Whether you are a lover of cooking or are motivated by a healthy herbal lifestyle growing herbs couldn’t be easier! There are so many different herbs you will be spoilt for choice. Herbs are immensely versatile growing in almost any container, window box or garden. You don’t need much space to have a fantastic selection of plants on your doorstep.
Firstly decide your site. Will it be in pots on the balcony or patio? Maybe a space in the garden? Wherever you decide to put your herb space there are a few simple guidelines to remember. The first thing is soil type. Do you have, like so many of us in the west, a heavy compacted soil? Or do you have a free draining sandy soil? Is it sunny or partial shade? All of these things will affect the garden you create.
Dont forget to check out our companion planting guide - a very useful chart...
If you have a compact soil then Mints, Comfrey, Lungwort, Wormwood, Lovage and Lemon Bergamot are ideal.
If your soil is free draining then the Mediterranean herbs like Rosemary, Thyme, Borage, Chamomile, Lavender and Savoury are perfect.
And if you have a mix of clay & sand called a loam soil then the herbs like Chives, Lady’s Mantle, Feverfew, Salad Burnet, Parsley and Sage are ideal.
You can of course overcome all soil obstacles by using containers and pots throughout your garden. These can add height and drama to your garden and also are very easily managed and moved about if needs be.
So you have established where, now the what. Do you want herbs for cooking, health, wildlife, all of the above? Whatever you decide on your herb theme make sure that you choose plants you will enjoy! Do your research and know what your herbs will look like after a year or two. Are they tall like Dill or Fennel, do they spread like Yarrow or St. Johns wort or do they self-seed like Borage? Knowing these details will help you plan the plant locations in your space.
Here is a list of what we believe is a must for the working herb garden…
Parsley. Choose from Curly, French or Italian giant.
Mints. Peppermint, Spearmint, Apple, Pineapple and Garden
Fennel. Bronze or Sweet will make a great addition to your herb garden
Oregano. Greek, Country Cream and variegated all add that Italian feel to dishes
Sage. Pineapple, Variegated or Traditional varieties
Thyme. Lemon, Common, Variegated, Silver creeping thyme are all perfect for cooking
Chives. Onion or Garlic (Chinese) chives
Lemon Balm. Balm, “lemonella” and Variegated types great in herbal teas
Chamomile. Lawn Chamomile, Roman and German. A must have for cosmetics and for teas
Rosemary. There are many types of Rosemary available, all great for cosmetics and cooking
Winter Savoury. Like thyme it is wonderful added to soups and stews
Chervil. A beautiful herb, delicious in salads
Caraway. The seeds make a wonderful addition to breads
Lady’s Mantle. fast growing and spreading this beautiful plant will be a great one to have
Feverfew. In green and golden varieties with gorgeous daisy like flowers
Comfrey. Essential to the medicine cabinet also known as boneset
Salad Burnet. Tall spindly flowers and delicious in salads
Anise Hyssop. Not to be confused with Hyssop this anise flavoured plant is great in teas
Lavender. With seven varieties to choose from, perfect for scented pillows and cosmetics
Borage. White and blue borage are essential in the garden for wildlife and for eating!
Tansy. A must have as an insect repellent for your tender plants