The Herb Garden

by Daisy on 04/16/2011

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Since our space is limited, I can include only the vegetables, fruit, and herbs we love and use a lot.

If I had a ton of space I might become more of a collector, trying out exotic vegetables and, especially, more and more herbs.

I have the basic perennials:

rosemary

thyme

oregano

marjoram

lavender

sage

peppermint

The basic annuals:  basil, cilantro, Italian parsley, and dill, none ready for the camera yet.

And recently I’ve been beefing up my “tea herbs,” such as anise hyssop, bee balm, and my latest, lemon verbena.

I’ve heard lemon verbena is one of the most “lemony” of the herbs.

As far as I’m concerned, you can’t get lemony enough.

I have no idea how something that’s not a lemon smells like lemon, or lime, or pineapple, or chocolate or –I saw (and smelled) a banana mint yesterday.  I almost got it, too, but decided to quit while I was ahead.  I’ve had “scented” mints before, and because I didn’t remove all the blossoms they cross-bred and eventually ended up not smelling like what they were supposed to.

I see a lot of catnip in the stores these days, but I learned my lesson about that.  The year I planted catnip we were overrun with stray cats, including one which laid down and died in our driveway, no visible sign of trauma or illness.  I walked outside and there was a cat I’d never seen before, on its side like it was asleep, dead as a doornail.  I hope it got a good roll in the catnip before it went, poor thing.

No more catnip for me.

I’ve planted seed of roselle (no sprouts yet), and I have some baby borage seedlings for the first time, hoping to find some new favorites.

What are your favorite herbs?



{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Bobbi April 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

My ALL time favorite herb is THYME! I love the smell and I love to cook with it.
Thanks for the pictures, they are great.

Jessica April 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm

It’s awful of me to be laughing, I know, but the cat in the driveway story just cracked me up. I’ll learn from your experience and NOT try catnip this year. Oh, I have pyrethrum daisy in my herb garden area, ostensibly for me to use in homemade pesticides, but I’ve never actually done it.

Jenny April 16, 2011 at 5:35 pm

I planted borage for the first time last year. Grows big with lovely blue flowers. Came back this year on its own. Have NO idea what to do with it, but it’s pretty.

Heather April 16, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I love growing borage, and have been for a couple of years now. The herbs I use the most in my cooking, teas, etc are:

Garlic Chives (we eat the flower buds in stir fry, yum)
Lemon Balm
Borage
Thyme
Sage
Basil (Lemon, Thai, Cinnamon, seriously, any funky basil I can find is fair game)

Portia McCracken April 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Like Bobbi, I love them all but I especially like to plant chervil and summer & winter savory, all of which is somewhat hard to find, especially chervil.

When I have all the herbs for it, I love to make a fresh herbes de provence mixture to coat whatever meat I’m grilling. It is so good, even better than using the dry mixture, which is awesome. You can even save the stripped stems to dry, for adding to the fire for smoking a later meal.

JavaLady62 April 16, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I currently have a lovely pot of rosemary again, after losing a three year old plant to the snow this year. Also have two fluffy pots of very happy peppermint and sweet basil. I’ve been cooking with all of those, regularly for years. Am planning to try some mint in the iced tea tomorrow. LOL I can not seem to get thyme to stay alive though I like it. Also, have some onions already growing. My next project is to plant some garlic. I still want to get some tomatoes going too so that i can make some spaghetti sauce this year. I don’t think I’ll go for peppers or a salsa garden this year. Happy Gardening every one !

JavaLady62 April 16, 2011 at 7:10 pm

PS My chives survived the snow but the rosemary did not. Go figure.

Alice April 16, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Jenny watch out for the borage — it dominated our garden for something like a decade.

I felt rather evil laughing at the poor cat and I know it isn’t funny. I found a dead cat in the backyard — but mine looked like it had been hit by a flying brick.

Ginny April 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm

What beautiful pictures, I’m burning with herb-envy right now. I tried starting parsley, thyme, and sage from seed and only my thyme came up. I want an herb garden so much and as I build it up some of my must-haves are apple mint (it’s pretty), spearmint, rosemary, thyme, dill, and…oh heck, I can’t think of any I don’t want. *sigh*

jan April 17, 2011 at 5:45 am

I love, love, love fresh parsley. I have to have some every year. Also rosemary, chives and sweet basil. I had lemon balm one year, made a beautiful bush of lemony smelling leaves. I was told by an old timer that if you crushed the leaves and rubbed them on arms and legs, it kept the mosquitoes away. Not sure if it worked or not, but we all smelled good.

Martha April 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

I cannot get enough of cilantro. It gets out of hand quickly though. One plant is plenty!

Janice Rehmeyer April 17, 2011 at 10:45 am

Hi, Reading a recent magazine, just wondering if your name is Daisy and you wrote a article about Fairy Gardens in Birds and Bloom Extra. Might have to give it a try. Loved the article.

