Compiled by Mariola Jakutowicz Fouché Photographs Supplied Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Time: Allée Bleue, a wine estate in the fertile valley of Franschhoek, is also one of the Western Cape’s largest herb growers, now harvesting over 900kg of fresh herbs from its hydroponic tunnels each week after nearly 13 years in the business. The farm supplies major local retailers and intends to branch into the export market. Friday visitors can take a 1.5-hour-long herb tour, led by resident herb expert Lario Moolman, after which you can savour a three-course, herb-inspired lunch (plus a glass of wine). Tickets are R185 a person, and booking is essential. Q&A With Lario Moolman, Allée Bleue’s Herb Production Manager: With a background in agriculture, hydroponics and tunnel farming, Lario has more than a decade’s worth of wisdom in herb production. She shares some herb-gardening tips with us: • Observe where the sun shines in your garden at different times of the day, then decide where to plant sun- or shade-loving herbs. Experiment by planting the same herb type in several corners around your garden. • Hardy rosemary and thyme grow well in poor soil but plants such as parsley and chives require a richer soil. Make sure the bed drains well. • Pick off old leaves to prevent fungal diseases forming. • Harvest herbs early in the morning while they’re still crisp. • In spring, perennial herbs flower like crazy and, if you want to keep harvesting, you’ll have to pinch them off. This helps stimulate the plant to produce more leaves and prevents them becoming woody. • Replace annual herbs such as parsley and coriander with new stock, as flowering signals the end of their life cycle. • Plant plenty of rocket and basil seedlings now for your summer salads. Solo Effort: Clever design has earned awards for Eva Solo’s self-watering flower/herb pot: a glass reservoir supplies water through a nylon wick hanging from the ceramic pot above (R360, yuppiechef.com). Contemporary Cool: Take in that fresh, spring air from the comfort of Gloster’s Nomad outdoor range from Marlanteak. The stylish, generously sized seating blocks (from R16 990) and ottomans (from R12 490 each) are available in solid colours and stripes. This article was originally featured in the September 2013 issue of House and Leisure.