In the herb garden in January

Parts of my herb garden are absolutely flourishing at the moment while others seem not to be doing so great. With the intense heat we are experiencing here in Johannesburg at the moment, being in the height of summer, it is no wonder that a few of the more tender herbs are battling; and then with the deluge of summer storms we get almost every evening, it is also no surprise that those herbs more suited to a warm and dry climate do not flourish either.

A champion in my garden, indeed the King of Herbs, is the Sweet Basil – giving large full-flavoured leaves in abundance. Some have started flowering so I must remember to pinch off the tops of those plants that I do not wish to go to seed and die off just yet. I normally let at least a third of my basil crop go to seed though so that I am ensured of some new plants next season. Being a summer annual, I know the sweet basil won’t last forever, so I am enjoying it fresh in almost every meal!

Another herb that I have noticed is looking lovely at the moment is my Bee Balm (Bergamot). A few have even started to flower and their raggedy-head bright flowers are too beautiful -and as their name suggests, very much loved by the bees. I cannot believe that they have even ousted my lemon balm from its favourite spot this year!

As I said, the Mediterranean’s are suffering a bit with all this wet, even with the super-duper-drainage that I have provided for them – in particular my Purple Sage and Golden Sage are looking like they might not make it. But then, sage is the one that I just cannot seem to get growing, so no surprise there! Although the thyme, oregano and savory are not doing too bad, they were much more prolific last year this time and it might be time for me to mix things up a bit and move them around before the next growing season.

A lovely little surprise is that the Tuscan Blue Rosemary is flowering again, so I foresee some delicious rosemary flower omelettes in the near future – yummy!

Of my salad herbs I don’t even want to talk – but that is simply because I thought that having a rabbit in my herb garden, as a pet, would be a good idea… Well, there was SO MUCH plants, I never thought that dear little grey-brown Bella would be such a force of destruction! Alas, I’ve learnt my lesson and she is strictly cage-bound unless I am around to shoo her away from where she’s not supposed to be!

I’m not doing much to the garden now, just keeping neat and clean – trimming off some dead leaves and twigs where applicable, picking off flowers heads and continuing with my natural pest management practices and fertilising. Harvesting time is almost upon us, so I’m not disturbing the status quo at the moment, just encouraging healthy and happy growth.



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