UK: Large herb garden opens to the public

One of the UK’s foremost herb experts has recently expanded their farm with a brand new display that celebrates more than four hundred varieties of herbs for both culinary and medical purposes.

Jekka’s Herb Garden will be open in time for the hosting of HerbFest 2023, a festival growing in popularity, featuring great food, speakers, and of course, herbs.

Jekka’s is based in South Gloucestershire and expanded from a hobby to a thriving family farm led by former RHS Chelsea Flower show garden designer Jekka McVicar.

Designing a Haven for Herbs & Humanity
Jekka’s Herb Garden is designed as a means to connect humans to plants and wildlife in what is becoming an increasingly disconnected world. The farm is already home to an incredible array of insects, amphibians, birds, and mammals, and by creating the Herb Garden, there is now more room for these species to continue to thrive.

It’s crucial that any herb grown for consumption is grown using only organic and sustainable gardening methods. This means no harmful pesticides or substrates or peat composts.

These growing methods not only improve the taste and nutritional value of the crop but are also capable of supporting incredible biodiversity, particularly amongst bees, butterflies, and birds.

The garden is also a means to preserve some species of herbs that are no longer widely available, which means that Jekka’s can continue to be an important part of seed propagation, harvesting, and collection for future generations.

Constructing Jekka’s Herb Garden
When constructing the herb garden, Jekka’s were keen to ensure that the whole process remained as environmentally conscious as possible, which meant that every material was scrutinized to ensure it was able to continue supporting the wide variety of life on the farm.

For example, the steel edging used to create the unique flower-shaped beds has been created by Steel Landscaping Co, who develop and fabricate all of their steel products in the UK to last a lifetime.

The garden has also been constructed on previous hard standings, which means that all of the membrane and weed suppressors have been completely recycled from the last project. Each of the plants is watered using drip pipe irrigation, which ensures that there is no water waste.

The herb garden was also partially constructed in conjunction with the charity St.Mungo’s Putting Down Roots program, which is a horticultural therapy and training project which uses gardening as a tool to help those in recovery with self-esteem, confidence, and other physiological issues.

Those participating in the program helped work through and move recycled topsoil for the herb beds that have been created from green waste from other parts of the farm.

Designing Jekka’s Herb Garden
The design of the Herb Garden takes inspiration from their 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden entry.

The two interconnecting gardens are styled on the motif of the infinity sign, which allows the visitor to continually walk around the garden, taking in the sights and sounds of nature while being educated as to the uses of herbs in medical and culinary use.

Each of these circular beds makes up the shape of a flower, each of which is a self-contained individual herb garden - this isn’t obvious to visitors walking around the gardens.

However, when looking at the garden from above, the steel edging has been fabricated and installed into the shape of two large flowers with eight oval petals on each.

Surrounding each of these herb petals are extensive gravel gardens showcasing a vast array of Thymes and Oreganos.

Jekka’s HerbFest
Jekka’s HerbFest 2023 kicks off on June 30th, with extensive tours of the Herb Garden available to visitors.

Click here for more information on Jekaa's Herb Garden

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