Learn about 5 multi-talented useful herbs you must grow in your garden. They are all perennials which look beautiful, and have several other talents too.
If you are new to gardening, one of the best types of plants to grow are herbs. This top five is not only pretty to look at, they are all perennials, which means they will come back year after year.
You are probably familiar with all of them, as they are all often used in cooking. However, you many not know that they have several other great uses, making them multi-talented and very useful herbs to grow in your garden.
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Lavender looks gorgeous in the garden. There are so many different varieties you can grow, allowing most people the ability to find one that works best in their area. If you subscribe to this blog you know I have written about this herb a few times already. Cooking with Lavender, the difference between English and French Lavender and how Lavender will help you sleep.
One use for lavender that I haven't written about is a really fun craft; Lavender wands, made with stalks of lavender and ribbons, are super fun to make and a nice embellishment to packages, or alone as a gift. Stick them in your clothes drawers, or set they out on display. I love this great graphic tutorial from PreparednessMama that shows you how to make them, along with four more ideas for using your lavender harvest.
Thyme is a wonderful herb. There are hundreds of varieties varying in size, texture and scent. My favorite culinary thyme is lemon thyme. I use it in dips, vinaigrette and marinades. However, have you ever seen thyme used as a lawn instead of grass? Many thymes, especially woolly thyme make great ground covers as seen here at Drought Smart Plants. If an entire lawn seems like too much, consider planting it between pavers, or stones in the walkway.
Thyme is also the perfect plant for miniature gardens, fairy gardens and shallow planters like this bird bath planter created by The Empress of Dirt. There's even a variety called 'Elfin' thyme. The tiny leaves and little flowers are just the right size for these dainty projects.
Sage is one of those herbs that is very savory and strong-tasting. Great for soups and stews but, have you every tried fried sage leaves? Here's a great post at Saveur on how to make fried sage leaves. They're fun treat for the foodie, a unique garnish, and will impress your guests.
Another great use for sage is to make a smudge stick. Smudge sticks are a Native American custom in which you light a bundle of dried of sage and wave the smoke into all the corners of you home, to rid it of negative energy. A fun idea I think, but be careful, I had a friend who smudged her apartment once, and her neighbors called the police thinking she was smoking an illegal substance.
Mint is known to all and is probably the most utilized of this useful herbs list. Mint is used to flavor a myriad of products, and is so eager to grow in the garden that many will tell you to plant it in a pot, before placing it in the garden.
A great garnish in all kinds of drinks, mint also makes a wonderful simple syrup by combining 1 part sugar to 2 parts water and a large handful of mint leaves, simmered on low for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and add to sparkling water, iced tea or lemonade. Also great for making Mojitos and Mint Juleps.
Mint is also said to be a great moth chaser. Who can stand those stinky moth balls anyway? Just pick some mint and allow it to dry naturally, or dry it on low in the oven, and make little sachets of mint to place with your sweaters. Guaranteed to smell better than moth balls.
Rosemary is the last of this useful herbs list. “There's rosemary, that's for remembrance. Pray you, love, remember.” Shakespeare's Hamlet famous quote. Rosemary is a wonderful gift to give to someone who has had a loved one pass away. They make beautiful topiary that you can train yourself, or simply purchase one.
Rosemary is considered a tender perennial which means you will need to bring it indoors for the winter. However, in warmer climates, rosemary can get quite large and if so, the stems make very nice and fragrant skewers for vegetables, shrimp or scallops on the grill.
Rosemary's flexible younger branches make wonderful tiny wreaths. Great for place settings and accents in the table. Even simple rosemary sprigs on a white napkin can look pretty chic, or how about adding one to a cocktail.
That's the last of my list today but there are really so many useful herbs to grow.
If you enjoy creating your own crafts and homemade products with herbs I highly recommend this new book written by my friend Jan Berry, titled, 101 Easy Homemade Products for your Skin, Health and Home. This book is loaded with great ideas and easy to follow recipes that will keep you happily busy for a long time.