Knot Garden and Herbs for Zone 2
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Kim Shukla
Posted on: May 26, 1999

I live in southeastern Manitoba, Canada and am in the process of building a knot garden. The recommended plants for the garden are common rue or Blue Mound rue. What can you suggest that I use for the basis of the knot? I would like a herb that has a nice scent with a bluish tint that is nice and compact. The knot garden is going to be a feature piece for our wedding reception next year, so obviously I would like something fabulous.

Your real problem is your climate. Southern Manitoba has zone 2 to 3 winter temperatures and few herbs will survive that. The herbs that are reported in the literature to be winter hardy in zone 2 are listed below with the Richters herb catalogue number in brackets:

aconite(#1010) bilberry (#1410)-acid soil burdock (#1567-100) gobo (#8370) hollyhock (#3275, #3278) milkweed (#3995) Russian tarragon (#6210) uva-ursi (#6565)-acid soil yellow yarrow (#7010)

Of this list I would recommend yellow yarrow. Have you considered that it might be easier to grow an easy annual as the hedge? Some of the bush basils would look and smell great. Another good choice would be sweet marjoram. You could try them out with a packet this year and then next year start them indoors if the wedding is too early to allow direct sowing. If the knot garden is not going to be too big, another option is to grow the desired plants indoors- maybe under banks of lights in the basement and plant them out next spring.

The usual herbs suggested for knot garden hedges are:

upright thymes box, green, silver, gold English lawn chamomile chives silver or dwarf santolina (S. incana, S. chamaecyparissus, S. neapolitana) green leaved santolina (S. virens, S. rosmarinifolia) germander lavenders rosemary rue (maybe the variety ‘Jackman’s Blue’) winter savory hyssop southernwood curry plant

These all have to be overwintered indoors in zone 2.

PS. Can I still order a plug tray from you for this season or is it too late?

At the present time (May 1999) our plug inventory is at a low because of very high demand this spring. We are still taking orders, but delivery will be at least 8 weeks from the date we receive your plug order. The plants should have enough time to get established before winter sets in. This especially important in your severe climate. I would recommend two months before the first frost as the last planting date for your zone 2 to 3 climate.

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