Green Living: Herb Garden

When I first began my holistic journey about 13 years ago (yikes, where does the time go?!), I found myself much more connected to nature. I started noticing plants and flowers more and truly appreciating the lush Southern California surroundings. After reading about the wonderful therapeutic benefits of gardening and growing your own food, I became inspired to completely transform my parents backyard. A few weeks later our yard was overflowing with potted herbs, plants and flowers. I then decided to up the ante and grow a vegetable garden. Well, after hours of tilling, digging and planting, and feeling very proud of my efforts - I woke up one morning to find that it had almost all disappeared. I called out immediately for my Dad and yelled in a panic, "we have been vandalized!" My father looked quite concerned and then all of the sudden.....we saw a jack rabbit and then another one and another and another!! I can still see my father roaring with laughter now and saying, "we were vandalized by a jack rabbit family!" It was the first and last time we ever saw a jack rabbit in the vicinity. Dad has never let me live the moment down, and when I talk about gardening  in his presence - I see the smirk on his face that takes him back to that day....which was admittedly pretty funny!

Life has changed dramatically since my college days of gardening. After living in NYC for over a decade (and trying to join a few community gardens in the city), I finally have the opportunity to take this gardening thing seriously again. Since Victor and I bought our house in the country, I have only stuck to potted herbs and plants. Frankly, I have been a little intimidated not only by my first unsuccessful go around, but also the local CT elements, specifically - poison ivy and ticks. Plus, we were given good advice by a landscape architect - we were told to wait at least 4 seasons before we start making any major changes so we could see what we were really dealing with. Well, the waiting is definitely over (so are the excuses) and the fears have been conquered. We are gardening! We planted 9 hydrangeas a couple of weeks ago (will have a separate post on that project in the coming weeks) and now I am on to creating a small herb garden. 

While I am yearning to have a formal herb garden like in the first two photos, I am taking things slowly. Where we live is pretty rustic so the next two pictures are a bit more realistic inspiration. I love to cook so finally having a dedicated herb garden to pull from will be such a treat. If all goes to plan, I will be cooking up a storm with them and will have lots of recipes to share with you. 

The northeast growing conditions obviously differ from CA so there is a bit of a learning curve and I not only have to contend with jack rabbits, but also deer. I have chosen deer resistant herbs, although if they get hungry enough, apparently they will eat them regardless (list below). I decided to split the garden with perennials on one side and a couple annuals on the other side so I can easily plant annuals again next year. I believe the location, which is right outside our mudroom just off the kitchen (important to have easy access) meets all the needed growing conditions  -  full sun (at least 6 hours a day) and good drainage. I have followed our local garden center's directions for prepping the bed - removed all the weeds, tilled the soil, mixed organic compost with the existing soil along with some top soil and fertilizer. Then planted the herbs that will have more height towards the back and made sure they are all adequately separated to ensure full growth. For the herbs that are not deer resistant, I am keeping them in pots on our deck. All-in-all, I have completely enjoyed the planning and planting process - now I am just hoping they thrive! AND if any of you avid gardener's have tips for me...please share! Would love to hear them! 

I chose these deer resistant herbs:

  • Sage
  • Chives
  • Lavender (great as a border, which is where I placed them)
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Lemon Balm
  • Mint (plant in a pot otherwise it will take over the garden)
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary

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