Make a herb centrepiece

Making a summer herb planter is easy.

The container can be anything you choose; the only requirements are that it have drainage and be a minimum of 30 cm (12 in.) across and 7.5 cm (3 in.) deep. It could be an old tin bucket, a piece of pottery, a plastic-lined wicker basket, an old birdbath (simply drill some holes) or a homemade tufa planter.

Fill the container loosely with a sterilized potting soil with added organic nutrients – 20 per cent compost will do. Choose five of your favourite culinary herbs. Tuck the tallest-growing herb into the centre and place the other four around it. If your planter is large enough, add some colourful edible flowers, such as pansies or nasturtiums. Top-dress with a slow-release organic fertilizer and water the planter.

Tuck the tallest herb into the centre of the planter

Place the remaining herbs around the centre plant

Add edible flowers if space is available

The only care your planter will require is regular watering and feeding with a liquid organic fertilizer every two weeks. Place it in the centre of your table, attach a small pair of scissors and watch your portable herbal centrepiece grow and your guests enjoy.

When summer is over, remove faded annuals and bring your garden indoors near a bright, south-facing window, to provide the taste of fresh herbs all winter long.

Herbal Centrepiece Combinations

All-Purpose Evergreen
Centre – Colourful sage, such as tri-colour or purple
Surround with silver thyme, creeping rosemary, lemon thyme and chives. In summer, squeeze in a ‘Purple Ruffles’ basil and a few purple pansies.

Centre – Tuscan blue rosemary
Surround with Italian parsley, golden oregano, Spanish thyme and purple sage. In summer, nestle in a sweet basil plant and a few nasturtiums.

Centre – French lavender ‘Provence’ or ‘Grosso’
Surround with chervil, French tarragon, silver thyme and creeping rosemary. In summer, fill in any bare spots with curly parsley.


Centre – Lemon grass
Surround with lemon lavender, lemon thyme, lemon balm and lemon mint. In summer, nestle in a plant or two of lemon basil.

Mighty Mint
Centre – Spearmint
Surround with lemon mint, chocolate mint, licorice mint and grapefruit mint.