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Welcome to the CountryLife Gardening Blog, written by our horticulturist to provide you with the best tips & advice for all things gardening!  We have been shortlisted for Best Lifestyle Blog in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 Company Category. 

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Growing Herbs

by CountryLife Gardening | Jul 27, 2015
Many herbs on sale today can easily compete against some herbaceous plants in terms of colour and interest
Herbs can be an under appreciated plant in the garden. While they are loved for their culinary uses, many people will not give them enough credit for as simply great plants to have in a garden.

Many herbs on sale today can easily compete against some herbaceous plants in terms of colour and interest. It is with this in mind that I think herbs should be brought back from the deepest depths of the garden and integrated in to parts of that garden much closer to the house.

By turning your herbs into a feature of the garden they will not only have a visual impact on the garden but if they are more accessible gardeners and cooks are more likely to use them on a daily basis in their cooking.

Knot Garden example in Woodstock Gardens One great way of turning herbs in to a real feature in the garden if you have the space would be to create a knot garden. A recent visit to Woodstock Gardens reminded me of just how great knot gardens can look. And while the one there did not contain herbs, traditionally many would and with some careful selection of the herbs you include you can have a great deal of colour in it too.

At the moment in Countrylife we have a great selection of catmints which with their spikes of blueish purple flowers put on a great display of colour. One particularly great one is Nepeta Summer magic which has lovely lilac-blue flowers that are loved by butterflies and bees. It will easily flower from May right through until October.

Variegated thyme, lemon balm and oregano can be used to add some subtle colour contrasts to a garden. Thyme also has the added benefit of small dusky white flowers which are loved by bees. Thyme can become very woody so should be trimmed regularly to encourage new growth.

Parsley has always been a firm favourite to grow for home cooks. While flat leaf parsley is more popular with cooks today the curly variety is just as good in my eyes. I find it is best to plant new parsley yearly as in the second year of growth the plant tends to flower very easily and the stems become woody and often unusable. It is best to plant fresh stock each year to ensure you have a vigorous plant to harvest from.

Mint is another favourite which has a wide range of different varieties to pick from. It can be a bit of rouge in the garden however and take over. It needs to be kept in check and I find planting it in a pot and then burying the pot in the ground helps to keep it from running all over the garden.

Lavender, Rosemary and Bay are herbs that can be used to add great structure to a garden. Lavender or Rosemary walls can be used to great effect to edge patios or footpaths. Standard varieties of all three can be used as fantastic focal points in both knot gardens and an ordinary flowerbed.

Why not try "A Spot of Mint Tea"

Written by Malachy

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Malachy's Bio 

I have been gardening since I was 5 years old when my mother gave me a part of our garden as my own. I have studied horticulture in the National Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin and was a winner in the young horticulturist of the year competition. I have worked in Several plant nurseries and garden centers such as Mount Congreve in Co. Waterford. My special interests are plant propagation and Cacti!