Herbs are magic

April 15th, 2010

Basil

I love to grow herbs, I love to come in from the garden with a lavish bunch of basil or rosemary and use it in my evening meal.  A small amount of herbs can totally change the flavour of a dish, lifting it from boring to gourmet.  At other times they can be a glorious extravagance, like pesto.  If you don’t have a herb, buy a pot of it!  It will cost about the same.  In this way you can eat your herb and still have it next week, and maybe next month, even next year!

Lemon BalmOur seasons are marked by the herbs we eat.  I indulge in lashings of basil in Summer!  I don’t dry any herbs, I like to eat what is fresh, and let my life flow, just a little with the seasons.

Their use and their generosity as plants in my garden make them a very worthwhile addition to my gardening pleasure.   It is difficult to generalise about growing herbs.  For example, basil is an annual and loves to be fed, in fact it is almost impossibe to overfeed it, like its flavour, it is a strong rampant grower.  But basil has little in common with a bay tree.  Both are ‘herbs’, in other words, useful plants.  That is the definition of a herb – a useful plant.  Aren’t they just! 

I like to grow my herbs in amongst my other plants, for they are beautiful as plants themselves.  At the moment, my rosemary is flowering and the small blue flowers are really lovely! If I had the room I would love to plant out an old fashioned basic herb garden, maybe in the shape of a wagon wheel, perhaps with a bird bath in the centre!  How lovely that would be. 

Most herbs need the sort of care you provide any of your plants.  They need to be mulched, they like a feed & although many of them are hardy, even drought tolerant, they do need to be watered over the summer months.  Prune herbs in Spring to late Summer.  New growth is better at resisting heat, cold and disease.  But if you pick them often you won’t need to prune.  Because herbs are useful plants, you need to use them!!  Herbs need to be used!  After all, that is why you grow them!  Herbs that are picked often are healthier, firstly because the more you use a plant the more you’ll notice it needs feeding, mulching or picking off the odd bug.

Rosemary

If  you don’t have a spot for a herb garden, try growing them in hanging baskets or in a large pot or barrel by your door.  Herbs are fun and rewarding. 

Happy gardening!

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