Monday, June 10, 2013

Herb Garden Progress

The last thing to go into this herb garden are the herbs! 
First came the blank slate decisions:
 Location (sunny)
Size (generous)
Shape (center circle)
Style (raised bed, stone to match house)

 Next came the heavy contract work to create the Hardscape.
This included installing the stone walls, adding the amended soil to the raised beds, installing the irrigation system, and putting down the pea gravel walkway.

Then the first plantings: Large Perennials.
We now have all of the Arborvitae hedge in place.

Across the lake side we are just one plant short of completing the Japanese Boxwood hedge.
They will grow together to form a two-three foot wind screen.
The wild and sustained winds of spring threatened to blow the young plants right out of the ground! 

I need four more Goodwin Creek Lavender to complete the center circle. 
This is the type of lavender most highly recommended for Central Texas. 
I have been to multiple nurseries trying to track down a few more plants, but no luck yet!

Above on the left is the bit of stick fencing I improvised to protect the smallest herb plants until I could get all the boxwood in place.
I have amended the whole bed with cornmeal and dried molasses.
Both are natural fungicides, and both are used as food by native beneficial soil microbes.
Fire ants have invaded this corner of the raised bed.
In the lovely loose earth of a raised bed, fire ant colonies can be completely invisible until it's too late. (The wretched, nasty biters swarmed my gloves before I could get them off!).
I put in those two very aromatic society garlic plants to see if that will discourage them.
But the dry molasses should really do the trick.
Just in case, this weeks purchase will be DE powder (diotomaceous earth). 
DE powder is composed of finely ground shells, tiny pieces that are so razor sharp they slice up anything small that comes in contact with them.

On another part of the property, the beautiful blue blossoms of Vitex,

and the sunset hues of the floribunda rose 'Livin' Easy' are showing off their colors.
Happy gardening!


  1. Gorgeous! It's amazing what a dramatic difference the hedge makes.

  2. How dreamy this is! I love how organized you are and the watercolor diagram. The Vitex is so lovely and new to me. I was just reading about DE on another blog, it is also used in chicken coops. How beautiful your lake home is. Keep us posted on the progress of the garden!

  3. Hi, Suzanne!
    I hope your garden / herb beds are filling in nicely. We've had a lot of rain in DC. So much that my Hidcote Lavenders are having problems this year. The rain and the humidity are not good for them. They do have good drainage so I'm not sure what else to do. I've not heard of Goodwin Creek Lavender.

    1. Hi Loi,
      I'll have to show some close-ups of Goodwin Creek lavender. It is a hybrid of French lavender, distinctive because of its intricately cut silvery leaves and darker purple flowers. I had heard those beautiful English lavenders are trickier to grow in this area, and I knew we were going to need something tough.
      I used hardwood mulch around my plants because the wind from the lake is so drying, but I have read that many gardeners have better success mulching lavender with pea gravel (better drainage, less disease).
      Might that help your English lavender?
      Wishing you lower humidity!