A FEW weeks ago I was lucky enough to travel to Somerset and visit one of the most well respected herb nurseries in the country at Jekka McVicar’s, writes TOM ATTWOOD. The nursery was having an open day showcasing many of the broad range of herbs that they grow and it was fascinating to see so many different types of mint, rosemary and thyme (and the opportunity to stock up on the new and unfamiliar to bring back north). I love how resilient many herbs are if you get some of the basics right from the start. The majority of herbs are essentially Mediterranean in origin and as such they relish full sun and well-drained conditions. The most effective way to lose herb plants is to grow them where the opposite of this is true in wet ground that drains poorly, especially during the winter when the plants are semi-dormant. If you’re reading those words and thinking that such a scenario would be hard to avoid then fear not as many herbs will grow happily in pots and this is something I do a lot of myself in our own garden. The container or pot you opt for is entirely up to you, traditional unglazed terracotta looks great, but they do 'wick' water from the soil; to help reduce this go for a glazed, plastic or even metal container where this will be reduced. When you fill the pots use a soil-based compost, John Innes No 3 is good or if you have some of your own garden soil that is also perfectly okay. I mix some additional grit into whatever I’m using to aid drainage as well as plenty of largely material in the bottom of the pot, such as pieces of broken pot, stones or slate. Try to position your planted pots where they get the most sun. If you have a shady north-facing garden we might have to reassess this idea but if not then go forth and fill you garden with these beautiful, highly tactile plants full of culinary promise.

Next week: growing native plants in your garden