Thursday, July 28, 2011

My New Herb Garden

For many years, I have wanted an herb garden--a designated area just for herbs. Currently, I use many herbs in the vegetable garden for companion planting, but sometimes they get too large and take up valuable gardening space. I also have herbs scattered around the flower beds because I like herbs mixed with flowers and other plants and they also act as pest deterrents.

A few weeks ago, we finally began work on our herb garden. The space we selected is near the back entrance of the house for easy access. It will be nice to quickly run out and snip a few herbs for cooking. This spot was a grassy area where grass struggled to grow because of the repeated traffic to and from the patio. Here is the before photo:

We started by laying out the cross path to have four quadrants. The stepping stones are 16 inches square. We doubled the paths to have ample room for getting something large on and off the patio, so each path is 32 inches wide. My husband lays these stones so well. He digs them in and places them on crusher run. After the path was complete, we set edgers around the herb beds up to the path in each quadrant.  I planted some Sky Pencil Japanese holly (Ilex crenata) at one edge to camouflage the wooden stairs.

Herbs I planted in the beds:

Sweet Basil - Ocimum basilicum

Osmin Purple Basil

Rosemary - Rosemarinus officinalis

Spicy Globe Basil

Thai Basil - O. basilicum thyrsiflorum

Variegated Basil - Ocimum x citriodorum 'Pesto Perpetuo'

Sage - Salvia officinalis  *  Dill - Anethum graveolens  *
 Variegated Sage - Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor'  * Parsley - Petroselinum crispum 

The finished herb garden...

Other herbs I have since added to the herb garden are garlic chives, Italian parsley, and fennel. I may add some additional herbs over the coming weeks. As the Japanese hollies grow, they should change the view of the stairs.

I look forward to using these herbs for cooking and herbal teas. I will relish the opportunity to find so many so near.

I am joining Frugal Friday at  The Shabby Nest

and Home and Family Friday at Home is Where My Story Begins.
©Michelle A. Potter

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Walled Garden of Montpelier

(My laptop went on the blink last week which prevented me from posting. It is three years old, and I may need to get a new one. This is the second time this has happened within a year. I hope things are under control here goes.)

Montpelier is the estate of James Madison, the fourth president of the United States and often considered 'the Father of the Constitution.' Recently, a friend and I took a tour of the home and garden.

The home was sold by the Madison family in 1844. In 1901, the estate was purchased by the duPont family and remained in the family until 1984 when it was transferred to Mrs. Marion duPont Scott's Trust for Historical Preservation. The Montpelier Foundation was established by the trust to manage Montpelier. In 2003, the foundation began restoring the Madison mansion to the 1820's home of James and Dolley Madison.

There is still much restoration to be done to the home, but the gardens were in their prime.

Lots of old trees...

The Walled Garden

The perennial bed...


The Herb Garden



I am linking in with An Oregon Cottage for Tuesday Garden Party.
©Michelle A. Potter

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Last Hurrah - GBBD - July 2011

July is usually a very hot and dry month for us, and my blooms sometimes begin to suffer and fade. However, this July has been uncharacteristically cooler and wet. It has been a welcome turn of weather. However, I expect that soon the weather will revert back to the norm. We'll see...

This month many plants give their last hurrah of blooms. And I will miss them. Some of the hydrangeas and lillies will soon offer their last blooms for the season. Although there are still many blooms in the garden and I appreciate all of them, some of my favorites will be done...for now.

Over the years, I have planted many varieties of lillies that bloom early to mid-summer. I have yet to add some varieties that bloom in late summer. It would be nice to have an extended bloom of these colorful plants. After reading the Lilyfest posts by Lona of A Hocking Hills Garden with the many lily photos and extraordinary colors, I am very tempted to get to the garden catalogs and order some.

The hydrangea macrophylla and quercifolia will need to be pruned before the end of July if I want blooms next year.

One of the many things I like about hydrangeas is the color transformation. Each week there is a surprise of color.

I trimmed off the top of the coreopsis hoping for another bloom spurt. I see some buds forming...

Other bloomers that will bloom for many more months are the Black-eyed Susans.

The 'Vanilla Strawberry' hydrangea will slowly turn pink and burgundy. This is my first of these hydrangeas, and I look forward to observing its color transformation. They start out bright white...

This is also the first year I have planted caladiums. I enjoy the pops of color among the other foliage.

The penstemon, buddleia, and 'Limelight' hydrangea will keep my garden in blooms for a few more months.

It is Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day over at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her to see what other garden bloggers have blooming.

I am also joining Tootsie Time for Fertilizer Friday Flaunt Your Flowers.
©Michelle A. Potter
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