Garden Project: Herb Spiral

I’ve been gardening for a while now, and find myself gravitating more and more towards perennials and plants that don’t need extra watering. Partially because I’m not very good at keeping things watered and I feel very sad whenever I lose a plant due to my own neglect… but also because our summers up here in the Pacific Northwest just keep getting hotter and drier, so it’s more sustainable in the long term.

two garden beds bursting with an array of leafy green plants
Front garden beds filled with an abundance of perennial plants

This spring both of my front garden beds sprung to life with a bunch of self-seeding and perennial plants, with zero effort or watering on my part. They are packed with fava beans, mâche, salad burnet, oregano, peppermint, nodding onions, parsley, and pineberries. I love looking out at the abundance growing there every time I glance outside the window.

close-up of fava bean plants growing in a garden bed
The front garden bed in spring, full of fava beans and pineberry blossoms

The backyard has traditionally been a bit more neglected. But this year I bought a new tart cherry tree that I really want to thrive, so we installed some irrigation out in the very back and transformed a weed patch into a new garden bed that will hopefully bring us plenty of fruit and berries in the future!

As part of the new layout of this back area, I really wanted to create something that has been on my garden wish list for a long while: an herb spiral. So, finally, I did! We had a lot of discarded bricks lying around in the yard, and we referred to this video to help us build the structure.

We didn’t have any straw around, but we did have plenty of extra soil, compost, and some wood shavings from a bare-root raspberry we’d recently planted. So we improvised (as we do) and filled up the layers with a soil/compost mixture, then spread the wood shavings on top.

Next step: planting it up! This article had lots of good info about plant placement, but if I’m honest, I actually didn’t read it until I was preparing this blog post. I just relied on intuition and my knowledge of the sun’s movement through our yard when deciding where to plant things. So it may not work, but that’s okay! Also, there is a ton of cilantro because my son insisted we plant a lot of that 😉

a spiral garden bed made with bricks
Top view of the herb spiral

From the top of the spiral to the bottom, I planted: lavender, scented geranium (Attar of Roses), English thyme, Fino Verde basil, rau ram (Vietnamese coriander), cilantro (Santo variety), strawberry, more cilantro, more English thyme, chives, and yet more cilantro. I have a feeling that some of these plants may need to be re-homed in the future, because the space I have for them may not be large enough once they are mature, but for now it gives a very pleasing, abundant look.

side view of a spiral garden bed made with bricks
Side view of the herb spiral

I really like this design because it’s a great way to grow a variety of plants in a relatively small space. It’s also surprisingly satisfying to water them, spiraling the water can from the top all the way down. I’m glad to have finally realized my longstanding dream of creating this garden element!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Nicole

    Looks great!

    1. Alanna Peterson

      Thanks Nicole! We’re happy with how it came together 🙂

  2. Sara


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