Il nostro laghetto delle erbe – what if your water garden could also grow wonderful herbs to flavor breakfast, lunch, and cakes for autumn tea?
Creating un laghetto – a tiny pond – is amongst my favorite projects in the garden. You don’t need much space to create your edible garden pond, we don’t have that either because gardens in Venice are rather structured, consisting of a courtyard, terraces and rooftop terraces. Often, these parts of a garden are connected by wrought-iron stairs which creates an interesting gardenscape benefiting from several “climate zones”: Sunny, exposed to wind and rain, or moist and grassy.
In our garden, we have two small ponds in the courtyard, un pozzo (Venetian well), and another water basin is located on the terrace in a corner which the sun rays almost never reach. This is the realm of water cress and water mint.
This small basin has become the home of our herbs loving the shade and water. Some herbs come from the Dolomiti mountains (Lina used to spend many summers in Auronzo di Cadore, and she loves experimenting with mountain herbs). And now, they thrive here in this cool corner of the garden, next to a mossy flower bed under a mighty wisteria.
Water gardens in containers are easy to build, and in Venice, we use terracotta pots. So easy to build a tiny water garden for your herbs within a few hours. Or, if you already have a pond, you could create some space for edible herbs loving water.
Use simple garden turf in which you plant two favorite herbs in the northern Mediterranean garden: nasturzio officinale = Crescione d’acqua – water cress (yes, we love that too in Venice) and menta acqua – water mint.
Water mint has a habit of spilling, that is, “leaving its pot” and growing roots in what seems an uninhabitable space for a water-loving plants. Our mint loves climbing up the brickstone facade of the house, and up onto the sun-exposed terrace. One never knows what will happen, but the plant is growing lush so far :-)
On the other hand, the water cress remains in its basin and loves floating on the surface. We use water cress to season summer salads and garnish tomato-cinnamon bruschetta (we use cinnamon in summer to enhance the flavor to tomatoes – old Venetian secret!)
The mint is great to make a drink called acqua alla menta – refreshing water mint water, so refreshing in summer!
Would you like to learn more about gardens in Venice? Download our e-guide: ONE DAY IN VENICE – EXPLORING THE SECRET GARDENS!