January and February are big months for garden dreaming and planning.
My mind is on herbs.
I've really missed having an herb garden these last few years.
It's not just the pleasure of cooking with fresh herbs, it's the richly scented enjoyment of being surrounded by fragrant plants.
I have a variety of fantasy herb gardens in my mind, and it's time to start narrowing those down.
First, I'll have to say goodbye to some elements I can't have...
for instance, a wattle fence.
I love the look of wattle fencing, the special texture of woven branches,
stirring memories of an old colonial garden,
or a medieval physic garden.
Unfortunately, the materials necessary to build one are not to hand. Everything that grows wild around here is covered in thorns - trees, bushes, vines.
(I've thought about naming this house Thornyhold.)
This is thorny thicket country.
A thicket is an very dense tangle of trees and vines and undergrowth.
In England this would be called a copse, or a spinney if it was sheltering game.
I recently read The History of Dallas County Texas: From 1837 to 1887. It mentions the challenges early settlers faced trying to cut through thickets. One recollection, about the first group of white men to make their way to the bluff that would eventually become the location of the village of Dallas, reads:
"Some suffering from wounds, all well-nigh denuded of clothing and their flesh torn with thorns, they resolved to halt for repose. With mud and oak ooze their wounds were poulticed, buffaloes were killed for meat, and their hides converted into moccasins and "leggings"..."
With the abundance of thorny growth around here, I can imagine their clothes turned to rags pretty quickly as they tried to hack their way through the growth along Turtle Creek and the Trinity River!
So, without some nice flexible, thorn-free whips to gather and weave, I'll have to let the wattle idea go. But, there are other ways to enclose an herb garden...
Images found here: