What do you do in your garden over the winter? For most of us, it’s all about pruning, preparing, making sure everything’s warm, covered and tucked in to survive any frosts - and then looking forward to the other side.
It’s certainly not usually a time we usually associate with planting and sowing new life - but, with a few carefully thought out containers there are some new additions you can bring to your garden over the colder months.
One of our favourites has to be hardy winter herbs. Not only are they low-maintenance, needing little fertiliser and feeding - they look pretty, distinctive and decorative; they release a gorgeous scent; and you’ll build up a varied herb garden to add new depth and flavours to your cooking.
We’ve chosen two that can be grown in any multi-purpose, well-drained compost, and ideally in full sun - just make sure to use as large a container as you can, to help keep moisture in the soil. However, you don’t want them to become waterlogged, so check that there are drainage holes in the bottom. If not, make some yourself with a drill or pair of scissors.
Then, once they’re established, all that’s left to do is sit back, put the kettle on, and plan which summer herbs you’ll add in next year - basil, parsley, mint?
This beautifully aromatic herb has long been thought to benefit our brains - the Ancient Greeks thought it conducive to thinking, and it’s associated with a good memory in traditional medicine. Whether that’s true or not, what we do know is that it’s nutritious, delicious, and smells incredible - the oils in the leaves concentrate in winter, so they’ll release their gorgeous fragrance if brushed against.
Most of us associate this herb with the sharp, needle-like leaves we use in cooking, but rosemary will also produce tiny white, pink, purple and blue flowers, so it’s as decorative as it is useful.
Sage is another intensely aromatic herb, with a wonderfully deep, savoury, perfumed taste. As with rosemary, its oils concentrate in the leaves during the winter, so a light brush against it will release its heady scent. And, as with rosemary, it’s an evergreen shrub so its leaves will be available to pick and use in your cooking all year. Sage doesn’t just taste great - it’s a great source of vitamin C and potassium, too. Its flavour actually increases in intensity as its leaves grow, so you’ll be rewarded for leaving it for longer.