Herbs for summer

One of the best things about having some space is being able to grow fresh herbs to add to summer salads (and other dishes).

I finally got my current selection of herbs into their pots.  I’d intended to grow from seed but (as usual) was too impatient and due to messing around with other things, I hadn’t got any seeds sown early enough. Last week I pottered around Homebase,  Lower Morden Garden Centre and Morden Hall Garden Centre and returned with a small haul of herbs (20 or so plants). They sat out on the fire-escape for a few days whilst I dealt with other things and then finally got around to potting them up.


If you deduce that these pots are sitting on a mat in the bath so they could get a good soaking you would be correct!  Here we have (from left to right and top to bottom) sweet woodruff, feverfew, golden oregano, oregano, savory, parsley, hyssop, variegated sage, camomile, english mace and common thyme.

I’d love to have space for a big herb bed, but since space is limited and much of it is turned over to food production, I have to be innovative.

So I’ve been growing herbs in terracotta pots attached with wire to my fire-escape for the last 10 or so years.

The disadvantage is that it means I tend to have to treat them as annuals (or when they start to get too big pass them onto friends where they can thrive in more space).


Here’s a shot from the top of my fire-escape down into the garden.  You can just about make out the herb pots strung onto the fire-escape.  There’s also my small olive tree and the line of pots behind it which are on every step down the fire-escape. These contain spring bulbs, lillies (at the bottom unseen here), there are also a hosta, zantedeschia, lemon verbena, myrtle, and later on in the season will have some bright coloured flowers like geraniums, scented pelargoniums and all sorts of other things.

You can also just about see that both of my neighbours have gardens which consist pretty much of decking and are barren of plants.  Which is one reason I’m trying to bone up on permaculture principles – to make my garden more wildlife friendly.

In the picture on the left above you can also see my giant Pyracantha, which takes up a chunk of space under the fire-escape and makes occasional incursions across the stairs unless I keep it trimmed back. I’m rather fond of it, it’s about 20 years old now, forms a small arch over the steps (see second photo from the top) which blocks you being able to view the whole of my tiny garden and adds a bit of mystery. It’s pleasant to sit under the shade it casts in between pottering around. It always has a fabulous showing of flowers which are loved by hoverflies, lacewings, bees and butterflies and then a brilliant lot of berries much beloved by the fat pigeons and other birds in the neighbourhood. So despite the fact that it has almost outgrown the garden it’s staying.

This year, having realised that growing strawberries in a strawberry pot doesn’t work (too cramped and too attractive to my large population of slugs and snails) I’ve converted one strawberry pot to a herb pot. My plan is to move this one (once the spring flowering bulbs are moved) to flat roof over the front door. Then I can lean out of the kitchen window and grab things as I need them.

Herbs in this include sage, rosemary and chives (potted in the top), coriander, majoram, thyme, oregano (again – because I like it and use lots of it)!

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