Tomato Lady April 17, 2011 at 12:35 pm

Janice–Yes, that’s me. They’re a lot of fun. Between the cute little succulents and the tiny accessories it’s sort of addictive. Glad you liked the article, thank you!

Stephanie April 17, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Well — first I’m really jealous that have a climate that lets your rosemary grow and be huge like that. Here in Minnesota, we have to plant it every year.

How about Bay leaf? I never seem to have enough. We also planted lemon grass one year and loved it.

Kathy April 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I have not un-mulched my herbs from last year, I hope to find rosemary, oregano, chives, & thyme under there.

We had a problem with voles last spring (outside, not in) so I planted catnip around the compost, it was gone in a week (I started with plants, not seeds). We got rid of vole homes and they haven’t come back (that and our neighbors baited and poisoned them).

My peppermint and spearmint that survived last year are starting to come back (I did not mulch them).

I dream of one of those fancy english gardens with tons of herbs…sigh.

Kathy April 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Learned my lesson with the cat nip too. The strays almost destroyed it and my inside cats had a fit watching all the cats outside! I put a milk crate over it and it grew up through the crate, but the cats just pruned off everything that dared to grow outside the crate. I can’t have enough mint (mojitos) or basil.

Melody April 19, 2011 at 8:45 am

Hi, I just wanted to drop and note and tell you that I am REALLY enjoying your blog. I have been (excitedly) following for the last month or two. Thanks so much for the efforts and the GORGEOUS pictures. My first garden (out of containers) is entering Escrow today and I am collecting knowledge like crazy! Cannot WAIT to get started 🙂

Jessie April 19, 2011 at 11:01 am

I just started lemon grass for this year, I’m interested to see how it does. I think I’m going to try and grow catnip under our deck to see if it will deter the woodchucks. We have a plethora of local cats around our yard anyhow, so planting some catnip won’t make a lot of difference!

I love lemon balm in my tea – but be careful because it can spread if it decides it likes your garden.

Tami April 19, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I love your blog and your pictures.

My favorite herbs are:

Lemon Balm – good for sleeping
Dill – just good
Peppermint – tea
Spearmint – tea
Catnip – no dead kitties, but very happy house cats
Lemon grass – chicken
Lavender – just good
Grapefruit mint – tea
Purple Basil – best taste ever
Fever few – migraine
Chamomille – sleep & migraine

allotments 4 you April 22, 2011 at 11:50 pm

The only herb I DON’T like is coriander…but so far i love everything else I have come across. I lost a few in the cold of last winter and need to replace bay-leaf, rosemary and fennel….although I love fennel I don’t use it much in cooking so this will be the last to be re-placed. A little remodeling at the allotment means i have a bigger herb patch now so the wheels are turning on what to get!!

Rhonda D. April 25, 2011 at 3:50 pm

What great pictures of all your herbs! Well gee, I like everything herbal. As I’ve gotten older I only grow the stuff we really love and use. Favorite herb ever? Rosemary- I’m sure it’s an illness, but I love growing it, petting it and making topiaries with it. I probably need a support group for that one. Most useful herb? Sage wins hands down for colds, nettle for hay fever- but it’s probably not great to grow around very little people 🙂
Favorite lemonys? Lemon verbena and Lemon balm. Mints…well I just like them all 🙂

caitlinvb April 27, 2011 at 10:48 am

Borage is great! If you ever make homemade pasta you can really impress someone by pressing a flower between the layers as you fold and pass it through the roller the final time … it looks like a little blue star!

I gave up on lemon balm and every year try to rip as much out as I can – I didn’t contain it and it has TAKEN OVER. I get a bunch whether I want it or not…

Sarah J May 31, 2011 at 7:06 am

Just found this website, consider me addicted!
I love this article… I needed a little boost of motivation to add a little variety to my small container garden this year. My “herb garden” consists of rosemary, thyme, dill and lavender in pretty 10 gallon pots that I can move inside during the winter. I love having fresh herbs year round. I feel that if you’re going to have house plants, they might as well be edible 🙂

rhonda March 25, 2012 at 8:13 am

Love this site! I am going to try a herb garden on my deck. What herbs are good for direct sunlight? I have no shade in the backyard. Also are there herbs that work well together in medium to large pots? I am going to try my lemongrass again, however is that a herb that has to be replanted every year? I have a piece of lavender that my mom broke off and I hope will root. Any suggestions or advice…I am so not a green thumb..lol

Tomato Lady March 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm

rhonda–Thank you! Most herbs like sunny locations. They also generally do well in pots, too. Just remember to keep them watered well. Good choices would be annuals like basil, parsley, dill, and cilantro as well as perennials like rosemary, sage,thyme, and oregano. Chives are also very reliable. As a rule, annuals are easier than perennials to grow from seeds, so you are probably best off buying plants of the perennials. Lemongrass doesn’t take a freeze, but you can overwinter it inside. I hope your lavender will root, too. I’ve never tried it. Many people have good luck with growing lavender (even if I don’t!). I understand it needs to be planted in a very well-drained spot to thrive. I hope you have a great summer with your deck garden!

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