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native herb spiral

Make a vertical herb spiral

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New to gardening? Try this herb garden spiral.

Fresh herbs are a great addition to any garden, especially as you don’t need a lot of space to get started. In our August/September 2021 issue (OG 127), Penny Woodward has written all about growing this culinary must-have in pots.  “Herbs don’t take up much space, are used over and over again, and in many cases all of the plant is used in some way, so there is no waste,” Penny writes. There’s heaps more information, of course, but we thought this idea from Leonie Shanahan might be a good starting point.

You will need:

3 different-sized pots

3 bricks (or similar)

Potting mix

Assorted herbs


1. Pre-water herbs with seaweed solution to reduce transplant shock.

2. Position pots in full sun, north facing.

3. Add bricks (or similar) to centre of largest pot, as a platform, to support middle-sized pot.

4. Backfill pot with potting mix and trace elements.

5. Add next pot. Half fill with potting mix, add another support in the centre and place final pot on top.

6. Before planting herbs, place them in a spiral to see if you are satisfied with the final look. Keep in mind that herbs planted at the top will need to like hot and dry conditions and as you go down each tier choose herbs that prefer more moisture.

7. Plant. Mulch. Water well with seaweed solution.

Herbs to repel pests by Penny Woodward

Some useful pest-repellent herbs can be grown in pots and pieces picked as needed, or the pots can be moved around to help keep pests away. Try the following:
• Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) (below) repels both flies and ants. Grow in a pot by frequently used doors, break off leafy branches and spread on shelves to keep ants away.

127 Tansy by Gap Photos Ernie James

• Southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum) leaves help to keep mosquitoes away and if you have chooks, cuttings added to nesting boxes will repel pests.
• Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) will also repel mosquitoes, rub the pleasantly scented leaves on exposed sections of skin, and spread leaves inside or outside to repel ants.
• English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) also repels mosquitoes, brush against it or crush leaves to release the scent into the air.
• Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) repels flies and fleas.


Leonie Shanahan contributed her potting idea to the OG website in April 2017. You can read Penny’s full article about growing herbs in pots in our August/September 2021 issue (OG 127) – purchase a copy today and have it delivered! And there’s always more tips if you subscribe!

OG 144 cover