Not every gardener grows herbs for salad or stew. Charlotte Mathey's herb garden in the village of Sconset is a stunning example of one that is primarily decorative. Beautiful, neat, and self-contained, her symmetrically grouped plantings, both common and unusual - from tarragon, thyme, and rosemary to rue, germander, Chinese lanterns, and much more - dazzle all visitors to her Nantucket Island home.
I spent part of a morning helping her gardener weed around the sundial in the center of the garden and throughout each of the teardrop-shaped herb beds that jut out from the sundial like rays from the sun. Everything had to look picture-perfect, I was told, because Sunset Books would be showing up the next day to photograph this garden as well as others on the property.
After Sunset's shoot and a stop at Kimerick Farm, a local supplier of culinary herbs on the other end of the island, a Monitor photographer paid Ms. Mathey's herb garden a visit. It was perhaps the most photographed garden on Nantucket that week.
(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society