Garden Herbs and Spring Stirrings

There are signs of new life. The garden is stirring. Slowly waking up. Responding to the increase in day light and warmer weather. Bright yellow-green shoots emerging from the subterranean world.

I have yet to clear the garden from this Autumn-Winter. I leave the flower stalks and dead leaves until early Spring. The dried flower heads leave something for me to look at, some seeds for birds and somewhere for insects to over-winter.

The Chives will be coming out of their pots later this Spring and will be used as part of the Edible Edging I have planned in the garden.

Bronze Fennel makes a wonderful border plant, the frothy fronds will give a leafy backdrop to flowers in the borders.

The garden Mint in a pot needs transplanting to something much bigger, maybe the old earthen ware sink would be perfect.

Another herb for the Edible Edging, the Curly Parsley has survived the winter well, putting on new growth. These plants will do well again this year, but I must remember to plant more for next.

The Rosemary seems confused, in flower and it’s only February. Or maybe it’s “stressed” in the pot and needs some much needed TLC.

The Purple Sage is looking ragged, but it has survived the winter, and will perk up with warmer drier weather.

Sorrel, not strictly a herb I know, but his red veined variety is stunning. I must get round to transplanting it soon.

A Purple Artichoke that will find a permanent home on the allotment, it will be at least another year before I get to sample its wares.

A few Strawberries in pots need re-homing on the allotment too. I look at the new growth and dream of sweet sunshine juicy fruit.

So much to do, so many seeds to sow, including the summer herbs of Coriander, Basil and Tarragon, there is plenty of re-potting and planting out, but for now I can content myself with looking at the new shoots.


  • That’s a photo series to warm a gardener’s soul!
    I wouldn’t be too worried about the rosemary…my outdoor ones bloom as soon as they start getting enough sunlight hours.

    • You know I never seem to manage to grow enough herbs, I want to try and successionally sow corriander this year, as we use lots of it, and it can go to seed really quickly. Well, that’s my plan anyway 🙂

  • have you kept these pots inside or in your glass house all winter, or do they sit out and wait on the terrace.. We are back at freezing this morning, just for today it says, but the ice is a good inch think in the water troughs and no sunning for the plants today! I love your idea of an edible border.. c

    • Hi Celi, yes they are all outside, thoroughlly pot bound and root bound, the dreadful neglectful gardener that I am. They sit on the terrace come rain, snow or whatever the weather throws at them. The garden is reasonably sheltered and sunny as it’s walled and we rarely get major killing forsts here, they are more likely to rot and die from wet and cold over winter.
      Pleased you like the edible edging, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for ages, and THIS YEAR is it 🙂

  • The awakening of a sleeping garden is such a wonderful sight as it unfolds. The activities start slow and as you mention – the days get longer, the air and soil become warmer – before you know it the garden leaps into production. It is an amazing thing to witness.

    • Isn’t it amazing, year after year I still marvel and wonder. Yes sometimes there are plants that don’t make it, but that’s natures way of saying Claire, plant something else, get a cutting from somewhere else, try something new!

  • We´ve been cutting back plants today as we too leave many of them to die back completely…many are sprouting already. That sorrel is so beautiful, it´s not a plant I´m very familiar with.

    • It’s a good feeling to get in there are start clearing up isn’t it!
      I’m no expert on Sorrel, except that it’s very hardy, pretty and nice as young leaves in a salad. I need to experiment a bit more and cook with it. I also think I need to divide that plant up, but I’m not so sure about that!

        • Yes I’ve had Sorrel soup years ago, and if I remember right you need loads, it’s a bit like spinach in that way, and also for some reason I seem to think it isn’t the most attractive colour when cooked, but I could be wrong….

  • I think your herbs did an exceptional job surviving the winter – I have only seen the green sorrel before – love the red one. Does it has the same lemony zingy taste?
    🙂 Mandy

    • I did have some green sorrel up on the allotment but it died on me, this one I picked up at a plant sale/fair, I took one look at it and thought oooo I want that! And yes it does have a sort of zingy taste, I actually need to go and sample it again to remind myself!!

