This morning, I finished cutting back the edge of soil left in the old herb bed after removing the old retaining wall. I’d built that wall out of whatever I could find–broken bricks, cinder blocks, a few rocks–so this new wall looks much neater. Still, I have a nice stack of materials–some of them not too shabby–to use on a future project.
After raking the soil and making it level (relatively speaking, as I’m working up a hill), I laid a strip of landscape fabric cut in half lengthwise, so it was about three feet wide before rolling the edges and fastening them down with landscape staples. I’m thinking I’ll use the other half of the strip to line a path in the front yard.
Once the fabric was laid, I started laying the blocks along the handy yellow line woven into the middle of the fabric strip. The entire bed is now joined, and I had enough blocks to do a double layer the whole way around the outside. I plan on making the back yard part of the bed four blocks high, then tapering down to three and two as I work my way up the hill (and the bed gets more shallow).
I haven’t removed the old retaining wall on the inside by the corner of the house yet because I’ll need to sift through that soil a little more carefully to remove stray apple- and chocolate mint roots that I don’t want to distribute throughout the entire garden.
I’m sure I’ll miss a couple, but a couple are easy to dig out–I’m pulling some of the really big, deep plastic pots out of the basement to sink down into the bed to contain those invaders, as I’ve learned that the trade gallons you get at nurseries aren’t big or deep enough to keep their roots from sneaking out into the rest of the bed.
The plan at this point is to allow the big sage bush in the middle of the old bed to demarcate the end of the perennial herbs on the uphill side and the beginning of the vegetables and annual herbs on the downhill side.
I had to cut the sage’s foliage back a bit in the front to put the new wall in–I almost threw it all in the compost, but then went back, trimmed the nice tops, and threw them in the dehydrator. That bush will make the whole project look more “finished” when it fills out next year–sending a few silvery branches just over the edge of the new wall and “softening” the aspect a bit.
Making the sage the dividing line will mean moving a few plants–the licorice mint (also in a few of my other gardens, so I can just pull it out if my son, who loves it, lets me), the lime mint, oregano, chocolate mint, chives, and the English thyme.
I might just compost the oregano, as it’s not a very good one, or move it, along with a couple other things that can stand a little more shade, to another one of the gardens around the house. The rosemary will move as well, but I’ll just bring it inside for the winter now, and figure out later where its summer home will be.
The small bed to the south of my front steps needs some sprucing up–maybe some of those “homeless” herb plants and perhaps a small expansion in size based on where the natural path has formed (about a foot out from the bed’s border).
That seems like a reasonable place to put at least one of the mint plants–probably peppermint. It gets a good amount of light–mostly morning and a bit of afternoon–and I need something perennial to camouflage the rosebush, that tends to look a little shabby around the base come late summer.
One project at a time, Rebecca! One project at a time.