I love herbs and herb gardens- they are pretty, they smell good and they are edible and useful in so many ways. It is easy to get carried away with herbs and grow all sorts and they all need very different types of care. I have learnt over the years to only grow herbs that I am actually going to use. On my windowsill I have coriander and basil. They are a bit more tender and need more TLC than others. Both of these I water from below-i.e. onto a saucer, rather than from above. Watering from above tends to lead to grey mould and rotten plants. Outside in pots I have rosemary, Lavender, rose scented geranium,chives,thyme, parsley and mint. Some herbs I think are just better in a mixed border and grown for their looks more than anything else. Purple sage looks great planted with pink roses. I love angelicas and bronze fennels at the back of a border to add height. Borage and agastache add some good blues to the border. And obviously lavenders and geraniums are a must!
But here is what I use my home grown herbs for:
Coriander and basil I mainly use in salads or added to cooked dishes. You cannot beat a mozzarella, tomato and basil salad.
Rose scented geranium- I pop a couple of leaves into the bottom of a cake tin when I make a sponge.
Chives- I add the leaves to salads or egg sandwiches and use the flowers in a salad- not only does it look brilliant but it has a really powerful spring onion flavour.
Thyme- I use for cooking or to gargle with if I have a sore throat. Also I mix granulated sugar, olive oil, lemon juice and chopped thyme to make a hand scrub. It works brilliantly to clean up my hands after gardening and the thyme acts as an antiseptic- the lemon juice can sting a bit if you have cuts on your hands!
Parsley- I eat as a salad leaf.
Mint- I mainly add mint to hot water and make a hot drink but it is also great to scatter leaves over a salad of peaches and feta cheese (you can have that idea Kev chef...). Also if you get some olive oil, add sea salt, some chopped mint and chopped rosemary it makes a brilliant refreshing foot scrub. I keep mint in a pot but if you want it in your garden it is worth sinking the pot into the ground to stop it spreading everywhere.
Rosemary- It is my favourite flavour and just touching it makes me hungry. If you are brunette, pour boiling water over rosemary sprigs and leave overnight. Then when you wash your hair use this as a final rinse- makes brown hair really shine.
But FAR better then that... put some sprigs of rosemary in a bottle of vodka. Try as hard as you can to leave it for 3 weeks, then serve with tonic and ice and enjoy- nothing beats that after a hard days gardening!
Herbs have so many uses, functional and aesthetic. Choose carefully and get growing!