Our Apothecary Garden

Severus Snape and Professor Sprout are two of our favorite characters in Harry Potter and their story inspired the sister team to begin exploring potion making and herbology.

From our hidden garden in the city, the HipMonsters sister team will bring you tips on growing herbs in a city, how best to preserve and prepare your herbs, and how to have fun!  

Our herb Garden

We started our herb garden by clearing and preparing several patches in our yard that were suitable for growing herbs. We ended up with two beds that received full midday sun and others that were in the shade most of the day during summer. Our yard is really old, so to prepare the beds we dug down 24 inches and churned in lost of fresh dirt. All of the beds had good drainage.

A herb garden
The sunniest bed after planting

After the beds were done, we observed how much sun they received and how the water drained. Using this information, we researched the best herbs for each bed focusing on herbs that were well-suited for San Francisco’s climate. Here is a good article to start your research.

Sage in bloom
Sage in Bloom

Here is a list of some of the herbs that worked best:

  • Thyme
  • Yerba Buena
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Tarragon
  • Red Veined Sorrel
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Onions
  • Wild Garlic
  • Roses
  • Borage
  • Lavender
    • English
    • Spanish
  • Mint
    • Spearmint
    • Mojito
    • Peppermint
Our flower garden.
Our Flower Garden

Most of our yard has is dedicated to native plants or flowers that are good for bees. This gives us flowers nearly year round. The credit for most of the planting is the prior owner who took great care to attract bees and birds. We have tried to follow in her footsteps and have several bumble bee nests throughout our yard as well as lots of honey bees from neighboring hives.

Many of the flowers are perfect for drying but most are not good in flower arrangement because they die too quickly once cut. Here is a great article on the types of flowers in our yard. Even though most of the flowers are native, we still need to care or them and fertilize the beds a few times a year using liquid kelp. The most important thing is to never rip up the flowers after they die. We leave them to assure the seeds will spread for next year’s crop. This does look a little unkept but the next spring will make up for it.

Potions Cabinate
Potion collection

And now our Harry Potter fandom kicks in. Given our growing collection of herbs and dried flowers, we decided to make to our own potion cabinet hidden deep in our basement!

mortar and pestle grinding Herbs
Our well-used mortar and pestle

From our store we craft little bags and jars filled with ground up herbs and flowers as presents.

Bottles of Herbs and Flowers
Herbs ready for cooking

And bottle up our best dried herbs to be used in our cooking!

Happy planting!