My sister, months ago, sent me text with some pictures of an an herb spiral "we have to do this!!" Knowing we were in the middle of landscaping and knowing that I am sucker for a unique idea, my sister also knew my response was a "hell yeah" before she even received my text back. We receive compliments on it often, even though it is year one and the HS (herb spiral) is not yet where I want it to be.
What I learned:
- While packing the center with the upturned sod (grass-side down) saved us money, it did determine which flowers and herbs flourished within its walls. Very few seeds directly planted in the herb spiral germinated. Only the sunflower germinated, and I did not plant it there! Seedlings I started indoors and in the greenhouse also had a difficult time and most died after transplant. The plants that flourished were established purchased plants that I transplanted to the HS.
- Next time, I would add more topsoil and allow for the soil settling that will take place. So far, the soil in the HS has settled down approximately 6 inches in the past ten months. As it stands, we will be adding more soil this fall and likely a bit more in the spring.
- We added to the sod base 4 bags of topsoil, one bag of soil conditioner and one bag of manure. We added too much soil conditioner and will not be supplementing.
- Next year I will plant more hanging type plants to overhang the HS edges, and give it that lush look I am seeking.
- Borage is gigantic. Bees go nuts for borage, but there isn't room in the HS for it.
What we did successfully:
- Location. We chose an area that received east/west sun with a tree nearby that provides a few hours of shade.
- Added a bucket of sand to the soil at the very top circle to increase the heat. This isn't something most people recommend, but the sage and Gerber daisy plants love it.
- Add flowers. And beets. It really looks nice. It's not so much an "herb" spiral but a garden spiral.
- Water frequently. It seems to need almost daily watering as the entire HS dries up quickly. Could be because of the energy/water needed to decompose the sod base. Will be curious if this is only a first year problem.
- Size. The HS is six feet across. I almost wish it were even bigger but honestly, I would turn my entire yard into a garden, if I could.
- Spent more time planning it than building it. We made endless drawings of where we wanted it to go and what we wanted it to be. Made the process of building enjoyable as it was the end of the process. Three hours to build from marking the sod to filling the built HS with soil.
- Making sure the ground is 100% level before laying stone/brick is the most important action, imo.
The pictures tell the story, but we would be happy to answer questions you may have.