Herb gardens can be grown indoors or outdoors, and can consist of just a couple plants in pots or a large plot of land. Herbs are commonly used by those who love to cook; just reach over and pluck off some basil or chives and throw it into your dish as an ingredient or a garnish. You can also grow herbs for a touch of natural decor in your home, or to make aromatherapy oils.
Rosemary is used world-wide in cooking, medicine and aromatherapy. Rosemary grows into a mini-shrub, with extending, flexible woody branches that bear light to dark green narrow leaves. Its strong evergreen aroma is often extracted for oils. Rosemary can be chopped up fresh or used dry, and added to savory dishes like beef stews, pot pie, or mixed with bread crumbs to become a crust for fish or chicken. This herb, when diced finely, can be sprinkled onto cheese plates, crackers, dips and sauces. In the medical field it is used as a tonic or stimulant, relieving headaches, respiratory problems and stomach problems. Once planted in good-quality potting soil, slow-growing rosemary needs minimal watering and very little care to flourish. Climbing rosemary is an ideal variety of rosemary for those who want to cover an area of ground, as it grows outward in runners and features small purple flowers.
Basil has a sweet flavor and only requires simple maintenance to thrive. Basil grows in bunches with flat, silky leaves that range from light to medium-dark green. Add this herb chopped up fresh or dried to sauces (it goes especially well will tomato sauces), fruit salads, yogurt, ice cream, green salads, soups and cream sauces for seafood, red meat or poultry. Pop a fresh leaf into your mouth for quick fresh breath and cleaner teeth. Growing basil requires partial shade. The soil needs to be regularly moist and the plant doesn't need a lot of room to grow. The most common varieties of basil are regular, sweet and Thai (purple) basil.
Lavender is seen as a flower more than an herb, but it can be used in cooking for a subtle flavor of rich flowery essence. This hardy perennial can fit in a small to medium-sized pot. Lavendar has gray foliage with soft velvety spikes of fragrant lavender flowers, which can be dried out or used fresh. Oil is often extracted from lavender flowers and leaves for massage oils, aromatherapy, perfumes and cooking oil. Lavender can be added to soups, and especially desserts like cupcakes, cakes, cookies and frosting. Sprinkle lavender over baking bread or muffins, or mash it up to throw in with grilled vegetables. Once lavender is established in the ground, it is slow to flourish, but one plants provides an abundance of flowering stems in spring season. It does not need constant watering and can thrive in dry conditions.
Chives are ideal for an indoor herb garden because they can add flavor to almost anything. Chives grow as thin smooth leaves and grow tall quickly. They need to be trimmed regularly to encourage growth. Add chives as a replacement for onion or garlic in potato dishes, salads, sauces and dips, or use as a garnish for a creamy soup. Given moist soil, chives can flourish without a lot of pampering, taking over spaces quickly.