I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a critic of them.
I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master.
I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit.
Reginald Farrer, In a Yorkshire Garden, 1909

Friday, March 16, 2012

Failed attempt on herbs

green and nice
I had been thinking of how I could obtain new herb plants for my collection. My concerns were:
1. Price - some of the herb plants sold in local nurseries are rather expensive (more expensive than normal plants), although I can understand the health values that the plants have.
2. Availability - while some can be found in nurseries, some are not available, either sold out or they don't carry them. The availability of herb seeds sold in supermarkets are also extremely limited.

newly planted

3. Interest - plants sold in nurseries are normally well developed which is fine for those who want to use them immediately but I find it more interesting and definitely rewarding to see and help them grow from young. Its also a good way to learn and understand the characteristics of each plant and its needs.

So, I thought of an idea to buy fresh herbs at a local supermarket. Not all supermarkets carry fresh herbs but I managed to locate one in my area and paid it a visit. Was estatic when I found several of them and ended up buying five different types - tarragon, italian parsley, thyme, oregano and rosemary. Out of the five, I was certain at least two or three would survive. I was banking on oregano, rosemary and tarragon. I had read somewhere on the net that oregano roots easily through stem cutting. And it was definitely cheaper than buying them from nurseries, so I thought it would be worth an investment.

black and dead
Well, it was a failed project! None survived, including a stem cutting of lavandula (lavender) which I got on my own (far right in pic). The Italian parsley wilted the fastest and the hollow stems lost rigidity and eventually collapsed. My light greenish tarragon started to turn brownish at the stems and the tips curled. Despite planting several stems of thyme, all rotted and died. Three rosemary stems which were in healthy green turned brown and then black. I must say my oregano outlasted the others and I was really hoping it would survive but unfortunately it wilted too.

I had thinned out the leaves to give the stems a fighting chance and used root hormone to help with root growth but none survived. I wonder why. Perhaps the herbs came from the highlands and may have grown hydroponically, which might not have been suitable for the lowlands. Or perhaps, it was sheer bad luck. Should I try again?...hmm..


  1. Hi Ben. My wife got some cuttings of Malaysian basil from a neighbour. She used some rooting hormone, and then put them in a little water and promptly forgot about them. When she remembered them she found the water almost evaporated - but the cuttings had long strong roots as they searched desperately for water. These are still thriving in my garden and the leaves are useful for toppings on salads or home made pizza.

    1. Thanks for dropping a note. Good to know they are doing well in your garden. Basil seems to be easy to root, had mine done through cuttings as well. Like the nice unique smell.


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