For thousands of years, herbs have been enjoyed for their benefits -- as medicines, food, dyes, and insect repellents.
Thyme is a Mediterranean herb that thrives in poor soil. Here, five types, including the variegated lemon thyme, are growing together. Using pebbles as mulch keeps the crown from rotting.
Calendula is also known as pot marigold or poor man's saffron. The flower petals, when chopped and added to rice or potatoes, add a bright yellow color and a flavor reminiscent of costly saffron.
Lavender is cherished for the clean scent of its flowers and leaves. The grayish evergreen leaves are attractive any time of year.
Sage, long believed to imbue wisdom, is essential seasoning for turkey stuffing. It is semievergreen with gray-green leaves. Yellow 'Icterina' is pictured here.
Herb vinegars are easy to make. Place culinary herb leaves (or edible flowers) in a clean bottle. Fill with a good-quality white wine vinegar. Let it infuse for several weeks. Sunlight will fade its color.
Window boxes are perfect for growing a variety of culinary herbs close to the kitchen. Plant herbs with similar soil preferences together in one box.
Containers of freshly cut herbs make lovely centerpieces or aromatic table arrangements. Let rosemary and lavender dry naturally; put others in water.
When planning a garden, it is helpful to know which herbs are perennial and which are annual.