The Herb Garden

Herb garden in Farmleigh House walled garden

Herb garden in Farmleigh House walled garden

In Irish gardening, there is a major trend towards “Grow-Your-Own” fruits and vegetables.  This is for a variety of reasons including: wanting to know where our food comes from, cost-saving, taste and experimentation as well as the satisfaction that comes with nurturing and producing our own food.  There is something primal about this too.

Many garden designers have long understood the productive side of gardening and encouraged their clients in this area.  This new general trend has obviously made this easier, such that, it is now exceptional for our designs not to include a vegetable growing area and/or at least some edible plants.  In fact, we work on the basis that every garden should have at least one edible plant!

Design for a formal herb garden by Tim Austen Designs

Design for a formal herb garden by Tim Austen Designs

One of the most simple and satisfying ways of growing edible plants is to include a herb garden.   This can be as simple as growing a bit of thyme and parsley in a pot or planter on the windowsill.  For the more adventurous and those with even a modicum of space, there is the opportunity to create beautiful herb gardens at a range of sizes in both relaxed and formal design styles.  Moreover there is the satisfaction of knowing that not only are the herbs really good for us nutritionally; they also make our food taste better.

Informal herb garden design

Informal herb garden design by Tim Austen Designs

I have found that fresh herbs grown at home tend to be significantly less expensive to produce when set against simply buying them from the supermarket or grocers.

Finally, one of the nicest and most extensive herb gardens that I have come across recently was at Farmleigh House adjacent to Dublin’s Phoenix Park.  This is in the walled garden area and had a wide selection of herbs planted generously in rows (pictured top).  It was beautiful to walk through at the height of summer with the bumble bees buzzing around us and knowing that all the plants were edible and good for us.

  • I agree that with the rising cost of almost everything, the practical thing to do is to grow your own food. Aside from being significantly cheaper, you also control what goes in them, like chemical pesticides and all. The pictures shown are pretty, but I feel that it could have been better. Perhaps, more plants in the lawn and not just along the walkway might do the trick.

    20th December 2011at4:19 am

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