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Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

How does your garden grow?

Wednesday, 25th March, 2020 2:53pm

I took to the herb bed last Monday and discovered that my beautiful decorations (some handmade by yours truly, others bought) are not meant to stay outside over winter. When I started the herb bed a few years ago (Mr T built me a raised brick bed), I made the big mistake of planting lemon balm.

As much as I love lemon balm for cordial, lemonade and other delights, I now hate it with a passion in the garden. Its roots go everywhere, and if you don’t dig it out completely but break the root, it will grow with even more vigour.

Armed with my little shovel and pink garden gloves, we do style very well, I removed dead leaves and roots, removed all the broken decorations (a seashell wreath, bunting etc.) and got rid of a lot of moss. Then I tried my best to persuade the lemon balm roots to emigrate, trying not to rip out my rosemary, thyme, marjoram, parsley and oregano and the tender stems of the chives that are just popping up.

I was pulling and digging with more pulling and if anyone saw me, they would have thought that I was fighting an evil squirrel!

I was able to remove a lot, but as hopeful as I am, I know that I will see the cute green leaves popping up again. The bees will love me for it, although I have loads of other delights for them in the garden, and to be honest, I will enjoy the lemonade I can make from it. And next spring, I will fight it again just to lose the war anyway.

About two years ago, Mr T and I dug up a small plant of three-cornered leek on one of our walks, and as a trial, I added it to the herb bed. We didn’t really expect it to settle but to our delight, it returned last year. And as my fight with the lemon balm wasn’t enough, three-cornered leek also likes to spread. Thank god not with roots, but with little pearls that snuggle themselves into the earth to wake up the following year and join their elder siblings. This year is no different and the light-green delicate leaves are already smiling at me, waiting to be transformed into delicious pesto. I just have to keep an eye on those pearls and remove them before I'm only left with three-cornered leek in this bed.

Before social distancing came into play, Mr T had two little helpers and they started seed pots for carrots. This week, we have added tomatoes and onions to the mix. Mr T also built another raised bed in which we can grow lovely lettuce and salad leaves. All we need now is an awesome summer, and after all we have been through with storms and viruses, I think we deserve it.

And in case you are looking for something to do with the kids, why not start your own herb garden? This can be in pretty pots on the window sill or in a small part of your garden. Herbs are growing pretty well and quick. In my humble opinion, parsley, chives, thyme and rosemary are the best herbs to grow for beginners. Herbal hugs x

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