Plant Your Herb Garden

There are many different types of herbs which can be grown easily and are also very popular for gardens. They include herbs such as Basil, Parsley, Mint and Sage. Herbs are very beneficial plants as they provide us medicines, flavors for food and some fantastic fragrances.

Herbs don’t need to be grown in a garden of their own. You can tuck herb plants anywhere in your existing beds and borders. But there are times you’ll want to have certain herbs handy for harvesting or you’ll need a large space to plant the herbs you’ll need in large quantities. However you choose to plant your herbs, keep in mind that herbs can be rampant plants. Many spread by seed and by runners. The iconic four-square herb garden can be very high maintenance and a knot garden takes ongoing dedication.


Where to Plant Your Herb Garden

Pick a sunny spot, but try to keep your herb garden near the kitchen, so you’ll be tempted to step outside and grab what you need while cooking. Of course, if you’re growing herbs other than for culinary use or if you’re growing large batches of herbs to preserve or dry at the end of the season, kitchen proximity may not be a concern.

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How Large Should Your Herb Garden Be?

The obvious answer is, “Large enough to grow all the plants you want or need.” Culinary herbs don’t take a great deal of space. Because you cut only what you need, a couple of plants can suffice for the season. The question of space is more dependant on how much variety you want and how many of the herbs are perennial.

However, if you are growing to dry or freeze herbs, you’ll want more plants. And if you are growing for some other purpose, such as making dyes or potpourri, you’ll need very large plantings.

A final consideration is whether you will be devoting an entire garden to herbs or interplanting them with other plants in your existing gardens.

herb-garden

Planting a Formal Herb Garden

Formal herb gardens look gorgeous – at least during their peak season of May through June. The structure of the garden helps to cover the straggly appearance of overgrown, recently sheared or bolting herbs.

Generally, formal herb gardens are laid out as a series of beds creating some geometric form, like a square, circle or half-circle. The plants will vary in each bed, but the hardscaping pulls things together as a whole. Paths between the beds are often paved with stone or brick, adding even more 4 season structure to the picture. Add a central feature, like a sundial, urn or birdbath, and you have a garden that will look polished even when the plants are covered in snow.

Theme gardens are popular with herb gardeners. Themes such as color, scent or variations of a particular herb can easily be incorporated into the separate beds.

herbs-outdoor

Some gardeners prefer to group perennial herbs separate from the annual herbs. Just like in the flower garden, the perennials will spread and develop over time. You can fill in open spaces with annual herbs, but you don’t want to be disturbing the soil around them every time you start new annual plants. And if you allow the annual herbs to self-seed, you are going to have some editing to do, once the perennial herbs start to fill in.

Annual herbs, kept in their own section of the garden, can be varied every year and also planted in succession through the summer.

How To Use Herbs?

Culinary herbs are probably the most useful to herb gardeners. They have a huge range of different uses in cooking. Because of their strong flavors, herbs like chives, thyme, basil, sage, savory, and marjoram are generally used in small quantities to add flavor to different types of food. Parsley is an extremely popular herb that is used mostly as a garnish. Aromatic herbs have pleasant smelling flowers or foliage. Oils from aromatic herbs like loyage, mint, and rosemary can be used to make different types of perfumes, toilet water, or other various scents. Parts of aromatic herb plants used intact can also be used in the home to scent linens or clothing. They can also be dried and made into potpourri which will enable them to be able to retain their aroma for a long period of time. Lavender and lemon verbena are great herbs to use for potpourri.

lavender-garden lemon-verbena-garden

Some herbs are also used for medicinal purposes. For centuries herbs have been thought to have the ability to cure the body. Present medical knowledge recognizes that some herbs are beneficial to one’s health, others are overrated. Herbs used for medicinal purposes should be used carefully. Some herbs are harmless but others can be dangerous if eaten.

Some herbs are not used for their flavor, power to heal or fragrance. Some herbs are also used for their beauty. Ornamental herbs have brightly colored flowers and foliage. Many have whitish or various light colored flowers like valerian which has crimson blossoms and borage and chicory which grow gorgeous blue flowers.

While herbs can be categorized into these different categories of uses, many herbs have multiple purposes. For example, mint may be used for cooking, tea, and pest control. Whatever the reason you have an interest in herbs, by understanding herb garden plants you are able to pick the herbs that will be most useful to you.

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