Herbs and Hedges

Nothing sets off your herb garden better than low hedge plants. Besides looking great the hedge will provide protection for the growing herbs. A hedge will give shelter from the cool winds, increasing the soil and air temperature around the herbs, giving them a sheltered site which they will appreciate. There are several plants for hedges, the one I love best is dwarf boxwood. A tightly woven plant with shiny evergreen leaves, a boxwood hedge is slow growing and prunes beautifully. Another option for evergreen hedges are yew plants which are also slow growing and a rich dark green. Both boxwood and yew are most useful in the larger herb garden where space is not limited.

Sensible Gardening and Living
Sensible Gardening and Living

For smaller plots try using other lower growing herbs as a hedge plant. By using other herbs you can take advantage of their beautifully textured foliage and aromatic qualities.Lavender is a great choice. As a small shrub is can be pruned closely after flowering and enjoyed for their silver-grey aromatic foliage. The lavender flowers are useful for drying and bringing their scent indoors as well as useful in the kitchen. Cotton lavender (Santolina ) also works but must be kept well pruned to keep its shape. Best not to let it flower if you are using it as a hedge. Rosemary and curry plant are possibilities if you live in a warm southern area, as they are not winter hardy for northern gardens.

When planting hedge shrubs dig planting holes in a straight line along the borders of your herb bed. Space starter plants about two thirds of their mature height apart. Place bonemeal or compost in planting holes large enough to fit the plants roots. Set the plants in, back fill with soil and tamp lightly. Water well and water regularly to get your hedge established.

You can also choose to use annual or tender perennial herbs as hedge plants, such as chives, parsley, hyssop or basil. You can either pant starter plants or sow seeds directly into the ground in early spring as soon as the soil has warmed up. If using starter plants be sure to wait until all signs of frost have passed before you plant.

To keep your hedge looking good you will have to prune it regularly. If you clip it twice a season it will always look good and never get away on you. The secret to beautiful hedges of any kind is small cuttings done regularly and often.

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