The son of a friend had learned stone-wall building in Scotland, and he created herb beds in a semi-circle by the house. With an urn in the middle of the radiating beds, I coated the stones with thyme, lined the edges with chives and filled the centers with taller herbs like oregano, parsley and tarragon. Silver foliage herbs like the curry plant gave variety and the effect was somehow a raised version of a 17th century kitchen garden. My second New Hampshire garden was definitely more ambitious than my first!
Fourteen years later we retired to Grantham, where we planned to spend our fall and winter months. Our plan was to go to Wales for the spring and summer. But somehow there still had to be some garden around our Eastman house – there were so many plants in Meriden that could be divided and brought with us. A sunny strip down by Mill Pond below the house was the perfect place, so another bed took shape. And, of course, since then areas nearer the house itself have needed some planting… Luckily I had found a friend in Cindy Heath who promised to spend a day or two keeping the worst of the weeds at bay when I was abroad. So I have now become an expert at knowing which plants will thrive in this area, but not take over completely when they are seriously neglected for much of the growing season!