Growing herbs is a rewarding activity for gardening and culinary enthusiasts alike. And herb gardens are limited only by the imagination of the gardener. Herb plants can be broken down into two primary categories--perennials and annuals. Gardeners may choose to plant either a permanent perennial bed full of herbs or an annual bed full of culinary delights. In addition, herb gardeners can create container gardens that can be brought in after the growing season is over.
Most herb gardeners include basil in the garden pallet. However, this is not the only Italian cuisine staple that can be easily incorporated into your herbal garden. Other herbs that are often used in Italian dishes include oregano, rosemary, garlic and fennel. Oregano and fennel are both perennials that can be planted in a permanent bed or containers. Rosemary is an evergreen that, if left unpruned, will grow into a shrub. However, it will grow in containers, which make it easier to maintain. Basil is an annual and can be planted in a garden, raised bed or in containers.
A majority of common herbs have medicinal properties. You can grow a medicinal herb garden to accommodate some common medical needs such as immune support, energizing tonics and anti-inflammatory. According to The Herbal Medicine-Makers' Handbook by James Green, only a few select herbs are needed to creative an effective medicinal herb garden. Green offers 30 different plants that are prized for their medicinal qualities.
Medicinal gardener beginners, though, may choose to stick with some of the commonly found medicinal plants including Echinacea, used for immune support; ginger, which can be made into an energizing tonic as well as used for a variety of culinary purposes; and calendula, an anti-inflammatory herb. These herbs are all perennials and can be planted in a perennial bed with room for additional medicinal herbs in the future.
Scented Herb Garden
A variety of herbs produce highly fragrant herbs which can be enjoyed freshly cut or dried and used in sachets, scented bundles and potpourris. A fragrant herb garden can be planted in containers near a doorway or in their own garden complete with a sitting area. Some common herbs grown for their aromatic properties include lavender, chamomile and mint.
In addition to being highly fragrant, these herbs are often used in teas as well as various dishes. They are all perennials and can be planted in either beds or pots. Lavender can be dried and used in drawer sachets and both mint and chamomile make great dried herbs for potpourris or dried flower bundles.