Of all the plants that I use in my designs- herbs are by far my favorites.
Herbs are not only beautiful plants but they are hard workers too—and tough in our Texas landscapes. Herbs add texture, fragrance, colored foliage and a certain spiciness to the garden. Many herbs are evergreen and some even bloom during the winter months. Most herbs
are a companion plant of some sort –keeping food crops, roses, perennials and shrubs healthier just by being planted close to them. Many herbs are culinary and can also spice up our cooking. Crafting is another use for the herbs that we can grow in our garden.
Below is a list of many of the herbs that I use to make my landscapes more interesting and healthy and why I treasure them so much. (this is not about cooking-but many herbs are culinary-so I will note that if it applies.)
Powis Castle Artemesia – evergreen, silver foliage, fragrant-repellant to aphids-small shrub
Basil – Warm season annual- April- October-culinary-comes in so many sizes, leaf color, flower color, all are highly fragrant. All are repellant to flies-All are systemic and will keep tomatoes and roses healthy and disease free.
Bee Balm – Culinary- good tea herb fragrant-butterflies love it-herbaceous-returns every spring
Comfrey – medicinal for salves-very good plant to grow and harvest every 2 months to add to the compost pile-for high trace mineral addition.
Curry – very fragrant-smells like the 5 herbs blended to make the spice-silver evergreen foliage-good ground cover or in containers
Fennel – culinary-comes in bronze ( pictured) and green variety- lovely licorice fragrance-yellow blooms–gets about 3.5 feet tall-great larvea plant for swallowtail butterflies.
Society Garlic – flowers are culinary-very strong garlic flavor for salads-very systemic—plant within 6 feet of roses and any plant that tends to suffer from fungal problems , aphids or thrips.
Lavender – culinary-very fragrant-evergreen-must have well drained soil and needs very little moisture- a great plant for a very dry spot. Spanish is the easiest large variety to grow in clay soil. All do well in containers if not over watered. Helps to repel mosquitoes.
Lemon Grass – culinary-lemon scented leaves-turns copper colored after frost- plant with shelter from the north. Makes a 2.5’ mound-Usually hardy but an unusual cold winter can take it. Hardy to 15 degrees
Mint – culinary-fragrant-can be invasive if you let it go without controlling it once a year. It is very good for poor soil-and will enrich even a rocky area. Chocolate Mint is a good -less invasive variety. Do not mix your mints- choose a favorite one-they cross pollinate.
Oregano – culinary- greek and spicy greek both make the best landscape plants in my opinon–as a fragrant evergreen ground cover- very systemic– will keep other plants healthy-
Oregano Golden – beautiful evergreen golden ground cover and systemic under red roses- keeps them healthy.
Oregano Mexican – culinary 2.5’ evergreen fragrant shrub- systemic –keeps other plants healthy.
Parsley – curly—culinary -makes a great evergreen shrub-18”X18”-bolts into yellow flowers and turns into a butterfly larvea plant in the spring. Looks great behind pansies. ( pansy flowers are edible too)
Rosemary -culinary-evergreen, fragrant shrub that blooms in late winter. The picture is of a Hill Hardy variety- best shrub variety. Rosemary helps to repel mosquitoes. You must trim by 1/3 in May & September to get it to bloom
Prostrate Rosemary -culinary- is pretty in containers or as a low shrub-it blooms almost all the time Oct- June- it does not need trimming to make it bloom.
Jerusalem Sage – fragrant evergreen silver leaves-yellow blooms spring-4X4 shrub
Santolina -comes in green and silver foliage-very fragrant citrus smell-the silver is called lavender cotton-the green is called virens. The green is easier to grow in clay soils—the silver needs excellent drainage. 18”x18” mounds-it is a repellant herb to pests.
Thyme —culinary-pictured is lemon-fragrant evergreen groundcover-good as a garden edging. Comes in many types blooms pink or white depending on the variety. Thyme keeps other plants healthy and is also repellant to pests. Can cross pollinate.