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What is a herb?
A herb is a plant that has a culinary, cosmetic or pharmaceutical use. However, they are also decorative with a variety of forms, colours and textures as well as often being scented and attracting bees and butterflies.


Using herbs in the garden

Most herbs originate in the Mediterranean and prefer a sunny, free-draining site, however, some do prefer damp, slightly shaded spots. If you do not have perfect conditions in your garden, plant them in containers where they can add fragrance to your patio.

You can plan herbs into your garden in several ways:

A separate herb garden will have great ornamental value and concentrate all the scents in one place. Traditional herb gardens are created within ornate edging stones or edged with low, clipped Box hedging, but you could also create a more informal herb garden.

Herbs can be grown among ornamental plants in mixed borders. They work well planted next to doorways, paths and seating areas where you get the benefit of the scent.

Herbs such as Thyme can be planted between gaps in paving for an informal effect. Treading on them lightly will release their fragrance.



Examples of herbs

Click on any of the images below to enlarge.
Bay is an evergreen shrub with glossy leaves that needs sun or partial shade and moist but well drained soil.
Chives are an herbaceous clump forming perennial with spherical purple flower heads in summer. They need sun or light shade with moist but well drained rich soil. They look good as an edging plant.
Lavender is an evergreen shrub with mauve flowers in summer. It works well in a traditional mixed border or as an edging plant.
Mint is an herbaceous perennial that can be invasive so I would advise keeping it in a container. It will grow in sun and poor soils.

Oregano is an herbaceous perennial with tiny flowers in summer. It needs full sun and well drained soil. It prefers alkaline soil.
Parsley is a biennial so grows vegetatively in the first year, flowers in the second, then dies. It will grow in sun or partial shade and needs a rich, well drained soil.
Rosemary is an evergreen shrub which likes a sunny spot and well drained poor to moderately fertile soil.
Sage is an evergreen sub-shrub which likes a sunny spot in well drained rich soil. It works well in a mixed planting scheme.

Thyme is an evergreen sub-shrub which prefers a sunny spot in well drained soil.

More Plants

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