The Garden of Herb

March in northern Alabama calls to those of us bent toward early gardening. Although the average last frost date is April 15, those first warm days of March draw me to soil like a magnet attracts a nail.

Being too early to set out most plants, I decided to do the grunt work of preparing my herb garden. I had pretty much left it untended last year, so my dreaded chore loomed ahead, too close for comfort.

I began by weeding, of course. Then I added topsoil and peat moss, and replaced the black fabric barriers. I even moved some rocks around to make small areas for herbs that were already in place and for those I had dreamt about adding.

The area for my herb garden— about 15’ by 3’— sits between a walkway and the detached garage, where it barely gets enough sun. But most plants do fine there. I worked a small section at a time over a period of several days. This one was of those rare times when a project progressed easier and faster than expected. Yaaay!

The plants that had survived our mild winter included rosemary, chives, and thyme, plus an unidentified specimen. I’m thinking it’s lemon grass, but haven’t confirmed that yet.

In mid-April, I added chamomile, cilantro, oregano, sage, curry, dill, basil, stevia, lemon balm, wormwood, Italian parsley, and French tarragon. I have mint coming up in flowerbeds in the front yard that I’m debating about moving (some of it) to the herb garden, since it tends to take over anything in its path. I’ve read about planting mint in containers without drainage holes in order to prevent it from spreading, so I may try doing that this year.

My early spring bed preparation is paying off with a rather neat-looking herb garden, filled with many plants to enjoy this summer as I cook and tincture the products of my labor.



Nature has been a part of my life as long as I can remember.

My father celebrated spring by gathering the first wild violets from the backyard in our home in Madison (Nashville), Tennessee for my mother. She put them into an old pimento cheese jar in the kitchen window. Do you remember those jars? They were glass and rather small.

Although my mother couldn’t stand getting her hands dirty, she planted zinnias with me most summers. I suppose they were almost fool-proof for a child to grow.

But the joy of nature came to me through my paternal line. My father was the youngest child, so he spent much time with his mother in her flower and vegetable gardens. According to him and my cousins, she enjoyed growing and tending her flowers. I remember African violets inside her house. Flowers growing indoors fascinated the blooming nature-child within me.

My father, uncles, and neighbors had vegetable gardens in their backyards every summer during my growing up years – enough for the family and even more to share. Looking back, the one common food among them was tomatoes, which they exchanged with pride. Each grew different varieties and experimented, so that the exchange became somewhat of a contest. Who grew the biggest, the best tasting, the most yield?

My affinity for nature grew from these experiences.


Here’s a link to my book about traditional meaning of flowers, trees, and herbs. It’s a product that evolved from those nature-loving times.

Information and photos used on this site belong to Brenda Jenkins Kleager, or have been found in public domain.