I inherited this garden when I first started seeing my partner. When we met, I was living in a second story apartment of a house, with only a tiny patio and a garden in pots. He’d been living in this house for probably about ten years, since his great aunt was moved into a long-term care facility, and while she had been an avid gardener, everything had long gone to seed. I spent the first couple of years just trying to find the soil under years of self-seeded garlic chives and ivy had taken over. This is the first year I have really felt like I’ve created something that resembles a managed series of flower and herb beds.
I’ve planted up the lower level beds in the very front with various herbs. I believe that’s what Chris’s aunt had originally intended as well. When I took over, there were already very well established chives and lemon balm, and I still occasionally find evidence of mint, although I pull that out when I come across it. Mint belongs in pots if you have limited space, as far as I’m concerned, or it will happily take over. This year I’ve also planted garlic chives – in a pot – which is kind of ironic considering how much of the stuff I pulled out over the last few years. Also planted I have sweet basil, Thai basil (Siam Queen), French tarragon, rosemary, purple sage, lemon thyme, Mediterranean oregano, regular thyme and fennel. The fennel I won’t do again. It was a bit of an experiment and I’ve discovered it really doesn’t belong in a basic herb garden – it obviously needs a lot more space.
Also planted up in pots I have cilantro, various kinds of mint (spearmint, chocolate mint, mojito mint), a bay leave tree and Mexican oregano.
I’ve turned the rear section of the west bed into my veggie garden, since our backyard is very well shaded with a mature oak tree, and since this front space gets good sun despite its tucked away location. It’s also conveniently camouflaged from the curb by the large smoke bush and mock orange, so it maintains curb appeal in a neighborhood that’s pretty obsessed about appearances.