Phase 2 herb veg garden tips n ticks.
You should have completed phase one by now. So you have clear space with planted areas labels and all the required ground work done.
For some reason most people tend to begin a project like planting a herb garden and then simply stick the plants in the ground and leave. They often look in confused awe at other gardens that simply jump out saying look at me. What they don't realize is the other gardens have been dressed. this is an important part of any gardening project. Here we specifically detail a herb or veg garden.
No matter how big or small you project is its still important to dress it. Even small details can help you need to spend lots of money on accessories or hard ware some drift wood a old fishing net and rusty wheel barrow even old garbage cans can be used with great to finesse a garden.
If you have a wall or plain fence and have no need to carve up the garden, consider painting the wall in a bright colour. I once used lime green, it was amazing. This simple step will stun you if you get the colours right. Alternatively you can add a fence as a backdrop, the easy available bamboo or willow screening gives a great rustic effect in country or sea side setting.
A privacy screen or to section off the herb garden. Someone I know planted hazel down one side and had a lot of nuts to eat in winter. Think a bit and you'd be amazed what you can produce in the smallest space. Think efficient don't waste space.
Plant some big grasses go for colour reds pinks or autumn colours. Some bamboo plants can be dotted around the outside to give depth of field and texture and diffuse the wind and provide shelter for birds feeding.
With fencing you can select from wrought iron, white picket, rustic wood or stone. these will of course have a cost but it will make the difference and make your garden appear bigger by breaking it up into room or sections.
Use available materials and colors that contrast with those of the herb or vegetable garden. Chicken wire with perennial sweet pea and every green climbers can be a great foil.
How many time shave you gone outside at night to root for some herbs and fallen over something. Remember to keep a path to your utility or kitchen gardens clear and simple to navigate with simple lines and free of clutter, and put a light in or on or over it.
You can easily have a cable run out to your garden, any competent DIY Er should be able to to the basics with a Proper Electrician to inspect the job and commission the light.
Never mess with electrics out side unless you are a electrician.
Remember your making a space. Place containers throughout the herb and vegetable garden, along pathways if not in the way (see above) or at the entrance. Perhaps use an arch and grow a scented climbing rose up like St paul's scarlet, or scented Jasmine and honey suckle.
Plant some herbs (ones you need to restrain like mint and balm/melissa) or other flowers in terra-cotta pots, resin plastic, stone planters, wooden barrels or old crates. I personally plant annual herbs in old fruit boxes that I simply staple ground over into and fill with good compost. Also plant pots /boxes of french marigolds to help ward off white fly and other pests. Lemon verbena is great for annoying bad bugs and has herbal / medicinal uses. Containers add color, texture and character to the garden.
Lay decorative but simple walkways in the herb garden. Line paths with chamomile or thyme and lavender.
Box can be an easy ever green low hedge and is cheap enough. You can use Pea gravel or crushed seashells or patio slabs, textured concrete, all of which which are unique materials to decorate with, however bark mulch probably the best.
If you have very sunny site be careful using stones or shells they can store excess heat in the soil and burn the roots and prevent nutrients running into the soils and also reflect a lot of light and burn the plants. you could also use ornamental cabbage you can start them in summer for winter planting or buy plugs quite cheap.
Decorate a herb vegetable garden with small water features, elegant appropriate sculptures. Some cascades of trailing flowers like surfinias, lampranthus lobelia, verbenas, nasturtiums, or even trailing rosemary can be great.
Raise up the pots with bricks or a simple wooden frame can be knocked up to get a good faling cascade l effect even a mound of soil. Remember to use dots of colours and scent. Even though its a useful garden for producing herbs and veg it still deserves to look nice. In summer have a few pots stuffed with sun flowers.
Think about fitting lights. Use these items as focal points in the garden. Use them to light the paths and extend the usability of the garden though out the year and day. In Ireland its dark at 4pm in winter.
Place a bench, wooden swing or stool simple (cast iron love seats are available at hardware shops). Put the seat near the scented and aromatic plants in the herb garden to encourage visitors to stop and sit.
