The Herb Spiral: it's beautiful, it's functional, it's living art, and it tastes good!
My sweet and talented husband built this herb spiral for me a few years ago. I can see it from my kitchen window and pop outside to snip a little of this or that as needed. It's also positioned so we walk past it when entering or leaving the house by the front door, enjoying its variety of shapes, colors, smells, and textures daily. Our culinary life has much improved...as a matter of fact, I'm eating scrambled eggs with herbs from my garden as I write this! Not only do I almost always have fresh herbs on hand, but I also dry the herbs to use through the winter months.
I chose perennials: sage, marjoram, tarragon, thyme, savory, garlic chives, fennel, and curry plant for my spiral, with a few hens and chicks, plus one lavender for good measure.
Tarragon: Queen of Herbs
You can make your herb spiral natural looking like mine, or more formal. Just be sure to leave plenty of space for plant growth.
Helichrysum Italicum AKA 'Curry Plant'
Hens and chicks tucked between the rocks.
A cheery lavender.
More hens and chicks with thyme growing through it.
The concept is to arrange the herbs so each will get the correct exposure and moisture.
From the Micro Gardener:
'This...design maximises the natural force of gravity, allowing water to drain freely and seep down through all layers – leaving a drier zone at the top(perfect for hardy herbs) and a moist area at the bottom for water lovers. The design also creates microclimates allowing you to plant a diverse range of herbs in a variety of positions (sunny, sheltered and shady). In a typical garden bed or pot, all plants are grown on the one level, so the growing conditions are the same. This design offers you multiple options in a compact space.
The stones, rocks, bricks or blocks used to build the spiral retain heat absorbed during the day and insulate the garden at night, keeping it warm when temperatures drop.
These materials form the backbone of the spiral structure which is filled with organic matter and nutrients to plant into. The spiral is watered from the top and moisture filters down to the bottom, creating different moisture zones. The bottom of the spiral can be closed off with bricks/rocks/blocks or left open to allow water to flow into a small pond or bog garden at the bottom, ideal for frogs or edible water plants that prefer a wet environment. The niches in between the bricks/rocks can be planted with shallow rooted ground cover herbs like oregano or pennyroyal.'
A full article with more pictures, diagrams, and video from the Micro Gardener is here.
There are several designs and materials you can use.
Herb Spiral Inspiration: