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Call it spaghetti sauce landscaping.

Herbs fit handsomely into the landscape in the gardens pictured above. We photographed them in early June in the northern Sardinian resort of Costa Smeralda, where the garden mainstays are native Mediterranean plants (including herbs) and compatible ornamentals such as bougainvillea, lantana, and ivy geraniums.

In this mild climate (at the same latitude as Eureka, California), all the herbs in the photographs except mint are evergreen all year; they make up borders or informal beds, or cluster around groupings of stones and Aleppo pines. They are artfully combined with herbs of different textures and leaf colors, or with blooming ornamentals.

In the photograph at top left, for example, silvery-leafed bush germander (Teucrium fruticans) contrasts with dark green culinary rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis); in late spring and summer, golden yellow blooms of the honeysuckle vine and vibrant orange-flowered lantana highlight the bed with color.

If you'd like to try herbs in the landscape, May is a good month to plant. For hedges, borders, or permanent beds, these other herbs are good-looking all year in mild to moderate climates: oregano, English or lemon thyme, gray or green santolina.

For low edgings around spring-summer flower beds, try parsley or chives; both are especially handsome around beds of cream and pink phlox or yellow French marigolds. Since mint can be invasive, it's best confined to raised beds, to areas surrounded by paving, or to flue tiles sunk into the ground.

Most herbs need full sun, good drainage, and an occasional light trimming to keep them shapely. In the ground, they don't need much water or fertilizer once established. Many grow fast; space bushy kinds 1 to 2 feet apart at planting time.
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Title Annotation:herb gardening
Date:May 1, 1985
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