I have had my eye for quite a few years on some standard bay trees in the shape of a globe, but unfortunately could not afford the sum of £50 per tree. Marks and Spencers have recently had in some Rosemary Standard trees at £15 each,but even that is still a little expensive.
Two years ago I found myself in possession of some straggly bay leaf plants that had more in height than in breadth, so I set too and split them up and ended up with about 8 separate plants, tied to a stick with some soft string. Although I am a novice gardener, somehow instinct came into play and I am through trial and error managing to achieve what I set out to do. Nothing ventured nothing gained. I have fed and nurtured the saplings, and very slowly my plants are starting to develop, it takes quite a few years for these to achieve a sustainable size. Mine are still in the early throes of this procedure and this last winter I have lost about three of the saplings but the others have survived. They are now going to get fed with the home made nettle feed I have made in the past few weeks, so hopefully this season they will make lots of new growth.
I have recently seen Standard Marguerites, Rosemary and Lavender so I may well have a go at these also to see if I can achieve the same results with these as I have with the bay. I also thought if I managed to achieve this that it would be a good present to give to friends, just for a little time and effort and it certainly would be a lot cheaper than buying from the shops.
The general instructions I followed are:
Choose your subject woody stemmed herbs such as thyme, sage, rosemary and lavender. Wait for the stem of the plant to become "woody" and there is an obvious leader. Using a sharp pair of secateurs trim off all the lower side shoots. Tie the stem to a bamboo stake using soft string so that it will not damage the stem. Continue to trim off any side shoots that appear and let the top develop. As the top grows keep it trimmed to shape.
Remember this project comes with a PATIENCE WARNING things have to be allowed to take their time but this will pay dividends in the long run.