This year I expanded my front patio to include sedum lined tiles, more space for seating, and a cocktail herb garden. This spot is a delicious smelling niche that has become the focus of outdoor room entertaining in my front garden. Many of my friends and family discover birds and other pollinators like bees and butterflies flitting all around the herbs while we are out on the front patio spending time together.
Inspired by Amy Stewart’s latest book, The Drunken Botanist, this garden design was intended to be a relaxing place that bathes you in delightful scents as you sip herbal cocktails and watch the wildlife. Pollinators love the plants that surround the patio. I planted basil, thyme, and plants from The Drunken Botanist plant collection such as, the “Old Tom Gin Garden” and the “Old Havana Rum Garden”. Sitting out front has become an amazing experience because of the bees and butterflies that dance through the herb garden as much as for the delicious herbal cocktails.
Bird watching is a part of this experience as well. We have a wonderful little hummingbird that flies in and out of the hostas and herbs. She loves the sage flowers, bee balm, cat mint, and my little red hummingbird feeder. I keep it stocked up with nectar just for her so she can entertain us with her antics.
Building an herbal garden with the goal of attracting the birds and bees and a few dozen cocktail aficionados could be just the fantastic late summer project you need to end your summer with a garden bang. Plan the lay-out, amend the soil, and then toss in a few perennial herbs such as lemon thyme, tricolor sage, and lavender. You can enjoy the herbs this fall and be surprised by new growth in the early spring for the first outdoor garden cocktail parties of the season.
According the FTC, I need to let you know that I received products in this story at no cost in exchange for reviewing them.
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Bee Balm, cat mint, cocktail, design, feeder, Flowers, garden, Gardening, herb, herbal, Herbs, hummingbird, hummingbirds, lavender, lemon thyme, pollinators, sage, sedum, The Drunken Botanist, tricolor sage, wildlife
There is so much garden goodness floating around the internet, I felt compelled to share! Here’s my weekly round-up of blog posts I found inspiring and highly pin-able.
Hey, listen, herbs are hot. Why? They’re a multi-tasking plant adding fragrance, flavor and beauty to your home and garden. I’m loving how Matt Mattus makes his favorite herbs feel right at home by displaying them in herbalicious fashion throughout his abode. Are you ready to be inspired? Read the entire article here on Growing with Plants.
What makes public transportation even greener? Green roofs! Learn how a father uses Phytokinetic to green-up urban spaces and how he actually did his market research on his 6 and 9 year old children and their friends (major bonus points for involving the kids!) Read the entire article here from Urban Gardens.
While my garden generally invokes a more casual, sometimes hap-hazard design, this simple and elegant display caught my eye immediately on Studio G’s blog. Is black the new — black? It sure pops against the boxwoods and moss. Read her entire article showcasing black slats in an outdoor space (perfect for sophisticated privacy) and let me know if it’s a style you like as well.
Who is your favorite blogger? Let me know — I’m always looking to be inspired.
I have a bit of an odd relationship with lavender (Lavandula). On one hand I love it: The plant looks good, smells great, and has attractive foliage that fits in well with just about everything I’ve ever tried to plant around it. Plus you can cook with it; try strawberry-lavender ice cream for a tasty summer treat or lemon-lavender cookies any time of hte year. Yum!
But sometimes lavender annoys me. Why? because it gives so many of you (my readers) trouble. The other BHG garden editors and I get a ton of reader questions through Garden Doctor about this beautiful plant.
The most common mistake most people seem to have when growing lavender is that they grow it too wet. This herb wants full sun and likes to stay on the dry side, especially in winter. I’ve actually had great luck with it on the edge of the rain shadow created by the eaves of my house.
Lavender is also a perfect choice for containers; they give you the advantage of being able to move it around, so if you’re having a party on your deck you can place pots of lavender where your guests can easily brush by to release that wonderful, relaxing fragrance.
If you’re feeling like me and you long for fresh herbs but the weather’s gone cold, don’t despair — try growing herbs indoors. It’s actually pretty easy, as long as you have a bright spot (such as an unobstructed west- or south-facing window) to grow them in.
The key is realizing that most herbs don’t love growing inside — so you really need to consider them short-term plants (especially annual varieties such as basil). You may get a month, maybe two, from most of your plants before they fade away. Don’t feel bad about losing them by spring — herbs are not meant to be long-lived houseplants. And as long as you use them in cooking or baking, or even just to rub the leaves a few times and enjoy that fresh scent as a way of getting over cabin fever, you’ll probably find they’re worth the investment.
Here are some tips if you’d like to try growing herbs in your home this winter.
> They need bright light. If you don’t have a large sunny window, get an inexpensive shop light from your local hardware store and hang it about 8 inches above your plants. They’ll do just as well — if not better — in artificial light.
> Don’t love them too much. Most herbs prefer well-drained soil and would rather be a bit too dry than a bit too wet. Be sure to let the top inch or so of the potting mix dry out before you water them again.
> Give them drainage. It’s important that the roots don’t stand in water, so grow your herbs in a container that has drainage holes so excess moisture can escape.
> Protect them from drafts. Blasts of cold or hot air (from doors, windows, or heating vents) can quickly sap the life from your plants.