Just as my own gardens are being prepared for winter and planning is beginning for next year, the gardens at the Earth Center at Davidson Mill Pond Park maintained by the Middlesex County Master Gardeners are being cleaned up for winter and plans are being started for next year's gardens. The first project is the herb garden.
The herb garden is really unique. It consists of 13 raised beds in a circular pattern:
The rectangular beds are actually round, like segments of a circle. "O" stands for outer and "M" stands for middle. "C", of course, is center. The beds are on different levels. The outer ones are one tier high, the middle ones two tiers and the center bed is three tiers of stones.
Each bed is planted and maintained by a team of two to three gardeners. Since our class is very small, only ten students, yielding a maximum of five teams, the other beds will be offered to interested master Gardeners. Each team chooses a theme. The themes for 2006 are:
Herbs with a Purple Passion
Clip Joint---Herbs to Clip, Nip & Tuck
Basil, Basil and More Basil
Potpourri - Theme: Summer's Memory
A Monastic Apothecary---The Monks' Medicine Chest
By the Light of the Silvery Moon
The Ancient Language of Herbs & Flowers
Harry Potter's Macical Potions
Herbs From Jamaica, Man
For a Stomachace, These Herbs You Take
Herbs to Thai For
We were given the month of November to choose our teams and themes. Apparently there have been disputes in the past over themes. We are a very agreeable class. It only took us one week to choose our themes. There were no disputes. I am partnering with the woman who sits next to me in class. She chose "Herbs with a Purple Passion" for our theme. She even showed up to class today with an armload of books on herbs and a list of plants. I just laughed and added sage to her list. I perused her books for more ideas. My own purple garden has very few herbs in it: sage, anise hyssop, catnip and lamb's ears. In one book I found something called Black Peppermint which has purple stems and leaves. We added that to the list also.
Also this week, the instructor had a map of which theme would go in each bed. Unbeknownst to us, we had chosen the theme that will be in the center and largest bed. We measured it after class. It is 8' (2.4 m) in diameter. We already know that we want Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate in the center of the bed. We are allowed a little leeway with our themes. For variety, my partner suggested we use some herbs that are not purple, but are "passionate" in name or use. Hence the Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate. She also suggested gem marigolds since people get passionate about gems. I think I will suggest Envy zinnias.
We will be starting the seeds in a greenhouse as part of our training. I had a chance to see the area we will be using when I toured the Cook College greenhouses on Wednesday. We will also be starting seeds for the vegetable garden, I assume at the same time. I'm looking forward to planning and planting the veggie garden also. I have never had much luck growing herbs or veggies so I know that I will be learning a lot.