In this section
Herbs the original multipurpose plant that not only looks good, is aromatic and they also attract butterflies and bees.
You could landscape a tiny garden, plant them as the backbone of a first class garden planting scheme such as the Melon Ground in Hercules garden or just simply grow them in various pots on windowsills or patios. All will create a truly vibrant effect and of course you can eat them too!
Sowing annual herbs indoors will ensure that they can be planted out when all risk of frost has gone.
Just fill your pots, tubs or baskets with a good quality peat free compost and treat them the same as you would a bedding plant.
Mint is particularly greedy and a ‘run away’ plant which slowly peters out unless it is moved every few years, after exhausting the soil.
To stop it ‘running away’, confine it to a pot and sink the pot to its rim in the desired position in the ground, repot in the spring with new compost.
Traditional English-style hardy perennials such as Chives, Mint and Tarragon die down in the winter, but in late spring plenty of strong new growth with emerge.
Evergreen Mediterranean herbs such as Rosemaries, Sages, Lavenders and Thymes are technically hardy but they hate having ‘wet feet’. If you haven’t got very well drained soil, work in some gritty sand or dry gravel and plant or place them in pots in a warm, sunny position.
Once you have a well-established herb garden you can then use them for your culinary delights by using them fresh or preserving them. There are many different techniques that can be used;
Drying plants such as Bay leaves, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage and Lavender flowers is an easy as picking small bunches then dip them in boiling water, then freezing cold water, then hang them up to dry in an airy place. When they are dry crumble the crisp leaves from the stems and store in jars.
Freezing soft annual and perennial herbs such as Chives, Tarragon, Mint and Parsley is as easy as washing and chopping the herbs finely, then mash with softened butter to freeze or pack them into ice-cube trays and cover with water.
Flavoured oil with annual aromatics herbs such as Basil, Chervil and Coriander will add flavour to any meal. Pack chopped leaves in screw top jars and fill with a good olive oil and keep in the fridge ready for use.
Or why not make up a pretty sprig of mixed Mediterranean herbs and put them in a bottle of olive oil, this will not only look pretty in your kitchen or even better give it as a great personal gardening gift.
Planting a mixed herb basket as a gift will inevitably be received with delight.
The best feeling in the world is self-gratification when all your ‘green-fingered’ hard work and determination becomes a success.