Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

I’ve been really missing the butterflies and bees in the last couple of weeks. They will return to my spring garden any time now and I’m longing for their arrival.

Before starting. Hoping that the herb garden won't need the cat-deterent devices of the vege pot in the foreground!

So, that means that it is time to tear myself away from the tomato seedlings and get stuck into some work in my ‘Butterfly and Bee’ garden…before I completely fill it with the veges.

Believe it or not the grey furry one is a marjoram I'd been nursing back to health to go in the new herb garden.

Up until now I’ve had a few herbs in post and dotted around the garden, but I thought adding a garden of herbs on the North facing side of the house would have more than one benefit.

One benefit is that it is not far from the kitchen door, so very handy for snipping a few quick herbs to go in dinner, two is…there may just happen to be a few tomato plants going in nearby and attracting some buzz-pollinating blue-banded bees toward them won’t hurt a bit. Three is that this is, after all, meant to be in the part of theΒ  garden that the bees and the butterflies would most like to visit so we can see them close up.


So far I’m putting in three different types of thyme, oregano, bergamot, rosemary and marjoram. As these are mainly mediterranean type herbs I am hoping the North facing wall will help give them a microclimate that they like.

Early plantings hoping that the giant shiny bird isn't going to eat them.

This won’t strictly be a herb garden, I’m also adding some native flowers that the butterflies like ( Swan River Daisy – Brachyscome iberidifolia, Yellow Buttons – Helichrysum ramosissimum and Golden Everlasting – Bracteantha bracteata ) So hopefully in a month or two the place will be buzzing!

My poor rosemary was very root bound. I'm not sure if there is anything I can do for it, but I'll see if it manages to bouce back.


Comments on: "Building a herb garden to greet the bees." (24)

  1. Our lemon verbena has recovered from being sat upon. By a sturdy Chocolat!

  2. It’s going to be a delightful place, for sure. I have some of those similar furry herbs in my garden, though if we told them they HAD to sit in plant pots, they’d rebel fiercely!

  3. Well, that’s one way to keep your young herbs protected from frost, but I might recommend a cloche…they tend not to squash seedlings quite the same way as a cat πŸ˜›

    The bees will love your rosemary when it blooms. Even though it’s a little root bound, Rosemary is tough stuff, and I expect it will be fine. This year we planted some basil (Thai basil) in our herb garden and intentionally left it to bloom. The bees went absolutely bonkers buzzing from flower to flower. They’ve really enjoyed the hyssop, and summer savory too, and some mornings there’s an audible hum coming from that part of the garden. Can’t wait to see your herb garden when it’s in bloom!

    • Hello Clare, you’re spot on…no danger of frost damage there πŸ˜€
      Thanks for the feedback about the rosemary…I’d only repotted it about 18 months ago so I got quite a shock when I saw it! I’ve got some hyssop seeds too, so glad to hear that they are a hit with the bees πŸ™‚

  4. My dogs sit upon the plants daily — amazing they are I have to say! The plants, that is. Heidi–I love the pictures and the tales from your part of the world. Thank you for sharing! I agree that rosemary is quite a resolute plant — it will endure!

  5. At different times of the year, the buzz from our garden is quite loud. We have some ornamental sage alongside the house that attracts bees by the thousands. I get almost hypnotized standing there watching them. It’s quite a sight.

  6. We have a Bee Keeper who lives across the street from our office. No shortage of buzzing in that neighborhood. However, at the request of a few employees who are allergic, we keep the flowers to a minimum.

    We had two Vitex or Chaste trees that were like bee magnets that had to be replaced by non-flowering trees. It was a shame they had to go as they were beautiful and I really enjoyed the sound of the Bees.

    • Hello Steve and thanks for dropping by (sorry for the slow welcome!) You’ve inspired me to hunt down some sage to plnat in my little herb garden, the more bees the merrier!

  7. Herb gardens are brilliant! We don’t get too many butterflies in ours, but lots of bees and bumblebees. Over the last few years one herb bed has turned into two and a half herb beds.
    My herbs like the stone walls behind them. They collect warmth from the sun and keep the herb bed nice and cosy in cold evenings.
    They (not the walls of course!) mostly grow like mad things, well those that don’t get eaten by snails do. What can I do with the giant wormwood?

    Oh, and I love your fuzzy herb warmer! πŸ˜€

    • Cheery!

      Oh, I would sooooo love a bumblebee to come and visit my garden, but sadly we don’t get them anywhere in Australia (as far as I know) except Tasmania.

      I’m not sure what you can do with giant wormwood….feed it to giant worms? Kidding πŸ˜€ It makes a good insect repellent doesn’t it?

      PS – I visited your blog, but can’t figure out how to leave a comment there 😦

      • Insect repellent! Great idea. I was afraid I would have to turn it all into digestive bitter. :-/

        Commenting on my “blog” doesn’t work, because it isn’t a proper blog. You can only say hi in the guestbook.

        We have beautiful late summer weather right now and the air above the herb beds is almost solid with all kinds of wee humming beasties!

        Oh, and do you plan to have some sage, too (if it’s not a dangerous pest where down there)? Our bees and butterflies love it and you can eat/make tea out of it.
        Right no we have only three different varieties… someone here thinks that you can have too much sage. Tsk!

  8. Heidi, I used to have a neighbor raising bees, and when my oregano bloomed, those bees were there in a minute, all over that plant. (I suspect the honey was marketed as ‘wildflower honey’ rather than ‘oregano honey’!) I don’t know if oregano behaves differently in your part of the world, but mine spreads quickly and self-sows like crazy. I love having fresh herbs by the kitchen door and wouldn’t have a garden without oregano, but that might be one herb you want to encourage your cats to sit on.

    • Hello Jean!

      I’ve duly noted to encourage Possum to sit on the oregano as it does tend to grow more vigorously than the other herbs here too. But, like you, we do love to cook with it, so hopefully demand will keep up with supply!

  9. Heidi, Your herb garden is going to be brilliant … especially with all the help you are getting from your furry friend! Pam x

  10. I like the gray furry herb the best! I think your herb bed will be delightful for humans and bees alike. I like the selection you have made. It should be beautiful!

  11. I laughed so much at the cat in the pot … hilarious – I’ve tried in vain to start a little herb garden in my city apartment with planters on the ledge of my balcony only to walk out and find my cat going to the toilet in it. Needless to say – I don’t eat the herbs grown here.

    Can’t wait to see your herbs take off – I’ve just put in sage and dill seeds and hoping they germinate!

    • Hi Em…I can relate to the planter problem. The big concrete troughs we use for veges had to be purged and completely re-filled with potting mix when we discovered that the cats thought that they were a lovely warm place to take nature’s call! Hence all the spiky things sticking out of the planters now!

  12. The photo of the cat on top of the flower pot is the loveliest and funniest photo i’ve ever seen. It can win a contest, haha! I really love it. But of course i won’t like it if it’s my plant he decided to trample on!

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