lemon balm plants went to the Garden Club sale, the store, friends and anyone who would take it....and still there was lemon balm. But after a year or two of diligent removal and new plantings, the form of an herb garden began to take shape. But there wasn't enough room in the narrow strips on either side of an old, lopsided brick path to include all I wanted. And the vegetables always overflowed, with pumpkin and squash vines taking up the path and winding around other plants, tomatoes running into the currant bushes that were there, and the sage growing large and overshadowing everything around it.

But the final blow was the vole, or what seemed like a large family of voles. My first indication several years ago was the echinacea. Big, beautiful echinacea in bloom suddenly was tilting to one side. When I went out to see what was happening, I pulled at it and up the whole stalk came, with no roots at all on the plant or in the ground. After much internet research I found this was probably the work of a vole and the next year, almost the entire garden was eaten from below ground. The vole war started, and after trying all the organic remedies I resorted to poison, which still only worked minimally. So last year I planted in cages I made out of chicken wire and decided that was it....I was giving up on reforming this garden and a new one was warranted.

So after close to a year of plans, discussions, hiring and work my beautiful garden is finished (many thanks to Lisa Bailey of BayLeaf Studios in Maynard, MA, Steve Jackson of Stonewalls by Jackson in Lancaster, MA and Miller Fence in Worcester, MA).

But we finished just as the first snow and freezing weather started, leaving me a blank landscape to start with in the Spring. I heeled in existing plants I wanted to replant and hopefully they have made it through the winter.

So the winter months were spent on dreaming and planning....what to plant, where, how many, how to work around the shade areas and slope by the stairs....all the fun stuff.

I plan to post my progress this season in the blog. Any ideas, suggestions and comments are welcome!

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