People grow herbs primarily for culinary purposes, but also for cosmetic, household, and medicinal uses. If you’d like to grow edible herbs for your health, think about which herbs you would use in cooking and baking. Maybe you’d like to brew mint tea, or you enjoy Mexican food with plenty of cilantro. How about parsley potatoes? Dilled cucumbers? Tomatoes sprinkled with fresh basil?
As with any new garden, start small, then expand by adding new herbs each year. Some herbs are annuals and must be replaced each year, and others are perennial. A few perennials may become a nuisance if they’re not contained. (Mints are notorious for this.) Most herb gardens contain both types. Check to see which perennial herbs are appropriate for your hardiness zone. If your favourite herb isn’t hardy in your region, grow it as an annual and replace it each year. You could also dig it up at the end of the season, plant it in a container, keep it in a sunny window all winter, and plant it outdoors again the following spring. Some popular annual herbs for gardens are basil, cilantro/coriander, dill, and parsley (technically a biennial). Favourite perennials include chives, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and French tarragon.
I love basil for its fragrance and versatility. I cook with it and use it fresh as a garnish and in salads and drinks. Basil also makes a great tea for a tummy ache. Too bad it’s not a perennial.
Time for thyme
My favourite herb is thyme. It’s very useful in the kitchen, comes in several flavours, and makes a nice ground cover in a rock garden. I love to walk through the garden, brush through the thyme, and fill the air with its aroma.
I grow a large rosemary plant in a container on my patio. I use this herb often in cooking, especially on salmon. I also use rosemary water on my long hair to make it more shiny. I put a few sprigs in a cup of hot water and let it steep. When it cools, I put the water in a spray bottle and use it in the shower when I wash my hair.
I enjoy chives because they are easy to grow, the plants last for years, and I can use them in a variety of recipes.
I plant lavender everywhere because it’s very drought tolerant and it smells delicious when you brush against it.
My favourite herb to grow is catnip. I like the way it smells, and I use it in tea. It’s a little taste of the garden for my three indoor cats‹they can’t resist it.
I plant chocolate mint in its own garden bed so it can spread at will. I use it to brew coffee: I add 1 to 2 teaspoon of dried mint to my two scoops of coffee for a wonderfully flavoured and scented cup of coffee every morning. The best thing about it is that it doesn’t have any added calories!