Place it where the best view of the garden is. Create focal points from this seat like a japanese maple or a display of flowering plants or the water feature. Make the seat(visually) sticky and tranquil.
If you have the space a you could a little table with a couple chairs, so you can enjoy a meal or a drink in the garden. In high summer the scent of the oils will lift you.
Remember to plant some night scented stock near the seat, and dot some around the garden so you get a waft of scent on the air.
You can maybe make seat or bench from some other feature like an old wall can be shaped down to make a space to sit. Holes in walls can be used for putting in tea lights or ornaments of small pots of flowers, burning incense can be useful at night for creating a vibe and helping keep fly's away.
Add some items to help wild life and the wild life with help you.
Some bird accessories in the herb garden will give you hours of avian observation. Locate bird feeders near the edge of the garden where the birds feel safe enough to land and eat.
Place a bird bath in the open where the rain can refill it or even use an old tin bath or container make it easy for creatures to crawl out of it. Some old pots can help to harbour wildlife. Buy some mushroom dowls and drill holes in old well soaked logs and put the dowls in put in the damp part of the garden with some straw and leaf mould and soil. You can grow truffles, porchini, shitake, oyster, enoki, and many more this way. Takes a little time but its worth it.
Consider using old logs and simple wooden boxes to help nice mice and hedgehogs and frogs to hide out. They will eat pests and parasites keep ing your garden in shape.
Also plant some sunflowers and millet for the birds.
The tops of cavity blocks can be potted up with bak choi or swiss chard and can be used to make hard boundries. you pick as you need with these vegetables.and it looks great those wild colour of the chard.
If you have a salad garden use some of the lettuce plants maybe seedling thinning's,and place it near the rough outside of the area and make it nice and easy for the slugs and snails. Believe it or not they will go for the easy option. Try it it really works. You can re sow every so often and not poison your food or the wildlife with bad chemicals.
Think about gilding the lilly, step back and have look at the space see how it looks wait a little while ask others for their opinion.
You can always add to it later but some wind chimes or lanterns painted glass pots, string lights, outdoor fairylights maybe paint some more surfaces or even age some. Get some lichen rocks position them in dark areas, you can paint rocks or concrete wit hive yogurt and it will help age concrete. in your dark areas if there is a line of sight that obvious brighten it up. many plants can be used. Or a fruit tree.
Paint or stencil garden characters or flowers or such like on the walls or fence nearby or furniture. Use some old tiles to and break them up make mini mosaics on walls or bits that stick out if you know what I mean.
Maybe frame a old mirror like this use a good tile cement and mix with some PVA glue to get weather proof bond. make sure they are flat and even don't worry about the patter just go with it if you have no idea.
Sand off the sharp edges a bit Then tap down each bit in to place with piece of wood so they lay flat. Then use a stick to check they are all smooth and level. Then grout and clean.
You need to make sure they are level so people don't catch themselves or cut them selves on sharp edges. Sharp tiles can open you like a surgeon.
If you have few quid spare consider these as luxuries, irrigation system or porous pipe. Garden audio this can be great for parties or even playing bird sounds from at a back ground level. If you hide the speakers well people never can tell. Bose make top notch system but there are many alternitives out there, but remember its going outside so don't skimp on quality or safety.
Remember, it is stage dressing you will see this re occur in all our articles. Look for and secure props, you can change the themes of the gardens you create with the seasons by thinking smarter.
Get or grow some pumpkins for halloween, use them for lanterns or pile them up in a corner. You could use your patio or herb gardens for the kids halloween party use a garden fire bin have a mini bonfire. Look for artifacts to use and rotate them in the garden. You can always give them away or trade them dump them or they will compost.
Always check piles of leaves and wood for hibernating animals. BBQ hedgehog is off putting.
Phase 3 Care and attention is comming soon.
COPYRIGHT 2007 MILLIWAYS GARDENBARGAINS IRELAND