Gardening With Herbs

Want to add spice to your garden this year? Planting herbs in your garden and landscape contributes more edibles to each seasons harvest. Perennial, annual or biennial, gardening with herbs brings tasty rewards!

Whether you want culinary herbs for cooking or herbs for making tea, gardening with herbs can be a real joy. Herbs have so many uses. Flavor soups or spice up other meals. Add them to homemade soaps, room freshening pouches or you can use along with flowers in floral design. Many herbs have medical qualities too!

Dill is gorgeous in floral arrangements!

Perennial Herbs

When you purchase a perennial herb plant, you are likely going to have it for many years to come. Herbs such a oregano, chives and mint, once planted will probably take up permanent residence in your garden. Planted in the wrong places these can quickly become invasive. If you want to control them more effectively, cut flowers after bloom so the plants don’t go to seed.

Peppermint is a hardy perennial herb.

Planting herbs such as mint in a pot, then planting the pot, can contain it from turning into a sprawling mess. Oregano easily creeps its way through the garden bed if left unattended. Creeping thyme is wonderful for establishing between pathway stones and rock work.

Thyme blooming providing food for bees!

Sage, lavender and culinary thyme can become great structural plants in the herb garden or elsewhere. These all have a woody stemmed base and should not be cut down. They are usually drought tolerant and hardy once established. Use perennial herbs in a dedicated herb garden or intersperse them throughout your herbaceous borders.

Lavender has many places in the garden.

Annual Herbs

More tender herb plants may include basil, parsley, cilantro and dill. With the exception of parsley, these herbs are not likely to survive a frost and generally need replanting yearly. When properly used, these potent herbs can produce all summer long in most northern climates. Rosemary, although not an annual, is a woody evergreen that is hardy in zone 8. If you live outside of this area, rosemary must be brought inside for the winter. I usually manage to kill every rosemary that crosses my threshold. I keep trying though!

Basil is so prolific!

Parsley is actually a biennial herb. Parsley can be wintered over in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse when given an extra layer of protection. Floating row cover is very helpful in making sure parsley survives the winter. Wintered parsley often goes to seed, so use it through the winter months. Do you prefer flat leaf or curly parsley?

Hardy parsley plants!

Plant herbs in your perennial herb garden or grow along with vegetables. Garden herbs are well suited to container growing and can be grown in window boxes or pots. By placing containers of herbs on the deck, the need for a garden is eliminated. Mix with annual flowers for a stunning summer look.

Basil is great in containers! Photo by L. Labree

For The Bees

Humans aren’t the only ones who love garden herbs. Bees and other pollinators benefit from flowering herbs. Some favorites are basil, borage oregano, hyssop and lavender. By adding a variety of herbs to your existing garden, pollinators have more plants to choose from.

Herbs such as Oregano make great bee food.

Seeing all of these lush green pictures is making me want everything to grow right this minute! I really need to be patient. There’s plenty to do before it’s time to be harvesting herbs. Plant a few herbs this garden season. Freeze or dry them for winter use. So many of the herbs and spices we use can be produced at home. Here is a simple herb garden plan for all of you! This plan uses perennial herbs and leaves spaces for annual herbs and beneficial flowers.

A small garden plan mixing annuals with established herbs. Painting by Hilary Mank.

Gardening with herbs makes you more self-sufficient. Once you get started, growing herbs makes cooking with herbs very economical. These herbs mentioned here are the very basics. The world of herbs is truly vast. If you have personal favorites, by all means grow them!

The frogs are croaking here in Maine this week. The ice is leaving our lakes and the gardens have awakened. I thank you so much for reading Everlongardener this week. There is more to come this spring including mason bees and ways to protect yourself in the garden. Sign up to subscribe in the sidebar for all things gardening!



3 thoughts on “Gardening With Herbs”

  1. Herbs are my favorite things to grow. And the flavor of herbs dried at home is so much better than those bought at the store. Those peepers are creating quite a chorus aren’t they? We also have a woodcock buzzing away at night. Happy spring!

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