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An Instant Herb Spiral

There were two unsightly problems in the otherwise well kept sensory garden at the day centre where I work; a large pile of cleared top soil and another of bricks and rubble from a demolished bunker. The solution? Bring them together to create a herb spiral! After identifying a suitable spot we simply laid down several thicknesses of wetted cardboard (plentiful supplies are always available from the centre's kitchens) straight onto the lawn, thus removing the need for any ground clearance, then used a couple of barrows to get shifting. The soil was spread out in a mound roughly 1.5m across by .5m high. Bricks were used to create an edging border around the mound, whilst larger concrete blocks were used to create the spiral, these being dug in and the soil sculpted as the shape evolved. We found a small pre-moulded pond which we dug into the base of the spiral, then planted it up with dry loving herbs such as rosemary and thymes at the top, moving down through lavender, sage, oregano, marjoram, fennel, chives, sorrel, strawberries, Welsh and tree onions with mints, lemon balm (contained in large pots!) and pennyroyal at the waters edge. There's watercress in the pond, which is also usually occupied by a large frog or two. The whole construction process, from bright idea to completion took less than two hours, and two years on the spiral is thriving and productive.

Graham Burnett (this article appeared in 'Permaculture Magazine')