English Cottage Gardening – Herbs Of The Mint Family

Herbs of the Mint family are a beautiful and useful addition to any cottage garden. They include such favorites as basil, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, hyssop, thyme, lavender, and lemon balm.

Basil flowers

Basil flowers

Sage

Sage

Originally, cottage gardens were grown for household use, not for beauty alone. Herbs were used as medicine, as flavoring for food, and to freshen the air in the damp, musty lodgings.

Rosemary

Rosemary

The concept of a separate herb garden, isolated from other flowering plants, would have been inconceivable to an early cottage gardener. Herbs and vegetables were grown side by side with roses and foxgloves, both of which also had household uses.

Bee on Lavender

Bee on Lavender

As you can see from these pictures, herbs can be as beautiful as purely decorative plantings. They are also very attractive to bees and butterflies.

Thyme

Thyme

I try to incorporate as many as I can into my overall garden design.

New English Garden Bee Plants – “Purrsian Blue” Nepeta

New Nepeta

I love nepeta aka catmint, and this new variety looks like a winner! It’s available from Wayside Gardens.

Bees love catmint, but so do cats. By the end of the summer, all my catmint is cat-shaped in the middle.

According to Wayside Gardens, ‘Purrsian Blue’ is the solution! Apparently, it is “flop-proof”!

Naturally rounded, this fragrant little plant covers itself in bright blue blooms from the first hint of warm summer weather until autumn arrives. The flowers themselves are periwinkle-blue, surrounded by a darker violet calyx. Showy, intensely bright, and so profuse, they really pop in the perennial border or herb garden!

Bees and other pollinators are drawn to ‘Purrsian Blue’ for its nectar, while rabbits, deer, and other nibbling creatures avoid it because of its fragrance. I will definitely be ordering this for my borders!

What’s Blooming In The Garden On July 3rd

It’s broiling hot, and we have to water almost every day. Thank goodness for flowers that like the heat and humidity! Lots of nectar and pollen for the pollinators…

Daylilly

Monarda With Bumble!

Old Fashioned Hydrangeas

Everlasting Peas

Dahlia

Geranium ‘Rozanne”

Hydrangea ‘Limelight’

The Noble Bayard tried to drink out of the Italian Bees’ birdbath and got roundly spanked!  I will be administering Benadryl with his kibble tonight!!

The Noble Bayard

Things To Do In The Cottage Garden In June

Flaming June

“What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade.”
–  Gertrude JekyllOn Gardening

June 21 is the longest day of the year, and the extra light and warmth encourages the garden to put on an exuberant burst of growth. But this extra light and warmth also means weeds will sprout up from seemingly nowhere. Keep on top of them by weeding regularly.

Herbaceous borders are reaching their early summer peak and the kitchen garden is becoming productive.

Get those warm season vegetables planted! Young starts of tomatoes, peppers, corn, eggplant, cucumber and squash can be planted now that all danger of frost has passed. This should be done without delay, especially if you live in a region where summer is short.

Keep newly planted trees and shrubs consistently moist. This is especially true as we head into the dry summer months. To make this task easier, use water bags around the trunks.

Check your roses for pests and diseases. Blackspot, powdery mildew and aphids usually start appearing in June. As soon as a problem is detected, treat it with an earth friendly spray such as Garden Safe’s Fungicide 3-in-1, which tackles disease, mites and insects. It may be necessary to maintain a regular spraying schedule over the course of the summer.

If your spring blooming perennials are starting to look a little worse for wear, cut them back to encourage new healthy growth. It’s safe to do this until mid-July.

Vining plants often put on lots of new growth in short periods of time. One way to tame the tangle is to use dental floss to tie vines to their supports. The floss is easy to carry around by just sticking it in your pocket, needs no scissors to cut it, and if you use the green, mint-flavored type, it almost disappears next to the vine’s stem.

Sow seeds for biennials such as hollyhock, sweet william, campanula and foxglove for blooms next year.

Cut lavender blooms in early morning before the sun burns off the aromatic oils. After the flowering stops you can lightly prune the plant to keep it in shape.

Plant dahlia tubers, asters and other plants for late summer blooms.

Fill in empty spaces in the herbaceous border with annual bedding plants. Begonias, geraniums and heliotrope are good, bee-friendly choices.

Apply compost to feed your plants!