I was sitting in my garden late last Tuesday afternoon contemplating the scene infront of me from the garden bench on the patio, and realised that something had to change. I knew some months ago that the raised vegetable patch that was here when we bought the house was in totally the wrong place..by a tall hedge and under a big tree (so getting no sun!), under the tree (so getting no rain!), and did I mention the tree..oh yes…that was taking any rain that did hit the ground and not letting the herbs develop properly. So, the herbs would have to be moved, but where to..? And then, it hit me, as the most obvious of serendity answers, the answer was there, right in front of me…that was where the herbs should move to. The edge of the patio, so they could be accessed from the patio without having to traipse across the lawn in wet weather. But, not in one raised bed, but three! My lucky number! The number that speaks to me more than any other.. I also knew in that flash of understanding, that the patio bricks should continue around them like a framed edging, and the gaps between the raised beds should be wide enough to walk between, but not too wide so that they were a complete grouping together.
I excitedly explained my idea to my husband, and the fact he’d mentioned that there was enough decking boards left over from the decking project to do something creative with them…we looked at how much we had left and I said I wanted each raised bed to be a metre square, and whatever height would depend on what wood there was spare to do it..and was delighted when he said they could be almost 18 inches high, (45cm for those who want the continuation of metric measurements) so the height would be substantial to make a statement. I was also delighted that he was as caught up with my enthusiasm for them as I was and started work on them the next day, and finishing them the day after..
Having said that, his was the easy part!!
My part was the most labour intensive, as I had to cut the grass out of the lawn for the shallow trenches of the bricks to stand in in hot dry sunshine and after each raised bed was put in place to FILL them (and I’m sure someone could tell me the cubic measurements for them, I just know it was a LOT!) which I did over the two days, and then the fun part..the herbs!
Each of the three raised beds had a different lavender in the front middle of each of them (English, French, and Butterfly), and the larger of the herbs in the middle – rosemary, tarragon, oregano, then in the sides and backs I put in spearmint, and apple mint, sage, thyme, and my favourite lemon thyme!
And the thing I love the best about those raised herb beds is that as well as the herbs looking pretty and decorative, they will also smell divine as we brush past them. There will be scents of French holidays (the lavenders, rosemary and lemon thyme), there will be scents of English summers (the mints are ideal for Pimms on the lawn), and there will be scents of winter roasts (sage and thyme for stuffing), and my favourite of all – Tarragon – which goes with everything I love eating – all year round!
The day after the raised beds were done (Friday last week) I put in the brick edging (having inherited a pile of unused ones at the bottom of the garden that the previous owners helpfully left for our use) and as they were the same as the ones that were in the patio, they match perfectly.
But its been today, that I have finished the whole part that has connected everything new in the garden together- the curve of the brick edging (more digging in hot sunny weather!) that follows the last step of the decking, to the lawn, and continues the patio to the steps, and is next to the raised herb beds but not right up to the end of them to detract from the shape of them, otherwise they would have lost their impact, and the whole thing would have just been lost as a flat edge. That curve joins the eye down the steps, it makes you want to go onto the lawn, it looks
aesthetically pleasing, and looks creative, and looks artistic, and that someone has thought about it. It makes me happy. It makes me feel that I have a garden now, and not just some grass and hedges.
The raised herb beds are square, and tall enough that you can’t see all of them at one glance, and leads you around them to wonder what is on the other side, and as it has the brick paving between them it is interesting to view how the light catches the shapes of them from one side, and as the plants grow they will soften the harsh edges, and be very photogenic!
It very much pleases the artist in me!