Gardening With Herbs



Gardening With Herbs

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Herbs:  Gardens, Decorations and Recipes

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11 Good Plants to Define Your Garden

When you want to separate different areas of your garden or keep some areas hidden, a wall, fence, or hedge is the answer.  Stone, wood, and brick are common materials for handsome walls and fences, but a living green hedge is less intrusive and warmer.  Tall hedges provide privacy, create secret gardens, even baffle noise from the street – all the while providing a handsome background for colorful flowers.

Low hedges define the pattern of a formal garden, emphasize the line of a path, or lend a certain formality to even the most exuberant garden.  And knot gardens, those fanciful displays from Tudor days, are nothing more than a carefully plotted series of low hedges.

Many herbs make ideal choices for either high or low hedges.  In addition to good foliage, their essential oils may scent the air and flowers, from minute to impressive, can add color where desired.  Here is a list of some of the herbs most often used for hedges.

* Juniper:  A tall evergreen with handsome blue-green foliage and silvery blue berries that are used to flavor gin.

* Yew:  Now being investigated as a cancer drug, yew is an excellent evergreen hedge of medium height.

* Boxwood:  Once suggested by Mrs. Grieve for a number of ailments, it’s now prized because its dense foliage of small, shiny green leaves is so easily trimmed into simple hedges or fancifully shaped.

* Hydrangea:  Excellent for an informal hedge at the edge of the property or in a shady area, the roots are used medicinally.

* Rugosa Roses:  An informal hedge with fragrant blooms.  The thorns act as a barrier to animals.  Other bush roses can be trained into a hedge, but none are as hardy as the rugosa.  The Fairy Rose is a good choice for a low hedge.

* Bay:  Capable of growing up to 40 feet tall in warm climates where it makes a handsome and fragrant hedge.

* Rosemary:  Another herb that can be used as an informal and fragrant hedge in warm climates.

* Germander:  Often used to define herb gardens and especially handsome when the mauve-pink flowers appear.

* Barberry:  A useful mid-height shrub.  A shorter red-leafed variety is frequently used in knot gardens.

*Lavender:  Can be used to edge paths and is beautiful when in bloom.  In a formal setting, you may have to settle for the handsome gray foliage and sacrifice the blooms to keep the plants manicured.

* Santolina:  Another option for gray - or bright green - foliage – depending on the variety.  In either case, treat it like lavender:  allow it to flower or trim it neatly.

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© photos Chris Mead, text Emelie Tolley