One of my favorite early morning activities is to walk through my garden. The plants are still moist from the night air and the fragrance floating on the breeze is heavenly. As I walk past my herb bed I like to run my hands over the various plants to help release even more of those wonderful smells. Herbs add so much value to your garden. All sorts of bees and butterflies enjoy the nectar of the herbs when the plants are in bloom. I also enjoy bringing herb cutting into the house as part of bouquets and certainly herbs provide many culinary uses.
I would like to share 8 of my tried and true herbs, many that I have grown for years. Some are perennials that come back year after year while others need to be planted annually. A few can be invasive so be careful where you plant them.
This is my all time favorite herb. I usually try to plant a large amount so that I can freeze enough to last me all winter long. There are many varieties of basil and each year I try a new type for fun. However, I always plant regular basil in large quantities. This year I am trying a new Lime Basil that has a fresh, citrus taste that I can’t wait to try with tomatoes.
This is a perennial that can actually survive colder winters. Rosemary has a robust flavor that pairs well with meats and vegetables. It also makes a great garnish.
This is another long lived perennial that can be useful in foods and beverages. It also will continue to remain fresh during the winter months and I frequently use it to make my Sage, Honey and Lemon Tea.
Cilantro is an annual plant that is easy to grow and will reseed each year if you allow the seeds to drop. It is actually 2 wonderful herbs. First, it is a great herb that adds a vibrant taste to salsas and mexican foods. I also add it to salads and marinades. Cilantro grows easily from seeds which you can sow directly into the soil. When the temperatures warm up it has a tendency to bolt, that is it begins to flower. Once this happens the plant will stop producing edible branches. My solution is to frequently cut off the flower tips to keep the plant producing. I also reseed every few weeks to keep that cilantro growing all summer. Once the plant does go to seed you can save the seeds to replant next year or use them in recipes that call for coriander. That is the second bonus you get from cilantro.
This herb has a mild onion like taste. It’s use goes beyond the baked potato topping. You can add it to scrambled eggs, casseroles and salads. You can also chop it up and freeze it for year round convenience.
Oregano is actually a perennial that will continue coming back year after year once it is established. You certainly can use it in Italian cooking but I actually like to use the flowers in my bouquets. Bees are especially fond of these flowers. A word of warning…this herb is very prolific and will easily reseed everywhere. I usually try to remove the spent flowers before they have a chance to drop many seeds.
This is another one of those somewhat invasive herbs but I love adding it to my iced tea in the summer so I put up with it’s spread. Actually, since it doesn’t reseed it is easy to remove it. Just yank up the long trailers to prevent it from spreading. Do not compost those pieces of mint because they can spread elsewhere in your garden.
This is another favorite of mine. Lavender is a perennial that returns year after year. There are so many uses for lavender including flower stalks for bouquets and seeds for enjoying in foods and beauty products. I wish lavender would reseed as prolifically as some of the other herbs because I would have it everywhere in my garden not just the herb bed.
Every summer I work on improving my herb bed, making room for new plants and cherishing the ones I have. I hope that you will consider adding a few of these 8 herbs into your garden. Many of them will grow well in pots if you don’t have a specific area to plant herbs in. You too will soon be able to enjoy that lovely fragrance as you walk through your garden in the early morning hours.