Themed herbal gardens can be family fun

Rob Zimmer

It’s the perfect time to start planning an edible and useful herb garden at home. With a huge collection of tasty and aromatic herbs to choose from, starting your own herb garden right at home has never been easier.

Growing herbs is easy, and many of the best herbs for cooking and using in other methods are very versatile, requiring only bright light and relatively dry conditions to thrive. You can grow herbs right in the garden, as well as in containers on the porch, patio or throughout the landscape.

Many herbs can also be grown right indoors under grow lights or in sunrooms or bright sunny windows.

An herb garden is also a great way to introduce children or grandchildren to the hobby of gardening. Herbs can be grown in theme gardens that are fun and delicious. Create a pizza-themed garden using oregano, onions, chives and other tasty herbs. You can also create a salsa garden. Mint gardens are fun and creative, and mints can be used in so many fun ways. An herbal alphabet garden can also be a fun project for the whole family.

Herb starters can be picked up at most garden centers, and many herbs grow well from seed even in their first year.

Dill, as well as its cousin, fennel, are not only delicious and tasty herbs to grow in the garden, but they also provide a great deal of beauty in the herb garden. Their textures and colors mix well with other herbs and annual flowers to create a stunning herbal tapestry.

With so many varieties of delicious and flavorful mints to choose from, creating a mint garden is a fun and tasty exploration. There are chocolate mints, orange mints, apple mints, grapefruit mints, spearmint, peppermint, Mojito mint and so many more to choose from. Mints are fun to grow and very useful in dishes, as garnishes, as well as tasty additions to create tasty and refreshing smoothies, teas, coolers and flavored waters.

Chives are a staple of every herb garden and there are so many uses for these wonderful and delicious perennial herbs. Dried or fresh, chives make a great addition to many recipes, as well as offering protection as a repellent against small animal pests and some insect pests. The flowers also attract pollinators to your garden, beneficial in pollinating garden vegetable crops.

A herb garden isn’t complete without fragrant, tasty oregano. There are many varieties of oregano to choose from, all of which make wonderful additions to the herb garden. When selecting oregano, be aware that some varieties are annual, while others are perennial here in our area.

Another herb garden staple, basil comes in a wide variety of beautiful foliage types, colors and fragrances. There are the deep purple and red ruffled basils, the large-leaf classic basil, cinnamon basil, lemon basil and so many more. Basil is also a wonderful companion plant for tomatoes in the garden.

A wonderful and nonstop perennial herb, garlic has unlimited use in recipes, as well as in canning and cooking and so much more. Garlic is also easy to grow once it is established in the garden and provides a wealth of benefits.

Beautiful and tasty sorrel adds color and texture to the herb garden, as well as a tasty addition to soups, salads and other dishes. Several striking varieties are available.

There are multiple uses of this wonderful, lemony-scented grass, both culinary and practical. Lemongrass is one of the plants known to repel mosquitoes from the yard and garden, and many gardeners grow pots of lemongrass to move around the garden to keep mosquitoes away. Like many of these herbs, lemongrass can be cut back and brought indoors for the winter season and grown all winter long.

An unusual and fun herb to grow, horseradish features the classical spicy flavored root that can be harvested each year and used in a variety of ways.

An increasing number of gardeners in our area are growing hops used in creating home brews, as well as other uses, both culinary and practical. Hops are a perennial vine and require quite a bit of space to sprawl and climb.

Beautiful and useful in the garden, the rich blue flowers of borage last all summer long and are wonderful for attracting pollinators to the garden as well as enriching the soil and providing a number of other benefits.

A herb garden would not be complete without berries such as blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, currants and more. Be sure to include a few perennial berry shrubs and plants in your garden to provide a feast throughout the growing season.

Classic lavender has many wonderful uses and is a great herb to grow in our area. There are both annual varieties of lavender and perennial varieties, so be sure to pick the one you are most interested in.

Lavender is an excellent culinary herb and has many great uses in baking, cooking and creating wonderful hot and cold drinks. Lavender is also wonderful for repelling insect and mammal pests from the garden.

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