A herb garden in your garden design plan is an area dedicated to the cultivation of herbs. Herbs have many uses from culinary to medicinal and they provide aesthetic interest in the garden. Like most plants they come in all shapes and sizes ranging from tiny annuals, through perennials to shrubs and large trees.
It is of course possible to dedicate many pages and a huge amount of garden space to writing about and growing herbs, however for the purpose of this page I will deal with two approaches to their cultivation.
In the first approach we often think of the herb garden as a formal, tidy space laid out in geometric patterns and enclosed by neatly trimmed box hedging. It is of course possible to do this successfully, to include the herbs that you want and like, and even to have some for use in your kitchen. The primary purpose of this kind of formal herb garden however must be aesthetic as a large draw on the plants for practical usage will impact on the decorative and artistic merit of the herb garden.
In the second approach the herb garden is usually pretty informal and functional. Plants are grown in positions that suit them best with little or no regard for how they appear. The primary purpose of this type of space is to provide herbs for you to use. This kind of herb garden can be unsightly as you are constantly harvesting whole or part of your plants.
Herbs can be grown as part of your cottage garden or indeed any other type of garden. By placing them in the general scheme in ways that meet the design criteria set out in these pages you can successfully incorporate your herbs with your garden planting.
If your space is very limited or if you require only a few herbs then pots and other containers can be used. This is a particularly useful way of having a herb garden if you want to grow species that may be invasive like mint. However do be aware that not all herbs like to grow in containers and as a result you may have varying degrees of success using this method.
The best way to approach the design of your herb garden is to decide if you want to use only a few or a lot of herbs.
If you need only a few then you can put them in pots or mix them with your other garden planting. If you like the appearance of a formal garden then using herbs to create one is a great way to do it. You can have a neatly arranged formal structure while clipping and using a limited amount of plants.
If you like to use a large amount of herbs then you are probably better off largely ignoring the aesthetic potential of this part of the garden and growing them as a small crop, maybe near your vegetable patch.