Growing Course – Welcome

Small water garden - Bali

Course Content:

  • Easy to Grow Herbs
  • Planning, Planting and Nurturing your Herb Garden.
  • Gardening in Public Spaces
  • Powerful Perennials
  • Evergreen Herbs
  • Indoor Herbs
  • Plant Guilds
  • Vertical Herb Gardening
  • Themed Herb Gardens

I regularly add new units to each course. If you would like a particular topic added, let me know through the forums.

Everyone has Green Fingers
Whether you are a keen gardener or not, this module will help you to plan, plant and nurture your own herb garden. Keeping your own needs and values in mind, we will look at the options available to you, wherever you live. You will learn how to realize your ideal herb garden for as little cost as possible. Please don't be concerned if you have not gardened before. Everyone can have a go and practice makes you better and better. The plants are actually quite forgiving of mistakes and if it all goes completely wrong, you can always compost your dead herbs 🙂

Healthy Life Skill
I sincerely feel that gardening is a basic life skill. It connects us with the land around us, however clean or mucky it is and it is deeply centering. soil and plants grounds us. Working in the green has long been thought to have the power to nourish, calm and transform. There are enough anecdotes of people feeling better after time pottering around in a garden but now, thanks to the field of horticultural therapy, a rich research base can support claims of gardening's health benefits.

Gardening provides space for us to think, to clear the clutter from our minds and focus on the here and now. Gardening mindfully is a beautiful, healing thing and the clarity it provides can help us to make positive changes in our lives.

Valerian, great for damp ground.

Save by Gardening
Another welcome benefit is that growing our own herbs, even a small amount, is that it can certainly save you money. This course will help to focus your attention on herbs which are more expensive or a little exotic and harder to come by than most. By growing these, not only will you build a feeling of satisfaction but you will also have low cost access to some special tastes and remedies.

Love your Neighbourhood
Social cohesion and reduction in local crime are two further welcome side effects of gardening. When we start to garden in the streets outside of our homes, we become a catalyst for social contact. Street gardening creates a fresh reason to speak with neighbours, it can creates patches of kitchen herbs for everyone in the street to share and it makes the place look loved.

River of Herbs volunteer gardeners at Frankendael orchards, summer 2017

Attractive, greened streets have lower crime rates. Research shows that identical urban areas with less greenery located around the buildings, have higher domestic crime rates and burglaries. Logical as green areas just look better, more friendly and loved but quite surprising none the less! Other research shows that just half an hour of gardening a week can greatly benefit the body and mind.

Gardening is real work, rewarding work and it is healthy!

Lynn pruning an old pear tree at the River of Herbs orchards - adopted from Amsterdam council.

Let Gardening into Your Life
I don't know about you but I need gardening in my life. Wherever I have lived, I have quickly made opportunities to grow and care for green edibles. My first memories of gardening are from over 40 years ago when I was 4, growing Radishes on the kitchen windowsill with my grandfather. The taste of those radishes was not really for me at the time but oh, how amazing it was to grow food! From those little seeds came the most beautiful plants!

Instantly hooked, I moved steadily through growing giant Marrows and Sunflowers, Calendula and Lupin in our Bristol garden All manner of herbs and bizarre vegetables have grown in my pots and gardening plots since them but herbs remain my favourites. Most herbs are easy to grow because they generally prefer simple conditions and I can harvest what I need without destroying the whole plant.

Practical Plants
I cannot imagine life without plants surrounding me , especially edible plants. Ornamental plants have never really attracted me but they do of course have a place. This course is about what I would call practical plants, ones you can use and mainly edible and medicinal herbs. If you need to have ornamental plants around you, please don't let me stop you. Welcome them in your herb garden and enjoy the show!

All plants have a purpose, whether for food, medicine, soil health, shelter, dyes or simply to look good and put a smile on your face.

What are your first memories of gardening? Did you grow edibles as a child? Did you have a garden? Do share your memories in the Gardening Forum.

Whatever your experience and thoughts on the subject, I hope to inspire you to grow more herbs. So let's start by planning what to include in your herb garden:

Raised herb planter, Oxfordshire.

Jump to Growing 1 to begin working through this module.