Published on 19 June 2005 in , ,

I’d never been much of a gardener – not much of a plant person – until we moved into this house just over a year ago.

On the day we moved in my mum made up some hanging baskets and a few weeks later, the herb balcony was established.

I should explain that when it comes to green spaces, this place isn’t over endowed. At the front there’s a small patch of soil and pebbles at the end of the drive, a patch of scorched grass next to drive which is full of various small wild flowers and very little green grass. At the back, well we don’t have a back. We just have a front.

But at the back we have a small balcony – we’re a split level maisonette, so are on the first and second floors. And Catherine thought some window boxes with herbs in would be good – she doesn’t recall this being her idea but it was. So with Catherine’s mum, we visited Columbia Road Flower Market and stocked up on herbs. Parsley, mint, thyme, sage, lemon balm, bay, tarragon, oregano, rosemary and chives, with a lavender plant for good measure. They were later joined by a second thyme for reasons I forget.

The balcony is obviously a good place as almost everything thrived – it’s got some shelter from the wind but catches the sun nicely. So good is it that the parsley was still growing strong into late November. This year most of the herbs returned although the rosemary has been very slow. The mint seemed to catch some disease and was binned, but everything else just kept on growing.

So we decided to expand – we still had some space so I got two more boxes and we went to Morden Hall Garden Centre. Two new mints were selected, garlic chives, camomile and a coriander. And one I was very keen on – wild rocket. For I love rocket. I do a great rocket, halloumi and chick pea salad. It’s divine.

Rocket on the balcony

The coriander has gone mental, the mints have now gone into a larger tub next to a geranium from last years baskets. And the rocket… Oh mama!

Rocket is one of my faves. We got two plants and whilst they’re not big plants, you can easily get one large crop of leaves once a month, with a couple of smaller selections during the growing period. Taste wise it’s also superb – far more flavour than the bland supermarket variety.

And there’s something quite pleasing about eating something you’ve grown, and you simply can’t beat the taste of freshly picked herbs in your food. Sadly the balcony is getting close to its capacity limit – we could probably fit two more tubs on the balcony floor, but I’m pondering lettuce or something similar. Some tomatos in a hanging basket. We will see. One thing however is for sure. As long as it all keeps on growing, I’ll keep eating. Or drinking. Lavender tea anyone?