Herbs are among
some of the easiest plants to grow. Herbs can be grown in the garden, in
containers and indoors. They just ask for sun, water and well-drained soil with
a pH of 6.5-7. Some herbs will even tolerate shady conditions with less than
ideal soil. The hardest part about herb gardening is deciding which herbs to
plant. Herbs have a very long history starting well over 5000 years ago. Every
source of information has a slightly different definition of an herb. I like to
think of them as plants that are useful to people. They are generally
classified as aromatic, medicinal, culinary and ornamental. Many fit into
aromatic herbs such as lavender and mint are used to add fragrance to perfumes
and candles. Entire gardens are planted with aromatic herbs to enjoy the scents
and have ingredients for sachets and potpourris.
Herbs have been
used for medicinal purposes since ancient times. Aloe Vera has a long history
of treating burns and garlic juice has been used as an antiseptic, but caution
is advised. It is imperative that herbs listed as medicinal be correctly
identified and their use understood because some can be dangerous.
are what most commonly come to mind when people hear the word “herb” or “erb”.
Technically both pronunciations are correct. In the United
States the “h” is usually silent, while in Europe the “h” sound is pronounced. Without culinary herbs our food would be
incredibly bland. Basil, parsley, dill and chives are very popular culinary
herbs. The more these plants are pinched back and used the more growth they
produce. This should be done often because herbs can become bitter if allowed
to get leggy and go to seed.
can be in any of previously mentioned categories. They are grown for their
beauty as well as other purposes. They add color, texture and fragrance to the
garden. Some excellent examples are ‘Golden Lemon’ thyme, bronze fennel
‘Purpureum’, purple basil ‘Purple delight’ and tricolor sage ‘salvia
There are many
reasons to grow herbs. Cooking ingredients, aroma and ornamental value are just
a few. Herbs can be incorporated in existing flower or vegetable gardens or
planted in a more traditional garden reserved exclusively for herbs. Either
way, herbs of all kinds are wonderful assets in any garden space.