Herbs add color and personality to any garden.
1. Crowd control. Some herbs become invasive, crowd other plants, and even take over a garden. Tansy (shown), catnip, comfrey, horseradish, lemon balm, hops, artemisia, all kinds of mint, and some other herbs spread aggressively via underground runners unless you control them. Try to curtail invasive herbs by planting each one in a 12-inch nursery pot and then submerging the pot in the ground. The pot won't be visible but it will help keep the plant in bounds.
2. Mint in barrels. No collection of herbs would be complete without mint, a fragrant yet invasive herb. Prevent mint plants from completely taking over the garden by planting them in half-barrels or containers. Create an attractive design by planting a different mint variety in each container, such as orange, ginger, peppermint, spearmint, and chocolate mint.
3. A tisket, a tasket. Recycle an old or damaged basket into a pretty planter at the edge of the garden. Fill the basket with soil and then use it to nurse tender herb seedlings until they are large enough (at least 6 inches tall) to transplant into the garden or a larger container. Or sprinkle a variety of herb seeds over the soil and transplant the seedlings when they reach at least 6 inches tall.
4. Here and there. Whether you're designing a new garden or filling holes in an established one, herbs offer endless planting potential. The best times to plant are in spring, after the soil has warmed, or in early fall. Make herbs an integral part of your plans for nonstop blooms. Planted next to spring-blooming bulbs, for example, chives and sage reach their peak and bloom just in time to cover up the dying foliage of hyacinths and daffodils. Stagger plantings of basil and dill from early to midsummer and enjoy fresh herbs into fall.
Basil Chives Cilantro/coriander Comfrey Dill Fennel Lavender Oregano Parsley Rosemary Sage Salad burnet
Angelica Bee balm Catnip Chervil Feverfew Hyssop Lady's mangle Lemon balm Lovage Mint Sweet cicely Sweet violet Sweet woodruff Wintergreen