We have a south-facing stone wall with a narrow flower bed along the middle of it. Until recently, it was planted with aubretia, which looks pretty in the early summer when the purple flowers spill down over the wall, but quite tatty for the rest of the year.
Grassy weeds have found their way into the bed over the years and are impossible to remove because the roots are intimately entwined around the aubretia roots. I finally got fed up with it when the flowers faded this year to leave a mass of messy aubretia leaves interspersed with blades of grass. I ripped everything out and replaced the soil.
What to plant into this denuded wall? I toyed with putting in two or three different herbaceous plants that would between them provide colour for a few months, but couldn’t come up with a suitable combination. Then inspiration struck – this well drained, sunny wall would be perfect for growing Mediterranean herbs. I transplanted oregano from elsewhere in the garden, took cuttings from an ancient lavender bush, sowed thyme from seed and bought a creeping rosemary at the local garden centre. Their nursery is on the top of a hill and I reckon that anything that grows there will survive in our garden, even if it is a species that is not really suited to the Yorkshire climate.
A friend has given me sage cuttings and I now have the makings of a perennial herb garden that shouldn’t need much attention and will look attractive against the pale stone. I just pray that all these newly planted herbs will be sufficiently well established to endure the coming winter, because the wall is quite exposed.