Monday, February 13, 2012

Lemon Love

image source
Yesterday near the end of our outting to the Northwest Flower & Garden Show, it struck me while looking at a charming little garden built by a local high school in a grid pattern alternating grass with items of interest. I keep laughing about the fact that one reason we loved our house was the huge amount of yard space, and yet as I plan and dream of gardening, I keep wanting MORE land! The problem is I love so many styles of gardening and want to have a space for each, but that would mean absolutely no yard left to play in! I love a formal ornamental French garden with it's pretty geometric patterns edged with boxwood, the tumbled flowers and natural exuberance of the English cottage style, quiet romantic shady spots with the trickle of water over rocks, herb spirals, vegetable beds, the list continues. The challenge comes in finding a way to make little spots for each in our yard but still have it look cohesive. (Let's also ignore that all this gardening is in my head, I'm not exactly sure I will be that good at the actual physical labor all this requires.)

Anyway, on to my epiphany. I have a love for the special lemony herbs. I find myself drawn to their crisp citrus scent and sharp herbal taste. I think my stepmom awoke this awareness when she introduced me to lemon verbana. Each year at the Tilth plant sale, I have to rein in my fingers from snatching every lemony planted. An added bonus is that many lemon-scented herbs are considered good for a host of health issues including digestion and depression.

I think I shall make a little spot, perhaps near my future miniature lavender field, for a geometric lemon herb showcase. I like the checker board looks like this one below, but since several of these plants will grow tall with central stalks rather than ground cover, it probably won't work quite as well. When I mentioned it to J, he thought a tesselated pattern* would be fun, like Escher's salamanders, but I think the pattern would get lost unless done with only ground covers.
image source
check out the rest of the post for some fun grass designs
Plants I know I want:
  • Lemon Verbana Aloysia citriodora, Aloysia triphylla  -  I've bought this plant twice but can't seem to winter it properly, it seems I will have to keep it in a pot and find somewhere to winter it inside but away from the cat.
  • Lemon balm Melissa officinalis
  • lemon thyme Thymus x citriodorus
  • lemon basil Ocimum xcitriodorum
  • lemon grass Cymbopogon citratus
  • Lemon-scented geranium (maybe)
  • Lemon mint (maybe)
Looking through my plant list though, it appears many of them do better in containers so this may not be the best plant collection to use for the geometric garden. Back to the drawing board!

*Yes, I realize a checkerboard is a tesslation.

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