“HOW On Earth” – Published in Pink Magazine – October 2011

The Herb Garden

“Here’s flowers for you; Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun, And with him rises weeping…” ~William Shakespeare, 1611.

I find Herb Gardening to be one of the most rewarding forms of growing plants. Herbs are any plant that is valued for either its culinary, medicinal, fragrant or spiritual qualities. Many are easy to grow, perennial, and deer resistant. I have fond memories as a child of my mother’s gardens, filled with plants that she would use in cooking, or brew a cup of tea, or merely snip for its sweet scent. One day she sent me into the garden to pick oregano and basil for a spaghetti sauce. I returned with a fistful of snapdragons. This became the family joke when I went on to major in Horticulture. My own children love the herbs in our garden, often picking mint to chew on or even sprigs of chives. The freshness they provide is a welcome connection to nature.


Aloe Vera

Medicinal –  Perennial –  Zone 9-11 – Full Sun to Partial Shade

I always keep a container of this amazing healing plant. There is nothing like the real thing to soothe a sunburn, insect bite, or rash.


Ocimum basilicum

Culinary / Medicinal / Companion / Fragrant – Warm Season Annual – Zone 9-11 – Full Sun to Partial Shade

Fresh basil on garden tomatoes in the summer is probably one of my favorite foods. There are many varieties on the market these days including some beautiful purple leafed types. I grew a miniature selection in pots this year and they thrived in our brutal summer.


Laurus nobilis

Culinary / Medicinal – Season – Zone 7-9 – Full Sun to Partial Shade

This is a very pretty, slow growing small shrub that is super tough.


Calendula officinalis

Medicinal / Culinary – Cool Season Annual – Full Sun

These plants do great here during our winters as long as they have excellent drainage and are in full sun. They come in orange and yellow flowers, very vivid and deer resistant.


Allium schoenoprasum

Culinary / Medicinal / Companion – Perennial – Zone 2-9 – Full Sun to Partial Shade

In addition to their great mild onion taste, the flowers are quite attractive in the spring.


Coriandrum sativum

Culinary – Cool Season Annual – Full Sun to Partial Shade

Similar in texture to Parsley, this herb is the quintessential Mexican cooking star.


Echinacea purpurea

Medicinal –  Perennial –  Zone 5-9 – Full Sun to Partial Shade

Coneflowers have undergone a lot of hybridizing recently with many new colors available.


Anthemum graveolens

Culinary/Companion – Warm and Cool Season Annual – Full Sun

This plant is so graceful and delicate. I plant mine around my squash plants to keep the borer away.


Foeniculum vulgare rubrum

Culinary / Medicinal – Perennial – Zone 6-9 – Full Sun to Partial Shade

The bronze form is really quite stunning and will self sow.


Lavendula angustifolia

Culinary / Medicinal / Fragrant – Perennial – Zone 5-9 – Full Sun

Okay, this has to be one of everyone’s favorite fragrant delights, and yet can be a challenge to grow in our humid climate. Try the Spanish variety Lavendula stoechas.


Cymbopogon citratus

Perennial – Zone 8-11 – Full Sun

Excellent in Thai cooking, it is the yellow stalk at the base that you use.


Tagetes species

Companion/ Landscape / Warm and Cool season Annual – Full Sun

Marigolds are quite colorful additions to the landscape and are great pest deterrents including nematodes.

Marigolds add color into the herb garden


Mentha species

Culinary / Medicinal / Fragrant – Perennial – Zone 4-9 – Full Sun to Shade

Chocolate mint has become my preferred choice and is not as invasive as the peppermint and spearmint varieties.


Origanum vulgare

Culinary / Medicinal / Landscape – Perennial – Zone 3-9 – Full Sun to Shade

Oregano is very dependable and comes in an array of varieties from Greek, Italian, and the pretty Golden selection.


Petroselinum crispum

Culinary / Medicinal – Cool Season Annual – Zone 3-9 – Full Sun

This plant has great texture. Try using both the Curly and the Flat-leafed types.


Rosmarinus officinalis

Culinary / Medicinal / Landscape / Fragrant – Perennial – Zone 6-10 – Full Sun

Rosemary looks great massed! One of the easiest to grow in our area and will bloom late winter if left unpruned.

Beds of Rosemary


Salvia officinalis

Culinary / Medicinal / Fragrant – Perennial – Zone 4-8 – Full Sun

This is one of the prettiest winter plants for pots, coming in purple, green, and tricolor varieties.


Artemisia dracunculus sativa

Culinary / Landscape – Perennial – Zone 5-8 – Full Sun

The French type can be a little challenging, and the Russian’s flavor is lacking. Try Mexican, Tagetes lucida.


Thymus vulgaris

Culinary / Medicinal / Fragrant – Perennial – Zone 5-10 – Full Sun

This herb has been very dependable in my garden, thriving with neglect. The variegated lemon Thyme is beautiful in the winter container mixed with orange and yellow pansies.