  • Good to see your garden awakening! It means that ours won’t be far behind. An edible border is such a great idea. I hope you’ll share pictures of it later in the season. Our weather is in a state of flux right now. Snow yesterday and tomorrow will hit 50*. I hope to be able to get into the garden mid-week and start the process. Fingers crossed!

    • Hi John, that is certainly a mixed bag of weather you are having. It’s warmed up here and across Europe, although who know ho wlong it will last!
      and yes I’ll certainly take some photos of the edible border, hopefully it will work, you know the scenario where you have an idea in your head but to actually put it into practice and for it to work is yet another thing!

  • Your mint and chives look about like my mint and chives, which I maintain year-round in pots. My chives are perhaps a little taller. My mint can probably use a transplant, or at least an untangling of roots. Meanwhile one weird tomato plant never died off with the rest and produces about three cherry tomatoes a week — it’s been going since May or June: it gets heat from a black garage door and sun reflected from the white wall behind it. Not a thing of beauty, but I can’t pull it up while it is producing.

  • This is the liminal season, isn’t it? Not quite winter, not quite spring, but a bit of both. We grow many of the same plants, herbs are so important for me for cooking or just to smell their fragrance through the year. Wonderful to read your eloquent words, a “breath of spring”

    • Absolutely, it’s neither one thing or the other, and as a gardener I can be impatient for Spring to start, but I’m about 4-5 weeks from the last frost date, so it’s getting closer! And thank you for your compliments and comments 🙂

  • Usually this time of year my garden would still be buried under snow, but we’ve had an incredibly mild winter and just this week I noticed some of my herbs are coming back to life too. I did miss the snow this year, but I won’t complain about an early spring!

    • I know what you mean about not complaining about an early Spring, the thing is that we also need the rain, it’s been very dry in the SE of the UK, and we are heading for drought, so maybe I should start doing a rain dance 🙂

  • Given it’s still winter, you sure do have a lot going on in your garden. But I guess it’s just a few more days and it will be Spring. Looking forward to seeing what develops from here.

  • The daffodils started poking their tips out just before the big freeze but were a bit early. I hope they’ll be ok. I didn’t get a chance to peak at my garden before I left but I hope it’ll be as promising as yours!

  • This perks me up for spring planting! In my zone, the cilantro is still growing (it overwintered well), as are my perennial herbs. The parsley that reseeded itself is even growing here.

    • OK now I’m jealous about overwintering cilantro/corriander! I know our winters would allow that, or I need it indoors with grow lights. Happy gardening and growing 🙂

  • I’m always amazed each year when you see the first shoots of green coming out of the ground, especially in our Maine garden which is in zone 4. Much later than now but there is always the anticipation of spring when there is a little warmth in the air.

  • I hope you can post before and after shots of these spring babies!! Just a bit of tender loving care and warmer weather and they will all be healthy and big!! I do so miss the Spring from up North, I hardly see any seasons where I live!

  • I find myself similarly occupied. The weather here has lulled me into planting onion sets and transition crops. It may be too early, as my neighbor made a point of stopping in the street to get out of her car and inform me, but with days in the upper 70s and warmer nights rarely reaching the lower 30s I feel it is worth the work. Besides, it is just so great to be outside! 😉 Lovely post and I can’t wait to see your edible border! ~ Lynda

    • I think you have hit the nail on the head Lynda, simply that it’s good to be outside, and that’s the key, we can get out and do some work in the garden. I know my soil is too wet and cold still for any direct sowing or planting, but not long now. But good on you for getting out there and planting and I like the fact your neighbour stopped and got out of her car to tell you, I’m imagining the conversation 🙂

  • Oh, all this green newness is welcome indeed! You will have a beauty of a garden–well, two, with the allotment! I love the Edible Edging you’re doing. And that sorrel really is a stunner. I’m a great admirer of showy leaves, and when they’re edible as well, it’s a marvelous bonus.

    • I’ve no idea if the edible edging will work, but its a way for me to sneak veggies into the garden, besides you need to have herbs handy for the kitchen right?!

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