Contain yourself

In the mornings, when its cool and the house is still casting some shade on the back patio I have been working on my herb garden. It’s not done – I still need to pull out the river rock edging and replace it with something I can mow over because I despise using the weed trimmer – but it’s coming along nicely.

One of the crucial elements in my “renovation” of the herb garden was to contain the invasive species. I had already done this with the marjoram a former neighbor brought over when it became clear that it was bent on world domination. My oregano, a kissing cousin of marjoram, and my tenacious thyme were also starting to advance on their neighbors in a menacing way, so I’ve contained them, too.

My cheap and easy trick is as follows:


Snip the bottom out of a good-sized nursery pot using tin snips. Pruners will do, but tin snips will be more effective and cause less swearing and wrist pain. For my thyme, shown here, I used a squat 2 gallon pot the former owners of our house thoughtfully left behind. (Along with half a trampoline, a sectional sofa, three 90-gallon garbage cans full of broken glass, and the overwhelming smell of patchouli in the spare bathroom.)


Dig out your plant and divide it if necessary. My thyme was way out of hand so I cut out and kept only about 1/3 of it – which is still more than I’ll ever use of my favorite herb.


Sink the bottomless pot into the hole until the rim is level with or just above soil level and replant your would-be-colonizer inside the pot. Water very generously for a few days – especially if you, like me, are foolishly performing such a trick at the hottest, driest time of year.

— Amanda


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