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Northeast Gardening: Spicing Up the Herb Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

See how our Northeast gardening contributor used $100 from Lowe's to spice up her herb garden by adding annual herbs, vining flowers, and a few key vegetables.

northeast garden
pink flower

Challenges abound in the garden, and this season my herb circle stands out. I let the thyme and oregano and sage go, and they went everywhere, overwhelming the space reserved for my annual cooking herbs.

I decided to live and let live with a lily and some ornamental alliums that popped up, but the daffodils I put in a few years ago had to go. The winter did in my rosemary, and the chives were in need of cutting back.

But like Dudley Do-Right saving the damsel in distress just in the nick of time, along came the Lowe's $100 Challenge, which provides each regional blogger with a gift card to finance a garden project. Mine was simple -- the taming of the herb circle in the center of the flower/vegetable garden that highlights my front yard.

My first concern was the wooden obelisk in the middle of the herbs. Traditionally I festoon it with morning glories -- this year I craved change. I wanted color and I wanted it now. Besides, the obelisk is a focal point.

pink flowers

I couldn't resist the gorgeous pink mandevilla I spotted the minute I arrived at Lowe's garden department.

Mandevilla is rooted in my past -- it was my oncologist's favorite flower, and when I fought breast cancer 14 years ago, it helped turn our doctor-patient relationship into friendship. And the tropical vine would not only garland the obelisk with blooms, it also would look lovely among the herbs.

I bought three pots of parsley, three pots of basil, one pot of cilantro, a rosemary plant and -- for something different -- some vining vegetables for the still-empty spaces on the obelisk: pickling cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and straight-neck squash.

I spent $93.29.

Lowe's Materials List:

  • Mandevilla
  • Cherry tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Basil (3)
  • Parsley (3)
  • Cilantro (1)
  • Rosemary (1)

I'm still debating buying bee balm, which would bump me up to just over $100.

Final planting circle

All that was left was to dig out the daffodils, move some of the oregano and thyme to the outer edges of the circle and plant my purchases -- all of them in plantable biodegradable pots and all of them sun-lovers that dig rich, well-drained soil. For just about $100, I have it all -- flowers, fragrance and flavor.

And of course parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. And basil too. Here's the final result.