A traditional herb garden is a separate space devoted to growing herb plants and flowers. This type of garden may be formal with boxwood hedges surrounding and paths throughout or an informal patch of plants used for medicine or cooking. Separate herb gardens are also known as kitchen gardens. Herb gardens may be functional or ornamental, seasonal or year round. There are a number of types of herb gardens to consider before creating your own.
Formal herb gardens are created by using repeated geometric shapes to separate growing areas. Plant beds may have perennial borders around them of rosemary or boxwood or other woody perennials. The individual planting beds are devoted to either annual or perennial herbs. Annuals include basil, dill and summer savory. Perennials herbs such as tarragon, mint, rosemary and thyme are often grown separately. A formal herb garden may also have a wheel spoke design with a sundial in the middle. Formal gardens are designed for aesthetic appeal and as a formal relaxation spot, as well as to supply kitchen herbs.
An informal herb garden may be an area devoted to favorite herbs with a few flower plants as well. It blends with other garden design components. Herbs most frequently grown in an informal setting include lemon verbena, marjoram and oregano. Sage, lavender, chives and basil are also practical choices for kitchen use. Herb plants such as sage and lavender often grow into large bushes and do well if pruned yearly. A combination of perennial and annual herb plants creates an informal garden that provides cooking herbs all year. Red Rubin, Dark Opal, and Purple Ruffles are varieties of basil which have colorful foliage that adds visual interest to the garden.
Herbs are easily grown in a wide variety of containers. When garden space is at a premium, container gardening is an advantage. Large clay pots, wooden window boxes and formal planter boxes are all good choices. Containers can be grouped together to create a large herb garden. Good choices for a container garden devoted to herbal teas are mint, lemon verbena, chamomile and bergamot. The same annual cooking herbs that grow in formal or informal herb gardens also do well in container gardens. Summer savory, basil, oregano and chives do well. Grow tarragon near the container edge to allow its tendrils to fall over the edge.
Medicinal herb gardens are becoming more popular as interest in natural remedies grows. Many herbs are beneficial for common ailments such as tension, stomachache and headaches. Medicinal herb gardens can be grown informally, formally or in containers. Plants commonly used include dill, mints of all variety, sage, lavender, feverfew and echinacea. Medicinal herbs thrive in all types of soil. Container gardens need more frequent watering.