Martha's walled former herb garden at Turkey Hill -- a mixture of ornamental, culinary, and medicinal herbs -- was designed in 1991.
Shortly after, she simplified it by limiting her plantings to well-ordered beds of culinary herbs.
Consequently, all summer and into the fall, she could cut fresh sprigs of basil, tarragon, oregano, or parsley to use in her favorite marinades, salads, sauces, and pestos.
Before planting the herbs, Martha reset the edging, regraded the gravel paths, and enriched the soil with sand, loam, and compost. She planted Italian basil, such as 'Genovese,' toward the front of the bed in a triangular pattern -- taller plants, including catnip, are planted in the center.
Basil, called the "royal herb" by ancient Greeks, is a member of the mint family. To promote bushy growth and to prevent it from going to seed, Martha snipped the leaves constantly and cut off any emerging flower heads.
Along the edges of the garden bed, Martha liked to plant beautiful and practical plants such as Origanum vulgare 'Aureum' -- a variety of golden oregano with golden-green leaves and pink flowers, which provided a nice contrast to the dark green of the basil.
Oregano prefers a warm, full-sun, and fast-draining spot in the garden along with space to spread -- about a foot or so across.