The ideal herb garden offers its visitors an experience for all of the senses. Tantalizing fragrances blend with vibrant colors, varied textures and tempting tastes to create an enchanting atmosphere. Well-planned herb gardens will also entertain the ears by attracting native birds and making use of decorative items such as wind chimes.
Herb gardens provide stimulation for all five senses and the sense of smell is no exception. Herbs like chives, thyme, oregano and lavender add distinct scents to their garden spaces. Vary the smells in an herb garden by adding hybrids of traditional plants. Pineapple sage and lemon thyme are variations of herbs that offer refreshingly fruity smells to home gardens.
Though large showy flowers are not what herbs are known for, these plants can provide a variety of visual interests in the garden. Foliage varies by plant in shape and shades of green. A number of herbs also bloom in eye-catching colors. Lavender blooms are dark purple clumps of flowers atop tall stems. Chive flowers are globe shaped and light purple. Caraway and basil bloom white and Valerian blossoms in a variety of colors including red, white, and purple.
From the slightly bitter taste of basil to the onion flavoring of leeks and chives, herb gardens are about fresh flavors. Many herbs can be picked fresh from the garden to be added to pasta, fish, beef, chicken and countless other homemade dishes and baked goods.
Herbs gardens have long played a part in American life. For early settlers, backyard herb gardens provided seasonings, medicines, aroma and even fabric dye. Herb gardens were often planted in close proximity to pioneer homes for easy gathering of these versatile plants.
The largest herb garden in the United States was planted in Washington, DC, in 1980. This massive garden was a gift to the American people by the Herb Society of America. This idyllic herb garden boasts of aromatic, medicinal, culinary and ornamental plants. It contains over 50 species of pepper alone.