Fragrant herbs

Rob Zimmer
Basil comes in many different colors and fragrances, making it an excellent and beautiful choice for the herb garden.

Gardening with colorful, fragrant herbs that can be used in so many creative ways is an exciting way to grow. In addition to their obvious use in cooking and meal preparation, herbs are a great source of inspiration for gardening gifts, crafting, soap and candle making and other fun activities.

Because so many of our favorite herbs are richly fragrant, herbs are an excellent choice for the garden. In many cases, simply walking past the plant is enough to emit a cloud of rich, beautiful fragrance into the summer air.

The combined fragrance of many different herbs growing together in the garden is exhilarating. Some of my favorite fragrances include lavender, basil, thyme, lemon scented herbs, wild bergamot and others.

Because of their wonderfully scented foliage and flowers, many herbs are often used in companion plantings to repel garden pests, such as deer, rabbits and squirrels, as well as to ward off mosquitoes from patios and deck areas.

Beautiful in blue, borage is a great herb to use in the garden to repel garden pests.

Growing fragrant herbs is easy and enjoyable. Most herbs require full sun and relatively dry conditions. Over-watering tends to be detrimental to herb gardens.

Herbs are an excellent choice for growing in containers of all shapes and sizes, including hanging baskets, as well as fun, colorful theme gardens and kitchen gardens.
Herbs used in salsas, for example, are often grown in kitchen containers, such as colanders, baskets and more. Pizza herbs can be grown in a round, pizza shaped garden, perfect for getting children interested in the hobby.

The many lemon scented herbs are among my favorites. Lemon verbena, lemon balm, lemon mint, lemon grass and others have many wonderful uses in the garden, as well as in the kitchen. Combined with lavender, the results are truly dreamy. If you've never tried lavender lemonade, you are in for a treat. Simply steep a few sprigs of lavender and any of the lemon scented herbs, along with freshly sliced lemon in cold water and enjoy.

Variegated sage, as well as all types of sages and salvias, delight garden visitors with their rich fragrance.

Many herbs will naturalize in our area reliably. Herbs such as mints, bergamot, some sages and more perenniallize easily in the garden. Many others must be treated as annuals and either potted up and brought indoors for the winter season or replaced each year.

Easy to grow, fun, flavorful and extremely fragrant, a patch of herbs deserves a place in every garden.

Find Rob Zimmer online at On Facebook at Listen to Outdoors with Rob Zimmer, Saturday mornings, 7-8 AM, on WHBY.