ALL is not as it may appear in my beds.

A patch of what is at first blush wide-bladed rye grass is not and the rosemary bush will never be tall and straggly like most of its kind for it is a dwarf - not given the recognition it deserves.

The ‘grass’ is, in fact, a clump of garlic chives I grew from seed a couple of years ago.

It, like the dwarf rosemary is ideally suited to a sunny or lightly shaded spot site and will thrive, like all herbs, in a container where both look very attractive.

Isle of Wight County Press: Mint - great in mojitos.Mint - great in mojitos. (Image: Richard Wright.)

Simply harvest chives regularly to keep fresh leaves coming. You can also make new plants every few years by dividing established clumps in spring.

Chives are also highly decorative, producing mauve pompom flowers in late spring and summer that are nectar rich.

The mild onion-flavoured leaves are used raw, finely chopped and scattered over salads and soups, fish dishes and baked potatoes

Another plant in disguise is mint, not the traditional accompaniment to new potatoes, but an import from Morocco where its pungent taste flavours their traditional tea, made almost pleasant with a shedload of sugar.

Personally, I prefer it in a Mojito, or two...

Top Tips for gardening on the Isle of Wight

  • Plant shallots, onion sets and garlic.
  • Look out for signs of pests and diseases. Early prevention is easier than curing an infestation. Ants are a particular problem at this time of year, often establishing colonies in containers.
  • Remove dirt from your paths and paving before summer arrives. Use a pressure washer or stiff broom.
  • Sow beetroot, carrots, Swiss chard, summer cauliflower, kohl rabi, lettuce, leeks, radish, turnip, spring onions, peas and perpetual spinach outdoors in well-prepared soil.
  • Sow marrows, courgettes, pumpkins, squash, sweet peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, aubergines, celery, celeriac, salads and globe artichokes indoors.
  • Sow dwarf French beans and sweet corn outside under cloches or fleece at the end of the month or in the greenhouse in pots now.
  • Sow a seedbed of brassicas to provide sprouting broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages for planting out in the summer
  • Transplant broad beans grown in pots to the veg patch

Isle of Wight County Press: Rosemary. Rosemary. (Image: Richard Wright.)

I was gifted the mint by an allotment chum down at Sandlands and I brought some back to my new veg patch in the meadow when I gave up the plots.

It really belongs in a container because even if you surround it with slates deeply dug into the soil it WILL find a way out and seem to spread like wildfire almost overnight.

One benefit is that its small white flowers in summer are very attractive to bees and other pollinators.

Another prolific spreader – once you have one plant you will have many more - is lemon balm, which propagates by its many seeds and can be used to make tea and in cooking.

Herbs – excepting lemon balm, which gets big - really are cost-effective when you look at the price of a clump or small pot of probably short-lived herbs at the supermarket.

Simple to grow and needing very little maintenance they can provide useful decoration to the smallest space whether it be the plot, a windowsill, balcony or patio.

Isle of Wight County Press: Chives.Chives. (Image: Richard Wright.)