On the following pages you will find all the well-known culinary herbs together with many that have familiar names but which are not so widely used today. The herbs have been chosen for their flavouring and seasoning properties, as well as their special therapeutic qualities. These are the herbs which have the greatest variety of uses, and while it is not intended that all the herbs should be grown in the garden, the list offers a worthwhile selection from which to make your choice. The majority of the herbs are familiar as culinary herbs but many are also good medicinal or cosmetic plants.
When you are considering which herbs to grow in your garden, you must first decide the purpose for which they are to be grown. Is it your intention to use herbs only in cooking? Would you prefer to grow a bed of medicinal herbs to make natural remedies and herbal teas? Perhaps you wish to grow the cosmetic herbs which are so fragrant and colourful.
All the plants described in this section are comparatively easy to grow, and once established in their plot, need little attention. If you cannot grow them from seed, you will find the majority are obtainable at your local garden centre or herb nursery. A few such as elder, yarrow and marshmallow, can easily be found growing in the wild – so the seed can be collected from the plants in the appropriate season.
To preserve the plants in the countryside from extinction, it is important that you only gather the seeds. It is also essential to correctly identify the plant before collecting any seeds from a herb ¬¬¬¬¬¬¬growing in the wild. Although most herbs do run true to form, some plants cross fertilize with the result that scents and flavours become mixed. If you are in doubt about the appearance of a particular herb, try to see it growing by visiting herb gardens and nursery centres. This will often give you a better idea of how to fit a particular herb into your own garden arrangement.
When planning your garden, list all the herbs you would like to grow, making a note of their heights and how you wish to use them. In this way you will find you have a good selection of herbs and a clear idea of how they can be used to their best advantage. By tradition, many herbs have a specific use, but with the emphasis today largely on the culinary herbs, most of the alternative uses remain untried. There are a great many herbs which can be used in cosmetics, and with the rising cost of these preparations in the shops, it is well worth making your own.