‘Thrive in droughts’: Monty Don shares the best herbs to grow in ‘hot, dry conditions’

Gardeners' World: Monty advises on planting Mediterranean herbs

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Gardeners’ World lead host Monty Don has shared which herbs are best to grow in hot weather. With hot summers likely to become more regular in the future due to climate change, these herbs might be the best option for budding cooks. The 67-year-old also shared how to harvest tomatoes and chillies on the latest episode of the hit gardening programme.

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Monty said Mediterranean herbs are the best for drought conditions and have “loved” the recent hot, dry spells.

He explained: “These Mediterranean herbs that have thrived in the drought that we’ve had almost everything else has suffered – but these have loved it.

“We also are getting masses of insects and bees that just adore all the flowers.

“So you have herbs like rosemary, oregano, fennel, all of these come from the Mediterranean and they have evolved and adapted to very hot, dry conditions.

“So they are completely at home and we will cut them back but not until the flowering is over.”

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Mediterranean herbs include shrubby herbs like rosemary or sage or thyme.

The gardening expert said gardeners need to “cut them back hard” so they produce “nice, soft growth” which is better for cooking with.

Gardeners don’t need a garden to grow herbs, most herbs will grow really well in a container.

Practically any herb will grow in a pot.

However, the easiest and the most robust and probably the most suitable the way the weather is going, are Mediterranean herbs.

Monty added: “And the key thing is not to overfeed them or indulge them.

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“And you can see I’ve made a compost mix that is 50 percent grit.”

Monty put a layer of compost on the bottom of the pot.

He decided to plant three different Mediterranean herbs: prostrate rosemary, ordinary thyme and lemon thyme.

The prostrate rosemary is great for growing in pots because it spills over the edge of the pot and looks decorative.

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Ordinary thyme is bushy with small leaves and loves full sunshine.

Lemon thyme has bigger leaves and is a popular cooking ingredient.

As long as the soil in the pot is not too rich, the plants will remain hardy and tough.

However, the plants do need cutting back regularly.

Monty explained: “What you will find is that they will get leggy and a bit woody and you have to keep cutting them back.

“So as long as you cut them back to get new fresh growth, these will keep going for years.

“Top it up with some pure grit and that gives us a Mediterranean little pot of herbs to go in a very sunny place that will take any amount of hot, dry weather that you can get.”

Gardeners’ World is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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