Herbal Gardening - Common Culinary Herbs: Sage, Rosemary, Thyme

Three popular herbs for cooking.

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Herbal gardening is both a fun and practical hobby. The aromas can be quite wonderful, the view in the garden can be beautiful, and many herbs can be used as medicines or for cooking. Growing herbs is generally easy. Most herbs are hardy plants and thrive well in all kinds of soils. However, for optimal results in the herb garden, it's helpful to keep in mind a few things about each specific herb you raise.

SAGE

One of the finest herbs to grace any garden, the ancient and versatile herb, sage makes great ground cover, an aromatic potpourri and is an excellent cooking additive. They love sun and when they get enough of it can grow to two feet.

Sage is easy to grow from seeds, but they're even easier when you use stem cuttings. Just make sure they have well-drained soil to avoid root rot and space the plants about a foot and a half apart. With gray-green, feathery leaves, they can cover large areas if not kept in check.

The upside of growing Sage is that it is very hardy and, even in cold climates, will come back year after year. That means years of good smells and beautiful color from their lilac-colored flowers. You can harvest leaves before the flowers sprout and dry them. Treat yourself by rubbing the fresh leaves through thumb and forefinger and take a whiff.

Delicious!

ROSEMARY

These evergreen shrubs make for a wonderful addition to the garden. Their leaves are delightfully aromatic and they make wonderful potpourri. Many also enjoy them as a topping for salads or to lace meatloaf.

The dark green leaves of Rosemary absorb sun readily, which they love, and they're not too fussy about soil as long as it isn't too wet. They produce lovely, thick clusters of pale blue or pink flowers in the spring. They also make great container plants inside the house or out. Bring them indoors during winter and you'll have a fragrant delight.

THYME

These tiny plants make for great ground cover. They're also a terrific addition to the chef's toolkit. They grow only a few inches tall, but they recover year after year so they're easy to care for. The pink and purple flowers add color, while the odor is a delight.

Thyme loves full sun and grows best in well-drained soil. Make sure it isn't too hard-packed after winter, when the snow has pressed on the surface. Since they're short, the roots don't reach down very deep and need good aeration. Keep in mind that they can attract bees. Some people consider that an advantage, others a nuisance. Plant accordingly.

When they bloom, you can cut off some stems and allow them to air dry. Once they're brittle, just crush and use for potpourri or in a salad.

Whatever your favorite herb, you'll want to add these three to your garden plan. They'll keep it beautiful and wonderfully aromatic year after year.


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Herbal Gardening - Sage, Rosemary, Thyme
Page Updated 7:20 AM Wednesday 3/27/2013