Herbs have been grown for many thousands of years and used as medicines or remedies, preserving food, dyeing, as repellents, purifying the air and of course in cooking for food, flavour and fragrances. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. More...
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Biennial and Perennial Herbs:
Angelica - Stems raw or in salads; leaves in soups and stews; teas; crafts; closely resembles poisonous water hemlock.
Anise hyssop - Attracts bees; edible flowers; leaves for flavoring or teas; crafts; seeds used in cookies, cakes, and muffins.
Chamomile - Dried flowers for tea; potpourris; herb pillows. Aromatic, apple scented leaves. Mat-forming, evergreen perennial plant growing to a height of 15cm. Traditionally used as a ground cover for around garden paths and as a soft lawn. An infusion is said to prevent damping off. Small white daisy flowers appear in summer.
Catnip - Teas; fragrance for cats. Grows to a height of 75cm. Frost hardy. Enjoys similar conditions to catmint. Cats adore the scent, some say more than catmint. Not all cats are affected by this plant.
Chives - Edible flowers; leaves for flavouring, eggs, soups, salads, butter, cheese, dips, spreads, etc. A hardy, attractive clump forming perennial with edible purple flowers in summer. Best grown in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Frost hardy. Pick when plant is about 15cm high during the warmer months. Clip the leaves close to the ground to keep crop growing. Chives are exceptionally easy to grow, great for beginners and they should last for years. They are easily grown from seed and perfect for pots.
Comfrey - Safety of ingestion is highly questionable. Large, rambling plant; dyes, cosmetics.
Echinacea - Ornamental plant; used medicinally. Grows to a height of 1.5 metres, is frost hardy and dry tolerant once established. Attractive purple/pink flowers with a raised 'cone' centre from summer into early autumn and are attractive to bees and butterflies. A very showy plant for the ornamental garden.
Fennel - Entire plant edible; seeds in sausage and baked goods; leaves used with fish, vegetables, cheese spreads, and soups. All parts of fennel are said to be beneficial to the digestion, good for the eyes and a mild appetite suppressant. Tea made from the seeds is a mild laxative and chewing the seeds freshens the breath. A fast growing, spreading perennial plant which can reach almost 2 metres in height. It can be an extremely invasive plant. Frost hardy. Prefers full sun.
Geranium, scented - Teas, potpourris, sachets, jellies, vinegars, desserts.
Lavender - Potpourris; herb pillows; crafts, vinegars and jellies.
Lemon balm - Teas; flavours soups, stew, fish, poultry, vegetables, and meat dishes; garnish; potpourris.
Lemon verbena - Potpourris; herb pillows; lemon flavouring for drinks, salads, and jellies; teas. A beautiful lemon scented shrub which can grow to about 2m in height. Frost hardy. Prefers a sheltered, sunny position as it does not like the cold. Can become a bit straggly, but prune well in spring to encourage bushy growth. Delicate white flowers in summer.
Lovage - Seeds in breads, butters, and cakes; teas; leaves in soup, stew, cheese, cookies, and chicken dishes; root edible. Leaves, stems and seeds are suitable substitutes for celery. Reaches 1m in height. Frost hardy. Lovage may die back over winter but will regenerate in spring. Prefers full sun or partial shade.
Marjoram - Flavouring for meats, salads, omelettes, vinegars; jellies; teas; flower head for crafts.
Oregano - Flavouring for tomato dishes, meat, poultry and pork stuffings; vegetables and sauces, etc. A spreading perennial which grows to a height of 45cm. Often referred to as common or wild oregano it is very closely related to marjoram. It has pink flowers in summer. Prefers full sun or partial shade. Frost hardy. Can be used as a tough ground cover.
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