A New Start in January

WAXAHACHIE, TX — Tired of the same old gardens? Try your hand at different looking beds. They are called theme gardens and can be as large or small as you want, but they all need planning.

This month, let’s talk about an herb garden. Some herbs do well in North Texas and others do not. Do your homework to find out which ones do well in our heat. The growing medium is very important, and most herbs need lots of well-drained soil. Sand or our alkaline clay with copious additions of compost and bed. Planting as soon as the soil warms up in a very sunny area is preferable, but later is acceptable.

As for specific herbs that will winter over, fennel is a good one. It is used in fish dishes. Lavender is used to flavor cookies, and due to its pleasant smell, it is also used to freshen drawers. Myrtle is used in meat dishes or as a substitute for bay. Curly parsley may be used as a substitute for parsley. Rosemary is great on chicken or in seasoned butter. Thyme is used to intensify any flavor or as salt. All these are cold hardy and can survive our cold spells without damage.

French tarragon, sweet marjoram, Mexican mint marigold and rose geranium are all great tasting as well as great looking. With a littler cover and care, they will survive the year. If you are short on space, you can try containers. Just remember to repot often!
Remember that the herbs may be small when you get them, but they will be much larger when grown with full sun. It will help to plan accordingly. All theme gardens will have several common characteristics: They will all need the right soil, sun and water for the plants you are planting. Mature size should also be taken into account. Next month, we will talk about rose gardens for North Central Texas.

Written by Nancy Fenton, Master Gardener.