|Forest & Kim Starr [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons|
An herb garden is that most wonderful combination of things: beautiful, delicious, sustainable and affordable. After years of avoiding recipes that called for fresh herbs because of the cost and mysterious age of those little plastic packets at the grocery store, I have an herb garden of my own. It was originally my goal to have a completely edible garden and I planted rosemary (for height), lavender (for scent), sage (to saute with butter for pasta), golden lemon thyme (for its looks), and chives (in hope of pretty purple blooms). But my plantings looked a bit puny and weren't the vision of glorious abundance that I'd hoped for (though this will change in a few years, I hope). So, after hearing a friend speak about the value of colorful flowers for attracting pollinators, I was sold. There would be flowers and herbs side by side.
For more about herb gardening, visit designing-edible-gardens.com or the National Gardening Association's herb page. A few tips:
- Most herbs like full sun and are perfect for container gardening
- Plant what you'll eat (add herbs to salads, pastas, quiche--I've found those dishes do well with almost any combination of herbs)
- Plant the herbs where they can be easily accessed if you need to grab a handful before dinner
- Basil does well when planted with tomatoes. In hot climates it gets leggy and flowers at summer's end so I think it does better in a vegetable patch than with other herbs