There are so.many.herbs. out there.
So many that I haven’t discovered.
Beyond the traditional sage, thyme, rosemary, parsley* my favorites include:
*Does anyone else’s brain hurt?
Basil. Globe Basil, for its’ tiny leaves that make it easy to chop-chop-chop without worrying much about the stems. Thai, for that anise-clove flavor—perfect for my Thai Strawberry Jam. And Lettuce Leaf. I’m over genovese. I love these big ruffled lettuce-like basil leaves.
Borage. I love borage. The flowers and leaves are edible. And the bees go crazy for it. I planted it once, it’s re-seeded itself ever since. It’s great for the compost pile too—it breaks down quickly and is great for getting a pile ‘going’.
Chamomile. I’ve had the best luck with Chamomile. I let it grow among my grass. Use your fingers like a rake and pluck the flowers for fresh chamomile sun tea, or dried. The plants are considered a tonic to others around them. Also great for your compost pile.
Lemon Verbena. I am absolutely cuckoo for lemon verbena. Lemony, herbal, floral scent and flavor. It inspires the thought, “delicate.”
Lovage. Leafy herb with a celery like flavor.
Summer Savory. A unique, savory flavor. I’ve always been partial to it.
Herbs I’d love to get to know/grow better: Shiso. Epazote. Sorrel and Dock. Hyssop. Fenugreek. Lemongrass. Burdock. Medicinal Herbs.
If I had the land, I would have sweeping flower and herb gardens.
I’d lay them out in a keyhole-type mandala fashion.
And I’d subscribe to the Seed Savers Flower & Herb Exchange.
A garden full of nooks—perfect for children to play, birds to flit about, to walk into and hide with a book. To walk through and come out with a fresh bouquet.
Why Mandala Shape?
Besides its aesthetic appeal, non-linear gardens have greater productivity due to the fact that there is simply more gardening space when using non-linear geometry. Linear gardens have their origin in division and ownership of land (easier to mark and measure), and in use of mechanical soil cultivation (easier to drive a horse or a tractor down a straight row). Since neither one of these elements applies to our ecological garden, there is absolutely no need to make them straight! Any shape that respects the landform, works with the flow of water and with the way humans move make more sense.
Mandala Garden as a permaculture design approach is overused, just as is the Herb Spiral. The reason for this statement? Permaculture is not about cookie-cutter solutions that fit all conditions. If you are gardening on a gentle slope, your mandala will not look like mandala anymore (if you are paying attention to the flow of water, and your orientation towards sun) – the shape of the beds will follow the contours, resulting in a geometry both more beautiful and functional. Mandala Shape though is very beautiful.