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An Herb Primer

by gardengirl

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Parsley bloom
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Growing herbs is easy!

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Herbs are wonderful plants to incorporate into the home garden or landscape and the possibilities are endless. Herbs can be used as a border, grown in large or small containers, planted in rock gardens, or some like thyme can be used as a low hedge. Many herbs like English lavendermint, oregano, rosemary and thyme are perennials. Find a variety you love and a location you like because those plants will stick around for quite awhile. Keep in mind when planting that all varieties of mint (apple, chocolate, orange, peppermint, etc.) are invasive, so you will want to contain the plant by either growing it in a container or planting in a self contained bed where you don’t mind if it takes over.  Other herbs like basil, fennel and cilantro (cool weather) are annuals and will only last a growing season.

Herbs are pleasing to many of the senses – beautiful to the eye because of foliage and bloom, pleasing to the palate because of the scent and taste and often even pleasing to touch like the fuzzy leaves of sage and the soft leaves of lavender. Useful for cooking, I love sending my kids out to the garden to gather herbs to use in the kitchen. I dream  of having a dedicated herb garden, but until then my herbs grow here and there – in the vegetable garden and across the landscape. This year I am growing the following herbs: basil, fennel (already host to the black swallowtail butterfly), lavender, lemon verbena (absolutely my favorite), Mexican mint marigold (a substitute for tarragon), oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage (bee magnet in full bloom), spearmint (a gift from a neighbor 9 years ago, goes in my tea), and thyme. I use them fresh while it’s warm and also dry them for the winter. Other herbs that grow well in our area include: sorrel, lemon grass, garlic, chives, bay laurel and scented geraniums.  Give growing herbs a try – you will be glad you did.

 

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Herbs kitchen garden

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