I do not try to start my own herbs from seed. It takes too long, and in some cases the plant will not be the variety hoped for. Some herbs actually need to be grown from stem cuttings to stay true to type. My herbs are from the Grange Co-op, local farmer's market, the local high school's FFA spring plant sales, and in exchange for other goods.
I let most of my herbs flower since I want to encourage pollinators. Some herbs are said to taste best when harvested before flowering, but I am just a basic cook when using herbs, so don't notice any difference! I use them fresh, but hope to dry some this summer for winter use.
ROSEMARYMy formal herb garden began in the summer of 2012. I can't believe how some of the plants have grown! Here's the rosemary in June, 2012 (left) and now (right). It's a prostate rosemary, which stays low to the ground, and hangs over the rock edges.
It has pretty pale purple flowers in early spring. The bees love it. I use rosemary whenever I cook a stew, cutting off a small stem.
I have a Tuscan Blue rosemary in the front yard. Planted in April 2014, it's the tiny plant to the left of the upright stone in the middle photo. The bottom photo shows its flowers this spring. I had to cut back quite a bit of the plant a few weeks ago. I think our long wet winter was too much for it. In spring prune out any dead wood. Rosemary can live for years and years, if it's happy. It can be propagated by stem cuttings, but I have not had luck with that. It will root on its own though, as branches lay on the ground, especially the prostate rosemary.
|Tuscan Blue rosemary with Golden Oregano in the background|
Thyme is another Mediterranean herb, so it too needs good drainage, but will take poor soil. I've even read of entire Mediterranean herb gardens planted in gravel! Thyme does very well in containers, so long as there are drainage holes. Thyme goes into the stew pot along with rosemary and sage.
I have Foxley thyme in a terra cotta pot. It a pretty variegated variety with dainty pink blossoms the bees love.
|Foxley thyme's variegated leaves - lovely!|
Thyme is a pretty, small leaved herb that stays low to the ground, in some cases flat on the ground!
My nutmeg thyme and creeping thyme have been spreading along the ground of the herb garden for several years. They really look nice as they creep over the edge of the rock border. In the photo below the thyme is seen just to the left of the larger pot, surrounding the two rocks in the border.
Below is lemon thyme, just to the right of the painted rock identifier! That was a fun project. Lemon thyme has lovely green and yellow leaves. Mine has a tendency to get stringy and sparse, so I have replace it twice.
I grow creeping thyme in both my herb garden proper (the rock edged bed) and in the rock garden in my front yard. And why not? It's a lovely ground cover that spreads. It takes little water. It has teeny pinkish-purple flowers in springtime.
English thyme, or garden thyme, is Mediterranean, regardless of the word "English" in its name.
It's the basic thyme most people grow. There is nothing wrong with English thyme, it's delicious. It's just nothing special to look at.
Next up will be sage and oregano.