My mother is a gardener. Not just a front flower patch sort of gardener. I’m not talking about a woman who heads out and weeds her front garden bed once a month, when it has become something akin to the Amazon Rainforest. Gardening is her lifestyle. She is a gardener just as much as she is a woman, a mother and a wife.
I, unfortunately, did not inherit this green thumb and find that anything green and alive, promptly dies when it crosses into my small two bedroom apartment. My dear mum, bless her, in an attempt to convert me to her way of life, recently bought me a herb garden. No, I am not a Nanna. No, I am not in my sixties and no, you will not find me pottering around the roses and gardenias with Mum. But now, what you will find, is a herb garden convert.
Yes, I’ll admit it. I am in love with my new found appreciation of the little green plants, mounted on the wall of my balcony, that I have miraculously managed to keep alive and that have also provided me with an array of beautifully aromatic herbs that make my little abode, just that little more homely.
And it’s perfect. For an apartment dweller such as myself, a herb garden is the busy woman’s answer to craving some greenery and nature in your life. Whether it be a little stack of pots from your local Bunnings, or the beautiful wall mounted option that my caring mother picked up for me in an attempt to add some life to my somewhat sterile apartment, a herb garden was my answer. They require little maintenance, take up limited space and as an added bonus, make you feel very chef like, when you duck out to rip off some of your homegrown basil for that evening’s bolognaise!
Keeping them alive….
Herb gardens are surprisingly low maintenance. Not in the same way the unwatered succulent on your desk is low maintenance, but low maintenance just the same.
First of all, ensure that you have selected a suitable spot. And as long as that spot has sunlight and well drained soil, you’ll be fine. About 6 hours of normal sunlight, less if you live in a particularly hot part of the country, in which case choose somewhere that will get a couple of hours of afternoon shade. You can grow your herbs from seedling or seed, and add a little compost or specialised mix to the soil to ensure that it drains well and is full of nutrients. Nutrient rich soil, means healthy green plants. Water them about twice a week and harvest your herbs regularly. In the beginning, I was worried about picking my herbs. They looked so pretty after all! But the more you harvest, the more your plant will produce, so don’t be scared to regularly pick your herbs as soon as they begin to flourish.
Selecting your herbs….
I am not the world’s best cook, and a few months ago, if you had of asked me which herbs I like to include in my cooking, I would have had to check the back of the jar or packet. Not so anymore! Having fresh herbs has actually made me get into cooking from scratch, which although takes a little more planning, ends in a much more delicious result! For a basic herb starter pack, I would recommend the following;
- Basil – Before I left home, mother taught this culinary challenged woman how to cook a fantastic bolognaise, and so basil was a must.
- Rosemary – Is there anything better than lamb and fresh rosemary? I think not.
- Parsley – What recipe does not include parsley?
- Oregano – Perfect for homemade pizzas and in beautiful tomato based dishes.
- Coriander – Controversial I know, but I love it so it was never going to miss out.
- Mint – For my Pimms!
I am in no way a green thumb. I don’t have a lot of spare time and I definitely would not have considered myself a gardening guru. I still don’t. But I do highly recommend the addition of a herb garden to your home. The aroma, the addition of live decor and the plus of having your own little living kitchen cupboard are all benefits of such an easy little garden. Easy to establish, easy to maintain and easy to use. A bit of time setting it up, an even smaller amount of time caring for it, and you are left with a gift to yourself, that adds a natural ambience to your home and flavour and excitement to your kitchen.
Written by Georgie Trenwith
Georgie is an Aussie beauty who puts our literary game to shame. A creative soul, when she isn’t balancing being a full time teacher and a part time writer, you’ll usually find her lost in a book, enjoying live music & theatre or spending time with the fam.